isis unveiled: chapter chapter VII (thou great first cause)

“Plato’s method, like that of geometry, was to descend from universals to particulars. Modern science vainly seek a first cause among the permutations of molecules; the former sought and found it amid the majestic sweep of worlds. For him it was enough to know the great scheme of creation and to be able to trace the mightiest movements of the universe through their changes to their ultimates.

The petty details, whose observation and classification have so taxed and demonstrated the patience of modern scientists, occupied but little of the attention of the old philosophers.

Hence, while a fifth-form boy of an English school can prate more learnedly about the little things of physical science than Plato himself, yet, on the other hand, the dullest of Plato’s disciples could tell more about great cosmic laws and their mutual relations, and demonstrate a familiarity with and control over the occult forces which lie behind them, than the most learned professor in the most distinguished academy of our day.

This fact, so little appreciated and never dwelt upon by Plato’s translators, accounts for the self-laudation in which we moderns indulge at the expense of that philosopher and his compeers. Their alleged mistakes in anatomy and physiology are magnified to an inordinate extent to gratify our self-love, until, in acquiring the idea of our own superior learning, we lose sight of the intellectual splendor which adorns the ages of the past; it is as if one should, in fancy, magnify the solar spots until he should believe the bright luminary to be totally eclipsed.”

H. P. Blavatsky

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