Discover more from The Wisdom Tradition
Francis Bacon, Godfather of the Scientific Age (4 of 6)
Part 4: The Seven Summary Laws of Nature
This article is the fourth in a multipart series on the life and career of Francis Bacon, the great Adept and Master Alchemist of 17th century England.
In the previous article, we discussed at length Bacon’s approach to the philosophy of science.
As part of that discussion, we highlighted how the end goal of Bacon’s six-step scientific method, which he terms his “Art of Discovery”, was to distill and articulate a set of “Summary Laws”. These represent science’s conclusions concerning the fundamental laws of Nature; the ones that govern how Nature organizes her creation at the most basic levels.
In this article, I overview an important essay from Manly P. Hall (from the 1940s, titled “Seven Great Laws that Rule the World”), which offers his analysis of seven core Summary Laws of Nature, ones that have long been studied and appreciated by the esoteric tradition.
It is worth pondering why these laws that Manly Hall discusses are not ones currently emphasized today by our scientific leaders. This is a topic I will discuss more in future articles, but for now I want to highlight an important but often overlooked point:
In modern society, scientific activity is not exclusively conducted within the public sector - such as by university academics. On the contrary, the majority of scientific activity is likely performed in social spaces that are not public in nature. These may be in corporate settings, or for military use, or in private research; in each case, the findings of scientists may be kept propriety, classified, or private - i.e. out of the public’s awareness.
In short, our public-facing academic intellectuals are not the only game in town in terms of the significant players pursuing scientific knowledge. Because of the non-transparent nature of much of today’s scientific activity, it is hard to know if the science we are taught in school really represents the “cutting edge” of scientific ideas that mankind as a whole has discovered.
Likely, when the full body of scientific knowledge is finally brought together, what we will find is that the seven principles discussed in this article actually do represent seven of the primary laws of Nature, ones which have been confirmed and verified after meticulous scientific scrutiny.
Before jumping into a discussion of these seven Laws, I want to first revisit a few of the underlying themes concerning the philosophy of science and the scientific method, ones that we first introduced and explored in the previous article but which I would now like to expand on.
30. Fundamental Concepts in the Philosophy of Science
A. Nature is the Body of God
Francis Bacon’s approach to science is not secular or atheistic; rather, its foundation is firmly rooted in God.
Bacon’s concept of God is rooted in the thinking of esoteric philosophy, which views God as being intimately involved in every aspect of its Creation.
As Manly Hall explains, “God is not apart from his cosmos, but is his cosmos. God is that universal life that is growing up in all that is. God is the father of life, living in his sons, reborn through all that emerges from himself. He is space. And He is all that is evolving in space, and through space.”
“He is the form without, and the energy within. He is the law, and he is the Lawmaker. And he is that which must obey the law. He is that which grows, and he is the world through which it grows. He is the cause of all things, their ultimate end, and their mid-most state.”
In his own own writings, Bacon emphasizes the notion that God designs and inhabits its creation through its own internal power of Mind.
For example, in Novum Organum, Bacon writes: “God is to be conceived as an eternally continuing Power of Thought, and, as such, the only essence, substance, or matter, the last power and cause of all Nature, a Divine Artist-Mind, eternally thinking, that is creating, a Universe. Being, in fact, no other than the order, operation, and Mind of Nature.”
By implication, in the thinking of Bacon, the act of studying Nature is actually the process of discovering the Mind of God working behind, within, and through Nature.
In Bacon’s view, “Truth is not distant, but present in all things awaiting discovery.” It “speaks through all forms” and is “released through every manifestation of existence.”
At every moment, Nature reveals the presence of God. This is why, as Bacon tells us, "God never wrought miracles to convince atheism, because his ordinary works convince it.”
Bacon continues: “It is true that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth man’s mind about to religion. For while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them and go no further. But when it beholds the chain of them, confederated and linked together, it must needs fly to providence and Deity.”
To the philosopher, Nature is man’s greatest source of instruction. Its various kingdoms, life forms, energies, and forces reveal, to the discerning observer, the anatomy and will of God.
In this way, Nature exists as a great Divine Symbol of the Invisible Power from which it emerges.
Nature is the body of God and at every moment demonstrates the Divine Plan in action.
By use of science, we can thoughtfully learn to read Nature as a book of holy scripture. We can then leverage this knowledge to harness Nature’s energies in order to accomplish the great Artistic Work that, as humans, it is our destiny to one day complete.
B. Science is the Search for Causes
Francis Bacon’s “Art of Discovery” is grounded in the metaphysical philosophy of Plato, in particular his notion that behind the material forms of Nature exists a greater spiritual world comprised of spiritual powers and principles termed “archetypes”.
Like Plato, Bacon viewed the greater spiritual world that surrounds the Earth as a metaphysical one comprised of various intertwined powers, agencies, and life forms.
Manly Hall summarizes this viewpoint: “This material world is a reflection of the invisible spiritual sphere, which is its source and substance.” For this reason, “everything that exists in the mundane nature is in some way a witness of the super-mundane orders from which it is descended.”
Like Plato, Bacon thought of the metaphysical powers existing behind the material world as archetypes, which together comprise a superior spiritual realm of Cause.
The causative powers of the spirit world are concentrated and reflected down into matter to become material creation.
By implication, Earth exists as an inferior realm of material effects, which are generated out of immaterial causative dynamics taking place in a metaphysical dimension surrounding the globe.
This Platonic-based view of how Cause relates to Effect informs, at a fundamental level, Bacon’s approach to the philosophy of Science.
Specifically, it links Bacon’s scientific method for studying the material body of Nature with a philosophical consideration of metaphysics derived from the teachings of Plato.
As Manly Hall explains, in Bacon’s view “all visible effects are suspended from, or supported by, invisible causes, and Metaphysics is that branch of learning which seeks to discover and understand the unseen causes at work behind visible nature.”
Here, we discover that Bacon’s approach to science is explicitly rooted in the quest to analyze both the physical and metaphysical planes of world existence.
In Bacon’s method, the scientist seeks to study the terrestrial world of visible Effects in order that they may distill and articulate knowledge concerning the ongoing operations of the metaphysical dimension of primary causes which underpins our physical world.
As the scientist moves more and more into a consideration of the metaphysical causes behind earthly affairs, their mind is gradually, as Manly Hall explains, lead “from the consideration of forms and bodies to an understanding of the principles which animate these forms and bodies.”
Ultimately, it becomes the scientist’s purpose to “discover the (metaphysical) form behind the phenomenon - the (metaphysical) pattern governing the (physical) complex.”
C. Science Must Incorporate Psychology and Epistemology
Generally, when people think of science, they think of scientists conducting experiments in which they observe and analyze data points drawn from their physical environment.
While this is typical in most scientific disciplines, in psychology a new dimension opens itself up to scientific study: the internal world of lived experience.
Of science’s various separate disciplines, psychology occupies a unique position, for the reason that the domain it studies - the human mind - is epistemologically primary in relation to all other scientific disciplines.
When scientists observe various systems in their external environment: an atom, an animal, a political system, a planetary system, etc. - they are always performing this activity through a filter or lens, which is their own mental mechanism.
This mental mechanism colors, influences, and biases everything the scientist perceives.
For this reason, without scientific understanding of his own mind, the scientist cannot appreciate how much of his conclusions about things “out there in his environment” is biased due to endogenous mental factors taking place within himself.
In the field of psychology, there are two main epistemological pathways that scientist may use in order to attain scientific knowledge about the human psyche.
One is the way followed by most scientific disciples: by designing experiments in order that subjects may be systematically observed, with their behaviors and actions creating data points that the scientist can then analyze and test. This method is one that mirrors the experimental methodologies of most other scientific disciplines, where the scientist distances and barricades himself away from the objects of his study.
Psychology, uniquely among scientific disciples, also opens the door the use of a second, alternative epistemological method. Here, the psychologist turns his attention inward on himself and begins to study and psychoanalyze his own qualitative experience of life.
This second path is the one followed the pioneers of the field of Depth Psychology: Carl Jung and Stanislav Grof. In their method, which is also the method practiced by the old Brahmans and yogis, the psychologist turns his attention inward and begins to scientifically investigate himself and the workings of his own mind.
At the same time, such a scientist may also work with patients to cross-compare his experience of mind with what they report. These clinically-obtained reports of personal subjective experience become data points for a new type of scientific investigation, one that seeks to probe into the inner mysteries of human consciousness in a scientific manner.
Note: see my 2021 publication “Psychology: The Science of the Soul” (and associated podcast content) for more on this field of Depth Psychology. More info can be found on my website: www.alexsachon.com.
Decades of research in the field of depth psychology has revealed numerous breakthrough theories and concepts. Perhaps the most notable of these is the finding that the human psyche extends across multiple dimensions of existence, with the level of the individual person being only one level - the lowest - that mental activity takes place in.
Alongside each person’s individual psyche exists a transpersonal, collective dimension of the psyche, one that all people are connected to at all times. Carl Jung called this dimension the “Collective Unconscious”.
This collective dimension of the human psyche is the actual foundation of human life. Each individual psyche exists always in relation to this larger whole, like a cell in a body. Being a part nested within the whole, each individual human psyche functions like an antenna, tapping into the mental energies of the transpersonal dimension and bringing them out into active manifestation within the body and personality.
D. Science is the Search for the Self
Researchers in depth psychology like Jung and Grof have also discovered that concealed behind both the individual psyche and the collective unconscious exists a third factor, one representing the foundational presence within the psyche of a divine principle of Self-Consciousness. This principle is the Divine Self: the One Consciousness or Spirit whose life and energy is infused into every part of creation.
Depth psychologists have discovered that the human psyche has the capacity to function at all three levels: first, it can orient itself into the body, which is the normal state of functioning for a human being at this point or stage in our evolutionary cycle; second, it can be reoriented inward to cognize the archetypal realm of the collective unconscious and experience the mythic beings that exist therein; and third, it also has the capacity to mystically transition into a cosmic experience of Universal Selfhood, in which the boundary of individuality is breached and the consciousness within the individual bursts outward to become the consciousness of the All.
Experiences of psychological archetypes or Universal Selfhood are ones that generate within the person a special type of epistemological knowledge. This is knowledge that is esoteric in nature, meaning it is inwardly derived.
As the scientists begins investigating himself - and as he gradually moves his analysis deeper inward, into the hidden realms of his own psyche - he discovers a new form of knowledge being generated within himself, a form that is epistemologically different from the normal outward-facing data gathering programs utilized by other scientific disciplines.
Describing the psychological basis of esoteric knowledge, Manly Hall writes that a special, inwardly derived form of “knowledge can arise from within the individual and manifest in the form of unalterable convictions that relate to the existence of God, the reality of Good, and the immortality of the human soul. None of these convictions arise directly from experience, but may receive certain justification or proof from experience.”
Esoteric knowledge such as that derived from inward mystical exploration reveals, in a direct, intuitive manner, information about the root causes of things. In other words, by going inward, we redirect our consciousness from the perception of effects to that of causes.
The basis of esoteric knowledge is the capacity of the Mind to release itself from an attachment with the body so that it may explore greater metaphysical realms beyond.
Manly Hall elaborates: “When certain areas of the brain are stimulated by the secret processes of the Mysteries, the consciousness of man is extended and he is permitted to behold the Immortals and enter into the presence of the superior gods.”
The mystical experience opens the door for the logical reasoning process of deduction to take place.
Deduction is a form of reasoning that flows downward from knowledge of universals to knowledge of particulars. As Manly Hall explains, with deduction we first “posit a Deity and then, imagining ourselves to be that Deity, construct a universe.”
This method is the counter-opposite of that followed by scientists, who base their experimental methodology upon the use of induction. With induction, one starts with the cross-comparison of individual data points before reasoning upward to articulate fundamental organizing principles and axioms, which are created to explain how and why certain relationship patterns exist within the data set.
Manly Hall explains induction as follows: First, “we posit a minute atom and then, through an infinite series of combinations and unfoldments, trace manifesting life back to its spiritual source.”
In short, induction describes a path of reasoning that moves from the part to the whole; while deduction begins with the whole before localizing itself down to consider a part.
The field of esoteric philosophy is based around the accumulation of knowledge derived from internal mystical exploration. Meanwhile, the majority science of today - let’s call it “exoteric science” - is based around the accumulation of knowledge derived from study of the external world of the physical environment.
Exoteric science is conducted by means of the human senses and analyzes objects and forces existing in the external world of nature.
Esoteric science, meanwhile, is conducted by means of ESP and analyzes psychological archetypes and metaphysical truths revealed from internal psychic self-exploration.
The science of Psychology (i.e. Human Philosophy) occupies a middle ground between the two knowledge types: it has its base in Nature (i.e. Natural Philosophy) and its apex in mysticism (what Bacon calls Divine Philosophy).
Divine Philosophy unlocks deduction through its use of mysticism; Natural philosophy, meanwhile, is rooted in the use of induction. Psychology or “Human Philosophy” exists as a special form of science that occupies a middle ground between the two, utilizing both epistemological methods.
What Bacon and Jung have both taught us is that there can be no scientific understanding of Nature without first a scientific investigation of ourselves. This explains the old philosophical adage that “the proper study of Man is Man”.
The psychological study of ourselves leads inevitably to the realization of our own connection with a superior divine power - a power that is the simultaneous source of both life and the law that guides life.
This divine power in psychological terms is called the Self. In terms of Cause-Effect, the Self is the First Cause of world existence.
Manly Hall explains that, “according to Metaphysics, Being is an eternal unchanging principle and is denominated the First Cause. … (Therefore,) God is not a personality but rather that Divine Life upon which all things subsist.”
“This One Life manifests attributes which are also divine principles.” In religious terms, these attributes are called “the gods.” In psychological terms, these principles are called archetypes.
Ultimately, in the study of psychology or “Human Philosophy”, we find a concept of creation fundamentally rooted in mental rather than physical dynamics.
Deity meditates the world and all its various life forms into existence through a process that begins in the metaphysical dimension of Mind and ends in the formation of a material world of physical bodies.
The purpose of Bacon’s Art of Discovery is to provide us with a method of “true induction” by use of which we may study these physical bodies in order to ascend our minds back up the “ladder of the intellect”. By ascending this ladder, we re-orient our consciousness from its focus on the senses to a new focus in the “third eye”, through use of which the deeper realm of causation - i.e. archetypes - is revealed.
E. Science’s Chief Objective is to Describe and Map Nature’s Laws
Helena Blavatsky states it succinctly: “The foremost object of science is to discover and describe the laws of Nature. The more research advances, the more laws they find. They are beginning to see that there is nothing outside what is determined by Law; there is nothing that is not ruled by Law.”
Manly Hall elaborates: “The universe is dominated by Law; Law is absolute and unchangeable. All forms and manifestations are creations of Law.”
Bacon’s scientific method is grounded in this same reverential approach of Divine Law. In his approach, scientists study Nature in order to master their understanding of Nature’s laws.
The divine laws ordering creation can be witnessed in the world at every moment; constantly they invite scientists to seek them out and understand them.
As Manly Hall explains, we are utterly dependent upon the existence of Law. “We depend upon this order for every institution of our existence. We depend upon a universal plan to give us the order of the seasons, to give us day and night, to bring forth the harvests. The scientist in his laboratory depends upon universal order for the accuracy of his experiments. Everywhere we accept instinctively the presence of plan and purpose.”
“If we do not recognize within our own natures the there is a reason behind it all, our whole intellectual sphere collapses about us in chaos. … We cannot gaze about us in the world and perceive throughout nature its order and its sequence without realizing that this universal plan bears absolute witness to a magnificent intellect.”
Stated simply: “This universe is a planned purpose, not an accident. It is the manifestation of absolute law, and not merely a monument to coincidences.”
Because there is a purpose - a Divine Plan - “we must search for its lessons, its implications, and its applications. We must orient ourselves and realize that we are part of an eternal progression; a motion in space; a motion orderly, progressive, inevitable; a motion in which there is no accident, a motion which is indeed the manifestation of immutable and unchangeable law.”
Once we perceive this Law and realize that there is a purpose and plan for things, “the things that happen to us assume their proper proportion. Incidents become meaningful. We are no longer victims of a blind despair or slaves of a universal despotism, but instruments of a universal purpose, a world fulfilling itself in us and through us.” (MPH)
In sum, science exists to study and map Nature’s laws. This is the whole reason for the institution’s existence.
If ever science were to lose focus on this primary goal - if it were ever to become obsessed with perpetuating its own notions as an end in itself, even thought those notions cease describing Nature’s laws accurately - then it would forfeit its right to accurately call itself science.
Unfortunately, this is the state we find science in today - at least public, academic science: the science we are taught in school. It has long since departed from a foundation in Natural Law and instead primarily seeks to justify the prevailing political and social order.
In its own way, it has followed the ways of the Christian Church: its leaders have departed from the way of the law and instead seek only to perpetuate and advance their own power and authority. This is a situation that is in desperate need of reformation, for both religion and science.
F. Natural Law Reveals Itself through Number and Geometry
The inner-workings of the Divine Mind reveal themselves through the orderly sequence of relationships established through number, mathematics, and geometry.
The organizing principles of number, mathematics, geometry, and music are ever-present in nature; together, they reveal the presence of a universal framework of Law existing ubiquitously within and throughout all things.
Pythagoras taught us that each number and geometric form in Nature represents a divine power or principle working through Nature. In its numerical investigations of Nature, science attempts to reveal the existence of these divine principles.
A close reading of the steps involved in the scientific method reveals science’s fundamental dependency on number.
The scientific method involves systematic observation of phenomena, with observations recorded as scientific data. In some disciplines, the scientific process of observation include controlled experimentation; in others, data is gathered directly from the uncontrolled environment.
Next, scientists attempt to interconnect the data generated from their experiments in a coherent, mathematical way. The resulting representation is a scientific model. The model is then tested by further observations and experiments. If contradictions develop, a new model is needed.
Theories and models generated in one specialized field can be linked together with those of other adjacent fields to form larger scale models, or frameworks. These represent science’s attempt at constructing larger and more comprehensive maps of Nature’s laws, with number serving as the foundation of the entire enterprise.
As we look closer, we discover that the entire scientific method is premised on the idea that Nature is inherently numerical.
In formulating an experiment, the scientist designs a methodology where a qualitative statement in the form of a hypothesis is converted from a question or statement into a numerical equation, against which the data gathered in the experiment is compared.
Depending on whether the data matches the expected numerical results or not, the original hypothesis will be either accepted or rejected as being valid.
In other words: the original qualitative statement will be evaluated as being either true or not true, based on the numerical evidence that Nature has provided to the scientist through their experiment.
If a hypothesis is supported by experimental data, it doesn’t automatically become an absolute fact; rather, it lives on as a scientific theory, where it becomes the basis of future experiments, which will attempt to further test and refine it.
The overall process is one of map-making: by repeatedly submitting hypotheses and theories to Nature, Nature repeatedly gives us feedback about whether our initial ideas are on the right track or not.
Using Nature’s feedback as an invaluable resource, it is the quest of the scientist to build ever better and more refined scientific theories and hypotheses.
Scientific theories represent man’s attempt to map the contours of natural law.
Scientific theories in turn become aggregated into scientific frameworks, which are comprised of branching networks of theories linked together by larger organizing principles or axioms.
As scientific knowledge expands up to the level of the framework, it extends out to map a more complete and encompassing picture of Nature’s overarching design scheme.
This expansion in view brings the scientist closer to the comprehension of the One Life and First Cause. Manly Hall elaborates: “The more we extend our intellectual energies toward the understanding of Nature, the more our faith is strengthened. We discover First Cause through the discovery of secondary causes. A faith founded in natural facts ascends to the contemplation of that universal spirit by which all natural facts are sustained.”
G. We Learn in Order to Obey
The Will of God is revealed through the laws of Nature.
On a philosophical level, this explains the purpose of science: we must learn the Laws of Nature in order to discover and obey God’s Will.
By aligning our actions with Law, we learn to behave in accordance with the Divine Will. Therefore, science leads to the same ends as religion: to live in accordance with God’s Will.
Linking things back with Francis Bacon, Manly Hall informs us that “Lord Bacon built his great scientific system upon one vast and all-embracing formula: ‘the end of Wisdom is that all men shall learn to obey.’”
The end of his Great Instauration project is that “men shall discover Fact and shall abide by, respect, admire, venerate, and love that which is Eternally True.”
It only by living in accordance with Truth does man save himself from the inevitable tragedies that result from living outside of it. In other words, it is only when we live according to Law that we break the cycle of karma that traps us in this world of mortal suffering.
The rule is simple: Man must suffer until he learns to obey.
All learning is to justify complete and unquestioning obedience to the inevitable Laws of the Creator. These are simultaneously the Laws of Nature.
All institutions built contrary to Nature’s design must fall; so must all systems of philosophy or religion that teach contrary to the Universal Design.
On this theme, Manly Hall points out that “We can cling to our mistakes for a long time, but not forever. We can hold false opinions for a hundred lives, but in the end our own conceits become unendurable”.
In this way, Mother Nature reveals “an incorruptible machinery by which mortals teach themselves by the process of trial and error.” Through her evolutionary program, she gradually “wears out the revolutionary instincts which obsess her creatures.”
When we obey Nature’s Laws, we use her energies and resources in the way she intends them to be used.
Here we make sense of Bacon’s quote that “Nature is subdued only by submission.”
By this he means that “man masters the world by obeying the laws governing the world.” (MPH)
But, as Hall tells us, perfect obedience or submission is impossible without first possessing knowledge of the laws to be obeyed. Therefore, “the purpose of science is to render scientific the process of obedience.”
In another passage, Hall offers further elaboration: “The ancient philosophers believed that no man could live intelligently who did not have a fundamental knowledge of Nature and her laws. Before man can obey, he must understand, and the Mysteries were devoted to instructing man concerning the operation of divine law in the terrestrial sphere.”
Hall then connects these views with the esoteric aims of alchemy: "the alchemist was an artist who anticipated the needs of nature and obeyed. Man is also an alchemist, for anticipating the perfection that nature aspires for him, he can advance more rapidly towards it and in this way save himself a great deal of pain and sorrow.”
31. Manly P. Hall’s Outline of the Seven Summary Laws of Nature
Having now outlined the essential points of Bacon’s approach to the philosophy of science, let’s now consider a classic essay of Manly P. Hall’s titled “The Seven Great Laws that Rule the World”, which was originally published in the July and August 1942 issues of his periodical “Horizon”.
In this long essay, Manly P. Hall offers us a comprehensive outline of seven of Nature’s primary Laws. In terms of Bacon’s scientific methodology, these represent Manly Hall’s attempt at specifying seven “conclusive axioms” or "Summary Laws”, which are articulated at the sixth and final step of his “Art of Discovery”.
These seven laws therefore represent the “crown jewel” of Bacon’s method. Together, they serve as an ontological foundation upon which all further scientific knowledge can be built.
Without further delay, let’s investigate each of the seven Summary Laws presented in Manly Hall’s framework.
1. The Law of Analogy
Manly Hall explains that this first Law, the Law of Analogy, “is the law that is the key to the other laws. This is what the ancient Hermeticists called ‘the axiom of axioms'.”
“In the ancient system, analogy was the key all other realizations. It bound all things together, in recognition not only of the existence of a plan, but of the possibility of the discovery of that plan by the human intellect.”
The Law of Analogy states that two different objects or forms are comparable because they equally relate to a third. This third establishes the archetype or root pattern, one that the two objects being compared both share in common.
Because they homogeneously share certain principles in common, this makes it possible to differentiate between them certain elements that are heterogeneous, or not shared in common.
In other words, heterogeneity can only be distinguished once homogeneity has first been established: there is no such thing as absolute differentiation; all things share in the life of a common Spirit, and therefore all things are capable of comparison.
Relating to this Law of Analogy, there is a famous saying in Hermetic philosophy: “as above, so below”. This references the idea that two dissimilar spheres or dimensions of reality (one above, the other below) both share certain elements secretly in common. These shared elements convert the two dissimilar spheres into analogues of one another.
One sphere (the greater) is in some ways different, but also in other ways the same, as a separate sphere (the lesser). In other words, the macrocosm is differentiated from the microcosm, but both operate according to a common set of laws.
In astronomical terms, we might think of the solar system as the macrocosm, and the earth ecosystem as the microcosm. Or, we could think of the earth ecosystem as a macrocosm, while viewing the human psyche and the material civilization it has produced as its corresponding microcosm. Further, we could look at the collective human species as a macrocosm, and the life of each individual human as a microcosm held within it.
Manly Hall explains that “the basic tenets of this doctrine are that all things are similar in principle and identical in pattern, but differ from each other in magnitude, which is size, and multitude, which is in number of parts involved in their constitution.”
Through the law of analogy, we discover that “Each of the parts is like the whole. Each of the forms of life that we perceive are parts of one great pattern. Each is built upon the same plan. Each reveals the same laws to its own being. Each bears witness to the same eternal principles.”
As such, “though forms may differ in their appearances, in their energies they are alike. And not only are they alike, but as small fragmentary mirrors they all bear witness to one Universal Plan.”
There is one modern scientific field whose work is particularly closely associated with this Law of Analogy: Systems Science.
Systems science is an innately interdisciplinary field that attempts to map out the fundamental organizing dynamics of life on Earth. In particular, scientists in this field attempt to model the way that Nature structures and organizes the movement of energy within her various forms and kingdoms of life.
A system is a unit of life created by the self-sustaining circulation of energy. It is characterized by energy moving within a holistic structure, meaning a form possessing the attribute of wholeness. Each system is a whole comprised of parts, which interrelate with one another in such a manner that, out of their interaction, the overall unity of the system’s internal design is continuously reproduced.
This field is interdisciplinary because its scientist have discovered that one common pattern of energy organization can be found at all levels and in all kingdoms of life.
We find atoms structured as systems, but also plants, animals, humans, social systems, ecosystems, planetary systems, solar systems, etc. Everywhere they look, scientists find systems within systems, up to the level of the Universe itself.
As is clearly indicated, the findings of this scientific field affirm the old Hermetic axiom, “as above, so below”: a greater system can be compared with a lesser system because both are commonly patterned after the same design template - the system archetype.
Thus, the solar system is like the atomic system: both are systems, one above, the other below.
2. The Law of Evolution
As Manly Hall informs us, “evolution, in its philosophical and esoteric interpretation, means the expansion of all natures from within themselves, through the process of growth.”
“Evolution is the law which demands that all things that live must grow, and this growth is a revelation, through form, of the principles within that form.”
It represents an unfolding from within outwardly of the potentials which are resident within. … Evolution is spirit growing up in matter, wisdom growing up through ignorance. It is space coming of age through form; the eternal expansion of that which is eternally moving toward the fullness of itself.” (MPH)
With evolution “comes the inevitable refinement of forms. We may say then that evolution is the refining of organisms, so that the principles behind these organisms may have ever fuller manifestation and expression.”
While it is involved with the refinement of forms, “evolution is not merely a sequential motion from form to form, … (nor) is it merely conformity to the requirements for survival.” Instead, evolution is really about “the spontaneous outburst of life.”
Through evolution, “consciousness is released through all its forms. … This eternal growing is in reality the release of one life through its innumerable manifestations.”
The purpose of philosophy is to cooperate with evolution: to learn its laws, anticipate its direction, and quicken the pace of its attainment.
As Manly Hall explains, “Man grows most rapidly when he consciously and purposefully cooperates with the plan of growth.” This is achieved through philosophy.
At the same time, it is only through growth that man overcomes the problems that plague him: “There is no release from pain, limitation, or insufficiency, except growth.”
The alchemical aims of philosophy are about “cooperation with the natural order. It is man choosing to grow. It is man throwing his every resource into the great purpose of his own perfection.”
Simply put, the law of evolution teaches us to cooperate with our own growth.
Manly Hall declares that this is our destiny as humans: to self-consciously fulfill our own evolution and thus to drive our own growth. “Recognizing our destiny, it is our duty to fulfill that destiny, to release through ourselves all knowledge and all wisdom.”
This was the purpose of the old Mystery Schools and their degrees of initiation:
Nature’s Laws are slowly but inevitably driving mankind toward its own evolutionary growth. This it accomplishes by presenting man with an unfolding series of stimulations, obstacles, pressures, challenges, and opportunities.
While Nature is continuously nudging (and sometimes dragging) mankind toward the achievement of this growth, the full attainment of man’s evolutionary development will not be fulfilled without the human race self-consciously and self-willingly raising itself up to accomplish it.
The Mystery Schools exist to meet this need: it is their task to initiate mankind, which is just another way of saying: to self-consciously evolve mankind toward the pre-destined end state that the Divine Intelligence behind Nature already has in mind for it.
3. The Law of Cause and Effect (Karma)
According to Manly Hall, “the law of cause and effect declares that there is an intimate relationship between every action and its inevitable reaction; that nothing can occur in the form of action which is without appropriate consequence.”
In short, every action in the universe must be followed by an appropriate reaction. This is cause and effect; when applied to the moral lives of human beings, it is called karma.
Hall explains that the law of “cause and effect is the basis of our concept and understanding of universal justice.”
The idea here is that “man’s own action is eternally rewarding him or punishing him according to its own merit.”
The gold standard against which man’s actions are judged is Natural Law: actions that are in accordance with Law generate no karma; only behaviors that go against the dictates of Law are ones that create negative consequence.
Law requires no action of itself in order to exert its punishment. As Manly Hall explains, “Law never fights back. The punishment for deviating from law is a consequence set up in the consciousness of the individual of his guilt of the act.” In this way, Law “neither rewards nor punishes. It simply remains what it is and has always been - an inflexible principle.”
This way of measuring justice establishes for the philosopher a simple and natural program of ethics based on the premise that we suffer because we break the Law.
As Hall explains, “Man, striking against a pattern of law, rewards and punishes himself according to his conformity or failure to conform. … That pattern goes on unmindful of anything that lives, but man searching for happiness discovers that he can attain it only when he finds the pattern and obeys it.”
By implication, “the individual has in his own keeping his own destiny.” Furthermore, “everything that happens to an individual is an aspect of universal justice. Every man is in the place he has earned for himself; every man is doing the thing he has earned the right to do; no one is suffering for the mistakes of others, but for their own mistakes. The only way to be happy, therefore, is to live well, thus setting in action constructive cycles of cause and effect.”
Hall observes that this is the law “which most of us can most easily comprehend, and most gallantly ignore.” This is because the majority of us are still obsessed with expressing our own self-will and have not yet learned respect and humility to the greater Divine Will. For this reason, “the root of our disobedience is self-will.”
The consequence for undisciplined self-will is negative karma or consequence. Not wanting to face the fact that our own suffering comes as the consequence of our own actions, mankind has traditionally sought out religious doctrines offering him a “karmic bailout”.
Hall elaborates: “We are eternally desirous of improvement without effort, and this is an illusion from which we must recover. This is a fallacy that has paralyzed the ages, and has kept back the growth of man generation after generation.”
“It has long been the temporal practice of religion to encourage men to accept doctrines of escape mechanism. Most religions teach … men that they should be good, and then (at the same time, teach) them that they can be happy otherwise. Such contradiction is philosophically unsound and has given rise to the crises we have today. … It has given us a type of religious philosophy which permits the individual to break law with a good hope.”
Hall concludes that these beliefs are philosophically unsound because “all wisdom knows that man can only achieve salvation by obeying the Law.”
4. The Law of Reincarnation
As Manly Hall explains in his article, “the law of reincarnation declares that the life of man is not the one small experience that we know, but a larger life of which these existences are but days and divisions. Man thus has one life, lived through innumerable lives; one continuity of purpose manifested through an infinite of fragmentary actions.”
Hall further states that “the soul is a compound of experience and karma. Some things have been mastered; much more remains to be accomplished.” By means of the Law of Reincarnation, “the soul is drawn irresistibly back to the sphere of its unfinished labors.”
In total, the human soul requires many lifetimes to develop all its powers and potentials and to bring them all into active expression. “In the course of evolution we must learn to do all things well. And in order to do all things well, it is obvious that we must live many times.”
In his book Questions and Answers, Hall provides further elaboration on this important Law.
“According to Plato, the human soul is drawn back into the world by the worldliness within itself; that is, the soul, having accepted the reality of material things, is moved by its own conviction back into the sphere of its belief.”
“As worldliness dies within the consciousness, the gravitational pull of matter lessens until at last, released from all the illusions of the material state, the soul ascends from body to union with the blessed gods.”
“The law that pulls the spiritual entity back to physical life is karma. All causes that have been set up in the physical world must be finished or worked out by physical experience. Man, bound to the generating plane by sense, emotion, feeling, desire, and appetite, must conquer these impulses and instincts before the cycle of physical rebirth can end.”
“In the search for experience, the human spirit returns to the physical world many times, there to work out its karma and perfect itself in the consciousness of the life wave.” Thus, “man lives on this earth not once, but many times, returning until he has perfected himself in every lesson that this world has to teach.”
In the same work, he also discusses the inner mechanisms involved in the reincarnation process:
“The living human being is a compound creature consisting of super-physical principles manifesting through a physical body composed of the elements of so-called physical nature.”
“By means of the nerve centers and the ductless gland system, the spiritual man controls and directs the physical body, giving it the appearance of life.”
“The super-physical principles constitute the real living person, and the body is merely a vehicle by means of which the super-physical man can manifest in this physical world.”
At death, there “is the separation of the higher and lower principles in man.” Gradually, the inner, mental principles of the person consolidate back into the higher spiritual principle: the Higher Self.
In the process, the higher Self assimilates the experiences gained by physical living. In this way, “the period between incarnations is the period of assimilation, during which the entity builds the experiences of life into the soul nature, to become internal strength.”
During this assimilation process, the soul experiences an after-life state. “The punishments and rewards of the after-life are measured by the accomplishments of the individual while in the physical body.”
After the Lower Self has been fully assimilated into the Higher Self, “the entity loses its personality and becomes again a pure, spiritual principle. From this time, the memory of the past life exists only subjectively and the continuity of consciousness is broken…. The personality ends as such. This period is followed immediately by preparations within the ego itself for rebirth, when it causes a new personality to emerge out of its own potential creative power.”
Hall emphasizes that we do not incarnate against our will; each soul, “having received the perspective which comes from the life cycle, will choose to return again to complete the things which he has begun. We all leave unfinished business behind us.”
This mode of thinking “reveals to us the mechanics of our own salvation. … The individual who is releasing power through himself is releasing God through what he does. Our talents and abilities are the attributes of a divine nature coming into power and manifesting through the development of our own lives.”
When combined with the idea of karma, the law of reincarnation justifies an ideal doctrine of ethics, one that can be fairly and equally applied to all.
This doctrine insists that behind the inequalities and atrocities of our world exists a supreme principle of cosmic justice. As Hall explains, “Human beings come into this world unequally placed socially, racially, and physically. We realize that the rich and the poor, and the great and the small, must be part of some large justice, or there is no justice.”
He continues: “If we function upon the theory of one lifetime, then justice is not apparent;” but if we expand our analysis to incorporate the concepts of reincarnation and karma, then justice may quickly be restored.
The human race as a whole incarnates and re-incarnates until it achieves perfection. This is accomplished through the sum of its individual members incarnating and re-incarnating until each achieves this perfection on their own. We therefore “carry the cross”, meaning we suffer for the growth of a greater life working within and through us.
Hall concludes that “by this very doctrine we gain the courage and incentive to better action. What more noble motive to virtue can there be than the realization that we will live tomorrow the substance of the deeds we performed today?”
“If we look about us in the world, we can see through this law the working out of our own destinies. We are born the substance of what we have been. We come to finish the things we were doing. We come to take up all tasks and all purposes and carry them on a little nearer to the great end which we are seeking through eternity.”
“If, from reincarnation, we realize that we have all lived hundreds of times - and will live hundreds of items again - that we have all died on the field of battle, we have all slain and been slain, we have all learned the lessons of war, and we have all learned the lessons of peace. We have all gathered in council together and we have all opposed each other with strategy and tyranny. We have labored side by side in the fields and worked together in the shops; we have vanished in earthquakes and been swallowed up by plagues; we have been the life of the world since the beginning and we will be the life of the world until the end. If we realize these things, then from this we will also realize that in spite of all our living and dying we have never died. Death is an interlude; Life is an interlude. But experience is achieved through both and is in itself eternal.”
5. The Law of Alternation (Polarity)
Manly Hall points out that Law of Polarity is one that is intrinsic to matter and form. It states that in all things there is a polarization: higher and lower; inner and outer; spiritual and material.
Energy moves within form in relation to these opposing poles. As it does so, it alternates between them back and forth, oscillating through them like a great pendulum.
As Manly Hall poetically puts it, “everywhere, like the ebbing and flowing of the seas, like the inhaling and exhaling of breath, there is alternation of motion in space.”
Polarity is the basis of all differentiation in the Universe.
“The greatest and most fundamental division is the imaginary interval between God and man. Another … is the interval between man and man. Always, it seems that I am separate from the rest, and my separateness is my undoing.”
On the level of physics, the law of alternation manifests as vibration, which is the means by which energy sustains itself as an isolated form.
The Universe is comprised of a symphony of vibratory rates: thought, emotion, music, and color are all vibrations.
The esoteric sciences teach that, by discipline and effort, man can raise the vibration of himself and the cells of his own body.
Hall explains that polarity sets the stage for synthesis, which occurs at the equilibrium point between two opposites.
He states that “halfway between extremes is the middle path, the road that leads away from polarity and towards equilibrium.”
For this reason, equilibrium is Nature’s means to transcend her own Law of Alternation: it is the solution to the problem of division.
Consequently, in fulfillment of Nature’s Plan, all opposites are “in eternal and incessant motion toward equilibrium.”
This summarizes the Law of Alternation: all things are polarized between two extremes and seek equilibrium as a result. This understanding sets the stage for the next law, which manifests this law in the sphere of physical generation.
6. The Law of Sexual Generation
This Law is based on the premise that Universal Consciousness is, at its core, a unified androgynous power that is polarized between two fundamental principles: Yin and Yang or Feminine and Masculine.
Within this context, sexual polarity exists as “one of the manifestations of reincarnation and karma, and is part of the working out of the law of cause and effect in the sphere of mundane life.”
“As one ancient philosopher said, ‘All beings are identical in their spiritual estate, and divided from each other and within each other in their corporeal state” only.
This division is necessary for the sake of life experience: “through the experience of polarities, all life is evolving into the realization of essential unities.” This realization is consummated in the attainment of equilibrium, in which the two polarities act as-one.
Sexual division is necessary for the reproduction of material forms.
As Hall informs us, “the reproduction of any kind of form, emotion, or thought must arise from the union of two polar opposites.”
He then elaborates on the underlying dynamic that takes place: “All creatures contain within themselves the androgynous attributes of the principles from which they are suspended.” As they incarnate into matter, their androgynous identity is polarized into opposing sexual orientations. These opposing poles are then re-united in the act of physical reproduction or generation.
In this way, material creatures manifest “corporeally with one part of their spiritual consciousness subordinated or left in abeyance.” Archetypally, the masculine part expresses itself through the body, and the feminine part remains unembodied in the spiritual world beyond.
Within the context of the incarnating soul, its dominant polarity can express itself through either a masculine or feminine gender, leading to a male or female entity. As we know, at our modern stage of evolution these gender dynamics can interface in complex ways with various psychological dynamics, producing the variety of sexual identities we see being expressed today.
Ultimately, sexual differentiation is a psychological phenomenon. As Hall explains, the marriage of the sexes is, on a psychological level, “the basis of the human emotion of affection, which is not basically a desire of one person for another but a desire for equilibrium within consciousness - an equilibrium which finds its symbolic fulfillment in association.”
Hall also notes that the sexual polarization of a life form alternates between rebirths.
“In the doctrine of reincarnation there is an approximate alternation of sexual polarities with rebirth. Thus, the human being in the course of evolution experiences growth in the body of both sexes, gradually building to the time when he can produce the asexual personality himself.”
In terms of the inner structure of the psyche, sexual polarity is revealed through the opposition between intelligence/thought and emotion/impulse. These are constantly oscillating, “eternally confronting us with courses of choice, divisions of possibility.” They are "constantly showing us extremes and tempting us to bind them together.”
As the law of alternation previously suggested, Sexual polarity gradually moves toward equilibrium. In practical terms, this means men “taking greater interest in music, art, and culture” and women “taking greater interest in business, economics, industry, and all of the practical concerns of life.”
Overall, “when we are confronted by two opposite opinions, the ignorant solution is to say, this is right, that is wrong.” Two relative wrongs oppose each other, each with some measure of merit, but the truth resides at the middle equilibrium point between the two, bringing each into balance.
In sum, the law of sexual polarity is a principle operating in nature that exists “to force upon us the recognition of equilibrium and the inevitable necessity of concord.”
The Philosopher-King is he who weds the two soul polarities within themselves together and brings them both into expression.
The collective achievement of this feat is “part of the great racial evolution that lies off in the distance, but toward which we are inevitably working."
Manly Hall further elaborates: “As the human race evolves in the future, the sympathetic nervous gangliated system of the body will increase until its structure equals in intensity and power the cerebrospinal nervous system. Man will then have two complete nervous systems, and these, with their complete structure of ganglia and plexus, will permit the full manifestation of both sexual polarities in the same organism.”
Through this means, humanity as a complete androgynous being will be born into physical incarnation; this remains the task of the next “root race”, the sixth, to accomplish.
7. The Law of Harmony and Rhythm
The final law in Hall’s framework of Summary Laws is the law of Harmony and Rhythm.
This law is rooted in the idea that there are core vibratory patterns shared in common between all of Nature’s various planes of life. These shared patterns allow the possibility for life at all scales to resonate together in a great cosmic rhythm and harmony.
The energetic exchange between harmonically resonating bodies creates the aesthetic standard of perfect beauty. This is the natural condition of Space: “the motion of Space is the perfect motion; the motion in which there is absolute harmony, absolute rhythm, and absolute beauty.”
Within the universe, we find expressed in both its space and time dimensions a “perfect geometrical pattern: a pattern composed of numbers, sound, color, and form. This magnificent geometric precision is absolute beauty because it is absolute harmony. And because of the motion by which its parts are kept in eternal vibration is completely ordered, it also imparts perfect rhythm.”
Manly Hall explains that “there is nothing more beautiful than the working of the Law.” It is responsible for producing “all the harmonic patterns of the visible work”, which are themselves reflections of virtues residing in the invisible moral world.”
Creation naturally is beautiful because it innately moves according to Law. Only mankind in its ignorance chooses to depart from the Law and create ugliness.
“The Law itself flows as beauty and harmony in its own being, and when left unimpeded and undistorted by artificial values, every energy in space takes on a form of beauty.” Therefore, the normal motions of energy in nature are beautiful. “Wherever the pattern is normal, it is beautiful.”
Mankind, by contrast, has “created an inconsistent sophistication in which we have defined by artificial standards what constitutes nobility, symmetry, harmony, and rhythm.”
To fix this problem, we must re-establish our aesthetic values so that they align with the workings of Law.
The Law specifies the gold standard of aesthetics. In a highly cultured civilization, Nature’s laws becomes the basis of society’s internal laws, ones specifying the design of art, technologies, governments, and societies. In this way, by matching the inner with the outer or the lesser with the greater, human life comes into resonance with the divine.
As Manly Hall summarizes, “the universe does everything beautifully. Man, living beautifully, comes into harmony with life and moves with the rhythm of the world. By cultivating harmony and rhythm in himself, man becomes conscious of the universal motion which the Taoists call “the ever-flowing Reality.”
In conclusion, reflecting back on these seven Summary Laws, Manly Hall writes that:
“The universe is a great seven-pointed star. Its points are its laws and principles, and all living things abide within the vibrations of this great geometrical pattern. The arts and sciences, the trades and the crafts, the professions, every part of learning, every mode of thought, every type of existence - all have their place in this great star-like pattern whose substance is God and whose body is Law.”
“In the realization of this, we find a philosophy that is applicable to our present time, one that will prove workable as the basis of a strength with which we can face this time intelligently. The law is working, and while the law works, all is right with the world.”
Thanks for reading The Wisdom Tradition! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.