Popular Science Monthly/Volume 58/November 1900/Rescue Work in History
|RESCUE WORK IN HISTORY.|
By President DAVID STARR JORDAN,
LELAND STANFORD, JR., UNIVERSITY.
AT the November meeting of the Astral Camera Club, Mr. Asa Marvin presiding, Prof. Abram Gridley, the learned master of the Alcalde Union High School, spoke on the unique topic of his proposed 'Rescue Work in History/
He began with the bold declaration that the two great discoveries, twin triumphs of the human mind, which will make this age memorable, were these, the Banishment of Space and the Annihilation of Time. He proposed to illustrate the results of these discoveries and to show how they could be turned to the advantage of mankind by means of an esoteric foray through the echoing aisles of the past.
"It has been shown by the great Dr. Hickok," said Professor Gridley, "that matter is but a portion of space filled with a modicum of 'force, which is actively engaged in holding itself still.' When this activity becomes passive, matter is no more. Thus as matter has no real existence, space, which is its matrix, is banished also from the category of realities.
"Even more remarkable is the discovery of the famous Dr. Hensoldt that time could be literally 'rolled away as a scroll,' and therefore practically annihilated. This fact is stated in these memorable words: 'We count our time by the rotations of our planet. If you were to go close to the north pole and then travel around it in a westerly direction you could walk back all the lost days of your childhood. And if you are moderately swift-footed you might run around that pole until you caught the earth where it was when Julius Cæsar first landed in Britain or when the pyramids were built."
"Only this year," continued the learned schoolmaster, "has the practical significance of all this been brought to light." Referring to the phenomena of thought-transference, our friend and guide, the venerable sage of Angels, spoke before us these words:
"'All manner of sensations,' Mr. Dean has told us, 'may be transmitted, and these over any distance or through any time. It is as easy, for example, for me as an adept to speak to Marcus Brutus as for me to speak to the Lama of Thibet, and equally easy for Plato or Ptolemy to speak to me. Through this power I may yet dissuade Brutus from his awful deed or save Caesar from that ambition through which fall the emperors and the angels. In history nothing is too late and the great tangled fabric of the past is ever open to reconstruction.'
"With all this knowledge gained," said Professor Gridley, "the work of these adepts should not lapse for want of initiates bold enough to act." He proposed that the Astral Club add to its purposes that of serious effort in the direction formerly occupied by space and time. His thought was nothing less than the perfection of the human race through the correction of history. This could be best accomplished by collective personal influence on the lives of great men. The value of such influence all teachers must admit. That it is not too late is now a certain fact, and to work in unison is to do the best work.
Mr. Dean had already devoted many esoteric and soulful hours to this labor, but he had used only the method of telepathy, subtle enough in its action, but not powerful enough for large results. Because it is dependent on etheric vibrations and electric inductions, it is practically ineffective except in settled weather. The turbulent atmosphere of the Middle Ages renders settled communication difficult if one tries to go back far enough for his influence to be worth while. It is also much better to use personal presence than any form of esoteric induction, if the former is possible.
If you wish a thing to be well done, the great Franklin assures us, you must do it yourself, and few of us moderns could speak with higher authority on electrics and etherics than he. The mere extension of a personal aura backward through history, Mr. Dean has privately admitted, fails of the highest results, and nothing short of the best can be satisfactory to the initiates of Alcalde. Still less can we count on projecting such an aura into the future. The forms of men and nations of future centuries are now in Devachan, in the subastral or plasto-nebulose state. A human aura can have little definite influence upon them, especially because, not knowing what influence should be exerted, the sensator would work in utter astral darkness which could yield no tangible result. It is evident that this great work needs the personal presence. How to produce this Dr. Hensoldt's discovery clearly indicates.
If we go around the earth from west to east, as the sun seems to go, we have added one whole day for each revolution. If we go to the high north, the circles grow shorter, and barring certain difficulties in transportation, it is easier to go around. If we ascend to the very pole, which by the aid of the non-friable astral body is not so very difficult to adepts, we find a circle of revolution only a few feet in circumference. "Let us suppose," continued Professor Gridley, "that we have arrived at the north pole on the first day of August. A single circuit around it to the eastward and we reach the second of August. A dozen circuits and we have August the fourteenth. With the aid of the mechanical skill now so easily acquired it will be easy to prepare an electric turn-table by which these revolutions can be accomplished. This can be set in rotation by the electric force of the Northern Lights. Seated upon its edge and whirled eastward for a dozen minutes, one would find himself, perhaps, in the midst of the twenty-sixth century. Then turning southward to the abodes of men, the adept would be received with the greatest eagerness. To these far-off people, 'the latest progeny of time,' he would appear as a Mahatma wise to overflowing with the lore of bygone centuries. It is even possible that such an invention was already in the hands of the ancient Mahatmas. Of such origin beyond a doubt were the sages or Old Men of the Mountains, who from time to time in the past have appeared in the cities of men, filled with forgotten information and equipped with magic power. Such a one of a surety was Trismegistos, three times greatest, and such was Peter the Hermit and Gautama. In the light of our present knowledge, the appearance of Van Winkle at the town of Falling Waters should be carefully reinvestigated. The explanation currently given is far from conclusive, and the little men of the Catskills were probably of an astral nature and not contemporaneous with the ignorant villagers who scoffed at their existence.
"But far more important than any result from the projection of the personal presence into the future are those derived from its retrojection into the scenes of the past. For this purpose the machinery of the turn-table should be attuned to the greatest possible accuracy. Its movement must be as perfect as that of the finest chronometer. A whirl or two too much or too little might leave the personal presence stranded in an age on which its influence would be wasted. For instance, the attempt to rescue Cæsar from his ambitions or Brutus from his crime would be futile if attempted before Caesar was born. A single day too late and the whole matter must needs be gone over again from the first, with large chances that the drifting floes of the North may have swept away the turn-table. In such case the painful journey on foot round and round the pole till the desired meridian is reached would be inexpressibly tedious. Even the most eager adept could hardly be blamed if he directed his steps toward his own century and his bodily home. To prevent gross accidents and to secure the best results, therefore, a considerable number of people should cooperate. We should make of the matter a kind of Salvation Army. Seated on the turn-table a hundred adepts could be whirled round and round to the westward, each descending at the time his mission might designate. Miss Jones, for example, would descend in 1776 to gain the confidence of Benedict Arnold and thus save him from his treason. Our friend, Doctor Cribbs, perhaps could descend in the reign of James II., and by a few doses of Swamp Root cure the judge's sad malady and save England from the strain of the Bloody Assizes. Mr. Marvin could muffle the bell of St. Germain l'Auxerrois and the name of St. Bartholomew would lose its dark suggestion. Miss Lucy Wilkins could leave us to the north of Cologne and in the time of St. Ursula. This good woman could be turned from her useless quest and her sad host of martyred virgins could each become a German Hausfrau. Again, our fair friend from Fidèletown, Miss Violet Dreeme, could find scope for her powers in the rescue of Guinevere. These serve simply as illustrations. We may vary them as we please.
"The preliminary difficulties once surmounted, the auroral turntable once in operation and in the hands of a few hundred adepts, missionaries of the present to the past, the tangled jungles of history would be turned to a field of the Cloth of Gold. By keeping open telepathic connection with the esoteric clubs at home, we can inform the world that is, of the progress of our work, and the changes we make in history could be announced in our schools.
"Grand indeed is our conception," said Professor Gridley, "and it is not far from realization. The initial expense is but a trifle. A few hundred dollars in tense springs, clockwork and dynamos, a table of the finest rosewood and the service of a skilled mechanic, an adept in electricity and skilled in astral impersonation, and it is done.
"More than this," continued Professor Gridley impressively, "all this is already provided. I have here a letter from the editor of the New York Sunday 'Monarch,' an offer of all expenses and a generous salary in return for the first telepathic advices, going back beyond the present century. For each preceding century, the sum will be doubled. I have, indeed, contracted with the great journal for the exclusive account of my interviews with the great Bacon, whose noble but polluted nature it shall be my life work to redeem."