'CONSCIENTIOUS readers will thank the man who states accurately that which they agree with, but will be almost equally grateful to the man who states clearly what they most dissent from. What they want is either truth or error; not a muddle between them.'
The reason of the real superlative importance of the ideas entertained by people respecting the Rosicrucians, is that they were REALLY magical men, appearing like real men; carrying, in very deed, through the world eternally forbidden secrets--safe, however, in the fact that they were sure never to be believed. De Quincey, who has written the most lucid and intelligible (until this present work) speculation concerning these profoundest of mystics; and which account, though (most naturally) humanly lucid and intelligible--groping as it were at the claims of these men--is yet as far from the truth and as different to the real beliefs of the Rosicrucians as darkness is from light; De Quincey says; in exemplification of the grandeur of their mystery: 'To be hidden amidst crowds is sublime. To come down hidden amongst crowds from distant generations is doubly sublime.' This appears in The London Magazine of 1821; reprinted, corrected, enlarged, and greatly improved in the last edition of his collected works in volumes, published by Groombridge, Paternoster
[paragraph continues] Row. De Quincey, Works, Vol. 6: Secret Societies, p. 235.
It is very little reflected upon, but it is no less a truth, which (because profound) is therefore contradictory--that if you take away Man from out the universe, that no universe remains. There cannot be any proof of there being anything outside of us when you take away Man, TO WHOM ALONE THE WORLD IS. For to any other intelligence than Man’s, the world real CANNOT BE. And hence arises a curious question. It is, whether space as occurring AS AN IDEA in sleep (which implies time) would be real space? The truth of time, and of space, depend alone upon this question. Consider the depth of void ('something') into which thought has the power to extend. Consider the preposterous (in our senses) wall of separation (utterly IMPOSSIBLE to our POSSIBLE) which divides living human life (or 'living possibility') from the life (and the 'possibility') of the world even next-off this world. Not to speak of possibly multitudinous other worlds (or other possibilities), which stretch--for all we know to the contrary--we know not whither. And these 'possibilities' or metaphysical intelligible worlds--of what kind, of what nature, or of what (whether pleasant or unpleasant) character we can conceive not. We understand not what they are; or how they are; or why they are. Indeed--penetrating down to this truth--we know not why WE ourselves exist, or what we ARE. For we, that is, the human race, are not intelligible. Creation is not intelligible. That single word SOMEHOW alone covers the whole of our knowledge. The entire ground next-off this ground of senses (or of nature) is wholly conjecture. Nature itself--away from us, and not us--may be 'UNNATURAL', for all we know to the contrary. For Man himself is only a 'PHENOMENON', and HE alone MAKES nature, which
exists not without Him. All the foregoing is the groundwork of the arguments of the deep Buddhists in regard to the real nature of things.
The result of all these sound and only possible philosophical conclusions is, that there is nothing left for man but entire submission--entire subjection to the UNKNOWN POWER--the humbleness of the UNKNOWING CHILD. And herein we see the force of that dictum of the Saviour: 'Unless ye become as one of THESE' (little children), 'ye shall in nowise see the 'Kingdom of God.' Certainly, we are unable to know absolutely (that is, philosophically) that WE OURSELVES EXIST. (Berkeley, in showing that our senses are only medium, but not means, implied that we did not exist.) By a side-glance, as it were, we can suspect whether 'Life' itself be only a 'grand DREAM' which may be, or be not; be anything, or be nothing. There is no such thing as pain or pleasure, radically; without a medium which makes it pain or pleasure. And both are only 'disturbance', made pain or pleasure from without. Our pain may be pleasure in another differently-constituted nervous method (or medium of) existence. Our pleasures may be pains (or PENALTIES) elsewhere. This possibility, which is the foundation of supernaturalism--or of the doctrine of the 'intelligent population of the elements'--proves that pain, and pleasure, and the countless shades between them, necessitate the idea of body, or of capacity, of some kind or other: because capacity is 'state', and state is 'material'. So says Paracelsus; so says Van Helmont; so says Jacob Boehm. Nothing can be anything,' unless it is fixed in something material.
Hume, in demonstrating that in reality there is 'no connexion between cause and effect', proved that there is some delusion between cause and effect; and therefore that life may be a dream. Benedictus
[paragraph continues] Spinoza, in his merciless logic, although he was a man so interpenetrated with the idea of Deity, as to be called 'The God-intoxicated man', proved that GOD MUST BE 'MATTER'; in evaporating, or exhausting, or 'calculating Him the closest OUT of His own works'. So much for the AUDACITY of mind--mind which is 'knowledge', knowledge which is the 'devil'; the devil which is the 'DENIER'. Our highest knowledge--the most refined 'sum-up' of the thinnest-sifted (until disappearing, evanishing) metaphysics, is peremptorily passed back upon us when we essay beyond the frontier of 'second causes'. All is guess over that brink. All is cloud where this pathway--turn Which way we will--ends. Man’s human arms are insufficient to lift as 'weights' aught than second causes--'CAUSED CAUSES'. He falls asleep, helpless, when the Great Veil is dropped over him to insulate his understanding. All is possible in 'SLEEP', because 'DREAMS' are in sleep. God is in sleep. And God, who is in sleep, although He is a reality AWAY from us, is a delusion, when sought to be demonstrated TO us. And sleep, which is men’s thoughts, or rather the dreams are that are in his (man’s sleep), is the stumbling-block over which the whole comprehensible theory of man parts into nothing and falls into absurdity; as in which dream he is himself ALONE, perhaps, made. These general ideas of the profound constitute the 'BYTHOS' of the GNOSTICS, and the 'MAYA', or annihilation, of the BUDDHISTS--however defectively interpreted heretofore, where these sublime subjects have not been wholly misunderstood or thought absurd--
Firstly.--In the affairs of God Almighty and the world there is some mighty reason--ab extrâ--which contradicts itself; inasmuch as it contradicts reason--having no reason. But because it contradicts reason,
it proves itself to HAVE a REASON--divine and ABOVE REASON--which is human; that is, INTELLIGIBLE ONLY. It follows from this, logically, (even)--that in being 'UNINTELLIGIBLE' it is master of the 'INTELLIGIBLE'. Therefore 'MIRACLE' is superior to 'REALITY'. Because miracle is true (being impossibility and wonder), and reality is untrue, being possible, and therefore limited (in the face of the illimitable). Reality (reason) is satisfied, and complete, and 'full'--so to speak. While the 'impossible', and therefore the 'supernatural', must be true, because it encloses nature: which is only intelligible up to its certain point of nature. (But not beyond.) Nature itself being yet to be accounted for--inasmuch as NATURE is NOT REASONABLE. What is truth? There is no truth--inasmuch as nature itself, which must necessarily be the basis of everything, is not true truth, but only apparent truth.
Secondly.--So long as Nature must have a 'farther'--or a 'whereto'--beyond the present apparent 'whole' (and forward to which, in the necessity of things it must pass)--it may be reasonable--that is, all of TRUTH APPARENT. (The Cabalists (Rosicrucians, the Brothers of the 'CRUCIFIED ROSE') say that 'Man' is unintelligible, that 'Nature' is unintelligible, that the Old Testament, with its Genesis, its Pentateuch; that the New Testament, with Christianity and the 'Scheme of Redemption', that all is unintelligible without their secret--to the world wholly forbidden 'interpretation'). But it cannot be TRUE TRUTH; or abstract, positive truth. Man is made. Man is not a maker. In other words, man gets nothing that is outside of him. He only obtains that which is already in him. He is in his world. He is of his world. But he is not of another world. His helplessness--unsupported--is perfectly ridiculous. He only lives--forgetting himself. He 'falls asleep', blindly 'into
his morrow'. If he had independent power he would not do this. He would know his 'morrow'. (This is the contention of the Buddhists.)
Now, in regard of real truth, it has been settled for very many ages that there is no possibility of there ever being such. 'Cogito; ergo sum.' I am; because I am. Existent only to the periphery of consciousness--no more.
Thirdly.--For there is something in the ring outside which (converging) makes the centre--or, in other words, that creates consciousness. That which insulates is greater than that which it insulates. 'Power' is only escaped 'Rest'. The 'Living' out of the 'Dead'.
Fourthly.--Thus IMPOSSIBILITY, alone, makes POSSIBILITY POSSIBLE.
Fifthly.--The 'made' cannot know its 'maker'; otherwise it would be 'its maker itself'. For the MAKER knows that which It (HE) makes, up to the farthest possible limit of its making or prolongation. Every man’s morrow (not yet arrived at him) is already PAST to the SUPERIOR INTELLIGENCE that is altogether independent of 'morrows'--that is, ordinary morrows. 'The ANGELS have their manacles on the wrists of the MEN-MOVERS.' Men think they act their own intentions; but in reality they act other agents’ intentions. In this 'delusion' perhaps lies the reconcilement of that unresolvable puzzle by MAN--at least, in his waking, or real, state--'Free-Will' and 'Necessity'. Free-will is 'necessity' UPWARDS, while necessity is 'free-will' DOWNWARDS; or mutual reversal of the ends of the same lever--GOD’S INTENT-TONS. This is as far as MAN is concerned; for Fate is Fate as regards the universal frame of things; the human reason being capable of grasping no possibility otherwise.