Black Curtains

Notes on secret knowledge

occultism – addendum

I just want to expand for a moment on the subject of secrets and discuss a few of the several things that might happen to make certain kinds of information appear to be hidden.

The citadel

There’s a story told by my father over the years; the first time I heard it was in one of his lectures from 1952. It’s probably an old folk tale of some kind, or he made it up; either way, it’s a doozy.

I’m going to mangle it badly, partly because I’m no wordsmith and partly because, even though I have the lecture somewhere, I can’t find it. Anyway, I won’t fudge the whole point of the story, hopefully.

Long ago, there was an ancient citadel, a monastery, built high in the clouds above the surrounding towns and forests, where the Greatest Secret of the Universe was kept. A secret so profound and so dangerous that it had to be hidden deep inside its walls, safe in a kind of sanctum sanctorum, behind a thick black curtain, and which was revealed to only one trusted individual a generation, an abbot, whose sole job was to guard it with his life.

There was a prophecy, however, that in a certain year, on a certain day, at a certain appointed hour, the citadel, despite its darkly awesome immensity, its remote location, and its vigilant abbot, would fall.

Finally, that moment came, and the terrified inhabitants of the citadel scattered into the surrounding mountains.

A short while later, a tradesman who brought food and supplies from the town to the citadel was driving his mule up the steep, winding road to deliver his wagonload of provender when he noticed that, as he approached the louring edifice, things were extremely quiet. Upon arriving at the great gates set in the outer wall, there was nobody there to meet him. Parting them himself, he was surprised to discover the usual guards were not around, and in fact, there was no one even in the courtyard, nor were there any people anywhere. Curiosity taking hold, he overcame his trepidation and crossed the outer ward and entered the cavernous hall, but still he saw no one.

Cautiously, he made his way through the inner ward and the maze-like passages beyond it until he reached the inner sanctum, the torch-lit chamber that held the most secret of all secrets, and beheld the great black curtain.

Though afraid, he approached the curtain and, with trembling hands, pulled it aside to reveal… nothing.

And in that year, on that day, and at that very moment, the citadel fell.

Okay. Not to explain the story; in fact, it’s a joke, but to emphasise the point: the great secret of the universe is that there are no secrets in the universe. Still, we know hardly anything about our universe, because if we did, maybe fewer people would be miserable. People scoffing at things like religion, occultism, and Scientology ought to bear this in mind: almost everything there is to know is, as of yet, still unknown. From the earliest beginnings of art (skill), 40 to 60 thousand years ago, to the beginnings of AI today, we have yet to really get started understanding anything.

If all the knowledge of the universe were laid out like a road, and if this road were, say, a mile long, I would guess that we have now managed to cover the first, what? Ten inches, maybe? A foot? See what I’m saying?

Invisible worlds and black curtains

This article, though, is about the “secretness” of the “secrets” as passed down through the ages, especially those as part of the traditions and rituals of secret societies, not the things we have yet to discover; that which is yet to be known of the 5,279 feet yet to be travelled.

That’s a lot of “yets,” so I’m not going down that road at all; I’m sticking with what anyone interested enough could find out and understand right now, yet many don’t. Why?

There are a number of reasons the mechanics of the universe might remain “hidden” from us, not the least of which is hubris, the idea that we already know everything. Actually, in truth, there is no greater obstacle to knowing anything than excessive pride. Failing to know that one doesn’t know has to be, by far, the largest, thickest, blackest black curtain of them all. It’s this “know it all” attitude of people criticising religion in general—and my father and Scientology in particular—that inspired me to create these blogs and articles.

These things probably remain secret, however, not because something in the fabric of reality doesn’t want us to know things; they are secret possibly because something is blocking our ability to perceive already known data. I’m talking about all the things already discovered that somehow don’t seem to reach our understanding.

There are a number of factors beyond hubris that might block perception, and I thought I would try and discuss a few of them.

One of the least important factors were the always-present forces, mostly non-secular authoritarianism, that were used against occultists in the past and drove many of them underground, starting in the 11th and 12th centuries. Modernly, of course, it is now secular authoritarianism working to the same end.

Second, a lot, if not most, of the occult data is esoteric and probably doesn’t make much sense to the uninitiated, even when pointed out. You could print out the Wisdom of the Dawn on a giant floodlit billboard, post it over the highway, and repeat it every mile across the whole country, and it might still be just “words, words, words” to many people.

The third factor, I think, has to be symbols and language. If one doesn’t have possession of the language, which is the precise code of communication, much of the information accumulated in the past and, as time goes on, developed, will be unavailable to one. Today, education is in such a miserable state that we are in a crisis—an epidemic, if you will—of glibness and literalism that makes any information that contains nuance and subtlety a closed book to too many people. Also, the modern practice of changing the definition of words to suit one’s political agenda doesn’t help.

The fourth factor has got to be diet and drugs. A poor diet blocks thought, just as drugs do.

The fifth has to be basic health. If a person is tired, undernourished, or ill, then learning is impeded. Many of us are more chronically ill than might be suspected, especially with the plethora of medicines that do more to mask symptoms than actually cure anything.

The sixth could be environment: friends and enemies. Who and what one surrounds oneself with can hinder or support self-education.

The seventh factor is the mass media. The purpose of so much of mass media, which includes so-called “social media,” is to “stick” people’s attention, mainly in order to sell stuff, including sanctimonious and specious ideologies, as well as distract attention from useful and vital information.

The eighth factor, which is, in my opinion, by far the most important factor I want to bring up, is wavelength. As briefly mentioned in the blog article, Space, Emotion, and Well-Being, there are emotional states that determine what and which information is filtered out of or allowed into a person’s perceptional field. In other words, lower emotions such as fear and anger allow in some kinds of information and filter out others, whereas higher emotions such as cheerfulness and enthusiasm are far more “porous” and allow much more data to penetrate. I’ll explain why in a moment, but suffice it to say that the lower emotions exist to deal with emergencies, and in an emergency, only very specific, often distilled and abbreviated, data is relevant.

Black curtain #1: authoritarianism

The sort of “dark and ominous” activities we associate with occultism today, such as hooded ceremonies, strange symbols painted on floors and walls, incantations and blood sacrifices, and so on, are the more or less modern Hollywood and mainstream media fallout from the days when looking too closely at nature, or spirits, got you persecuted by the Church.

Like the citadel in the story, authoritarian people and organisations are forever trying to prevent vital information from reaching us, the unwashed masses. It’s the age-old master versus slave game: “Keep ‘em ignorant’!”

For the most part, these blinkered authoritarian forces succeeded only in slowing the development of certain spiritual and physical, subjective and objective technologies, and therefore did not halt the rise of man’s control over his environment that we so enjoy today, such as medicine, hygiene, refrigeration, and computers, assuming these are good things, which I do.

Now, however, these oppressive forces, which are almost entirely secular, make sure that neither mysticism nor the occult are ever taught or talked about in our schools. As a result, one of the key doors to the mysterious power that helped bring about a level of individual liberty and freedom never before seen in any civilisation before 250 years ago gets ignored or ridiculed.

The way to see behind curtain #1 is to look where anyone is telling you not to. If you are in the vicinity of any person or institution that is telling you not to look for yourself but to look where they say to, then do the opposite, and you’ll probably find out some interesting things. Watch out though; this is a great way to rattle cages.

Black curtain #2: esoterica

As I just touched upon, it has been described that certain esoteric thoughts needed to be passed from lips to ears in the most clandestine manner possible, as religious and political (state) authorities were apt to suppress their dissemination, with violence if necessary.

Although there is a lot of truth to this, there might have been a couple far more relevant mechanics involved, as described in the Kybalion, a compilation of some of the key teachings of Hermes Trismegistus: “The lips of Wisdom are closed, except to the ears of Understanding.” And, “When the ears of the student are ready to hear, then cometh the lips to fill them with wisdom.”

This could be interpreted in a few different ways, but it shows that esoteric and occult technology isn’t so much hidden because it’s dangerous for adepts to share their knowledge, though this has been the case and still might be the case in some circumstances. Instead, it’s hidden because the nature of the information isn’t accessible to minds that aren’t ready for it. Some kinds of information aren’t esoteric because they were designed to be so; more often than not, they’re simply beyond people’s reach and comprehension, which could be a simple matter of timing—too soon, as with the young, or limitations of faculty, such as a physical disability of some sort that can suppress IQ. Other kinds because the right preparations or prior initiation haven’t been made.

For instance, try explaining compound interest to a three-year-old; you’re just going to make no sense. Try to describe higher states of being to a depressed person, and you’ll only depress them further. And if you try to reveal hidden worlds to the earthbound before they’re ready, you will appear to be a complete nut-job, possibly even a dangerous nut-job (“crucify him!”). There are a lot of kinds of information that require preparatory work, especially when it comes to esoterica.

To live a good life, it seems one must understand a lot of things. If one understands too little, as demonstrated by people with IQs below 75 who have a hard time grasping abstract concepts, life is decidedly more mysterious and difficult than it is for those testing higher. For those testing below 50, well, they find the whole business of life so unfathomable that it’s a fortunate thing for them if they live in a society that is wise enough to look after them.1

That being said, I’ve read about and met people with IQs well north of 125, the lowest average for a doctorate degree holder, who can’t grasp even the most basic metaphysical dictums and the basic ethics that go with them, especially if they’re devout materialists. Begs the question, “What is intelligence anyway?”

But the fact remains that the mind is the servo-mechanism of a questing, problem-solving entity, you, and its purpose is singular: to help you know and understand the world you not only live in but have, in a very real way, also created. When the mind is confronted with something it doesn’t understand, it will set to work. It will embark on a quest: “What is it?” Almost without your permission. (I don’t claim to know how all this works; I just prefer to assume the mind, like life, is basically on our side.)

So furious can this search be that sometimes any answer will seem better than no answer, and thus arbitraries can enter the picture. This opens the door to all kinds of manipulation, such as one type today sometimes called “gaslighting,” which was what so many governments engaged in during the recent lockdowns. Add to this mechanic deep trauma and upset, with all the added mystery that ensues, and you’ve got yourself an individual who can be manipulated without end. Uh-oh.

However, in terms of passing on truth to those who are ready to receive it, it is stated in The Kybalion as follows: “Where fall the footsteps of the Master, the ears of those ready for his Teaching open wide.” And again: “When the ears of the student are ready to hear, then cometh the lips to fill them with wisdom.” But the masters’ customary attitude has always been strictly in accordance with the other Hermetic aphorism, also in The Kybalion: “The lips of Wisdom are closed, except to the ears of Understanding.”

The trick, then, and I will get into this in a future article, is how someone might encourage the readiness to hear, learn, and know this information.

Meanwhile, the way to get around curtain #2 is to assume one doesn’t know everything and that there is something to learn, especially if one is unhappy. Unhappiness is a sure sign that one doesn’t know something one can and should know.2

Black curtain #3: language

There is a lot to say about language, but here I will only press the point that language is symbolic and is best viewed as a kind of code. A code that unlocks understanding; language turns the act of knowing into cooperation. If you mess with the code or fail to teach it, not only is the door shut to all sorts of information, especially the transmission of higher information because it is more subtle, but working with other people becomes nigh impossible (except in the most simple situations). Without language, one isn’t going to get very far in the civilisation game.

In a recent conversation with a friend, I said that anyone who wants to truly understand Scientology 1.0.0 must have a vocabulary of at least 40,000 words. She didn’t want to work on that, so what are you going to do? Doors are pretty much closed; end of story.

Almost all of the arguments I’ve heard against esoterica in general or Scientology in particular have come from people who either haven’t studied it or don’t have enough language skills to have understood it if they have. Studied it, I mean.

Sorry, but if one doesn’t know the language well, then most every piece of vital information that’s been gathered just isn’t available, even if it were spelled out in skywriting. Sure, one can have raw intelligence, or “street smarts,” but without training in language, the wisdom of the ages is mostly a closed book.

The good news is that if one has an IQ of 85 or higher, they can learn their particular language, and that’s a happy majority of people on the planet.

The way to tear down black curtain #3 is for one to take a thorough course in their language. Also, if you’re an English speaker, build your vocabulary up to 40,000 words or more. 60,000 to 80,000 words should really open doors.

Black curtain #4: food and drugs, health and environment

Just look around; say no more. But I will anyway.

First, food. When the lockdowns were imposed upon the people of Los Angeles, there was a panic about food. I didn’t bother to get supplies, despite reports of empty shelves, as I had a week or two’s worth of foodstuffs at hand already, as I usually do. When I eventually did go to the store, imagine my surprise when I found…. plenty of food! In fact, an abundant supply.

What had happened was that all the non-food items, those food-like items with an extended shelf life, were gone, but the actual food was still there. Throughout the whole of the lockdowns, this was the case, apart from the occasional shortage, such as what happened with some vegetables, mainly peas (most Americans are not big pea fans, anyway).

The moral of this story is that it appears a lot of people aren’t eating food, at least not during “the most deadly pandemic in living history.” This reduces health, which reduces the ability to think, and makes the population more manageable. And excitable, especially when engineering the peaceful burning down of black-owned businesses in the name of their lives mattering.

Obesity is now at epidemic proportions in much of the West. Only a very tiny percentage of the population is genetically predisposed to getting fat; everybody else gets fat because they’re not eating food.3 Forget excessive exercise; if one is getting fat, then start eating actual food, and the weight will come off. Period. This is assuming, of course, that one is not also overdosing on drugs or alcohol.

Second, drugs. Drugs alter mental states, usually to reduce either physical or psychic pain. But they are more like a shotgun than a sniper rifle, so they also block the ability to think clearly. This goes for alcohol as well. Nicotine too. And sugar (especially “high-fructose corn syrup”—yecch). I’m not advocating the non-use of these chemicals; I’m commenting on their overuse (except for the corn syrup—get rid of all of that; it’s pure poison—it puts the body into a hyper-production of lipocytes more than sugarcane does).

As to medicine, especially antidepressants of all kinds. Have you ever thought about how the sudden rise in mass killings happened almost within the year that fluoxetine4 came out? Well, this may be a case of correlation as opposed to causation, but all the people I’ve talked to who are either on such drugs or who have taken them report “numbness.” Numbness destroys empathy, so if you can’t experience what others are experiencing, you’re cut off from them. And, possibly, in some thankfully rare instances, since for them people seem to have turned into annoying noisy cardboard cutouts, why not just shoot ‘em? Since the point of esoteric technology is to support life, and since being truly alive is what the world wants, it seems these goals are in conflict.

(I’m not advocating one way or another to take or not take such chemicals, but I think this idea that one is suffering from depression, anxiety, or what have you due to some sort of “chemical imbalance” in the brain is real rubbish. There is literally no proof of this hypothesis; check it out for yourself. As to where psychotic breaks are the case, I have nothing to say; I’m not writing for those who suffer such severe mental breakdowns, although I sympathise—I’ve seen more than a few and it’s horrible—and scary. Most people don’t suffer such collapse, thank goodness, but maybe if they just “powered” through, possibly in a few months they’d feel better, I don’t know. Unfortunately, we’ve entered a period of history where the effortless popping of pills has become normalised so alternative solutions may get ignored.)

As for psychotropics, those mind-altering drugs that may or may not open some people’s minds, well, be careful. If you’re doing these because you’re lazy, don’t be surprised if they don’t improve things in the long run. Or even the short term, if you are very lazy. There’s no short-cut to spiritual enlightenment; even the micro-dosers are going to have to do the real work one day. Besides, the hangover from many of these things is “dullness” or “numbness,” which is why people go back and back to them; it’s hard to discover that, on one’s own, one is just… dull. Which isn’t true in any case.

The way to tear down curtain #5 is to eat actual food, but not too much of it, and do drugs only as an absolute last resort, not as an immediate go-to. And never drink or smoke weed (or any other “recreational” substance) because you are bored or unhappy. Especially not if you’re bored. (A person only gets bored because they are being uncreative, and tetrahydrocannabinol, the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis, makes one feel creative without necessarily actually creating anything.)

As for the would-be psychedelic adventurer, take care. Search your soul—are you just trying to go for a shortcut? We live in a world where some people are telling us that putting in less effort is a good thing. It isn’t.

Note on general health. Regular sleep, outdoor exposure, and some exercise can get ignored. Over time, the lack of one or all of these is almost as serious as being addicted to drugs, etc.

Note on one’s environment. Your environment isn’t just your rooms, office, or neighbourhood; it’s the people that populate them with you. People are usually the main things in one’s environment. Fraternising with people who may be working against you or are even hostile to you can so distract or introvert you that absorbing esoterica also becomes impossible. I think the people one chooses to have in their life have a more helpful and empowering—or, if stuck with them, distracting and hurtful—effect than might sometimes be realised. This might be because so many families seem to have, at least, a bad actor or two, and as one grows up, such anti-social personalities just “become part of the landscape.” Certainly the playground and schools have its share of such types.

Black curtain #5: mass media

Mass media is a real maze, but basically, the problem of having one’s attention utterly under the control of others is solved by throwing out the TV and by proper use of phones, especially by deleting all social media apps and scheduling when the phone is on and where one takes it. One can do this until the pixels of mass destruction are under one’s control and one is no longer a screen slave. Easier said than done, though, I suppose.

Concentration is also a factor. The ability to concentrate and not be distracted is becoming a rare art. If you’ve read this far, clearly this isn’t one of your problems.

Black curtain #6: perception

The emotional scale, which is used to measure the success of Dianetics, Scientology, and even life itself, seems to have a paradox: if you’re stuck in one of the lower bands, the realities—the information that people in the higher bands have easy access to—seem like a deep mystery.

There is usually no point in explaining this to people stuck in the emotional bands below antagonism or even the considerably higher emotion of boredom. (See a brief description of this scale here).

Consider someone stuck in boredom. Bored people aren’t interested in many things, so why bother: a) learning about the relationship between emotion and perception (boring!) or b) putting in the effort required to consistently achieve higher emotions by learning esoterica (also boring). I mean, that’s the problem with being uninterested: everything seems boring.

As for being stuck in antagonism, in antagonism, the individual is now invested in being “right!” Learning that there are more perceptive emotions than antagonism would make him wrong! So he’s not going to go there. Same goes for all the emotions on down, all the way down to the deep apathy that sets in before death: the individual becomes more and more invested in being “right, by golly!” Also paradoxically, the more this happens, the more the individual is, in fact, actually wrong. My father posits, “How wrong can an individual be?” Answer: dead. Oops.

In fact, there are emotions that go all the way up to exhilaration and, even higher, to serenity. It’s truly amazing to listen to people stuck in, say, anger lay claim to these higher emotions while playing cop right and left and being so righteous about it, lord! Truth: the more unserious one is, the more information one can gather. And more quickly too, because information starts to miraculously “appear” everywhere: each individual is literally surrounded all day by every bit of information they will ever need.

A proven and workable solution to curtain #6 is Dianetics and Scientology. Although I have seen cases where people have improved their emotional states by other means, these two subjects seem to be the only sure-fire methods in my experience, despite what the authoritarian “experts” and critics propping up black curtain #1 say.

Curtains summary

Obviously, there will be other factors involved in why things are hidden from people—sabotaged education, compulsive consumerism, damaged brains, and habitually deferring to government are not the least of them—and just as obviously, tearing down these other curtains is also easier said than done.

As mentioned above in the part about emotion and perception, the ultimate block to getting good information is the human condition itself. Where external stimuli stimulate degrees of unconsciousness that, if not cleaned up and cleared up, leave the mind too foggy to make much sense of anything, let alone esoterica.

Left to their own devices, though, most people will make a pretty good life. With access to the basics, people grow food and raise families, which is the fundamental game and the foundation of absolutely everything. But as technology advances and civilisations grow ever more complex, nobody is hardly ever left alone to just do their thing anymore. And even though growing and evolving civilisations are exactly what is wanted, it also becomes increasingly easy for the bad actors, who are always control freaks, to gain greater influence over the majority, those who just want to be left alone to get on with it.

Like philosophy, esoterica is no longer something that only advanced thinkers or “fringe thinkers” can afford. Now, philosophy and esoterica are essential knowledge for everybody, and getting and understanding them is no longer something one does “when one has time,” which, of course, one never does, partly because of the lack of this esoteric information. Have time, I’m saying. Show me a person who “has too little time,” and I’ll show you someone who’s in some degree of mystery about life, no matter how “educated” they are.

Setting aside even just 30 minutes a day to study this stuff will have a person quite well educated and equipped to deal with a world almost entirely in the hands of the authoritarians in pretty short order. Heck, even just deciding to put this self-education on your list of priorities will make a big difference.

In conclusion

So, the final points: those secret societies, with their secret rites, weren’t so secret because they were working on hidden agendas of world dominance or something. They were usually either keeping themselves safe, as was necessary in their time, or simply working with information that some people couldn’t understand, as is mostly the case in ours.

The Rosicrucians’ and Masons’ project of postulating a world in which the Sovereign Individual could flourish was necessarily sub-rosa because people in power rely on people being half-asleep sheep to stay in power. The Freemasons devised a method of passing on esoterica that was accomplished through gradational initiations, which are thought to be so weird by “normal” people. These rites were not so much to “keep the secrets” as to ensure the effective transmission of esoteric information; there’s no point teaching stuff to people who haven’t learned the data that supports higher knowledge; knowledge is a pyramid, after all. One learns to walk before learning to run. Usually, anyway.

Things like hermetic philosophy aren’t hidden, but they are esoteric, which means they are hard to understand for some people (often because it’s just “too simple”). If one is inclined to disregard such stuff either as “so much bunkum” or as irrelevant, I advise thinking about why that might be. Such responses are usually because 1) one is either an authoritarian or, worse, a follower, 2) it’s simply out of one’s reach (unlikely), 3) one is too emotionally dis-regulated to grasp it, 4) the language isn’t known well enough, 5) one is living on junk food, or medicine, and/or drugs, or with enemies, or 6) one is on their iPhone all day. Or some combination of these.

The essence of life’s greatest mysteries is that the universe, the cosmos itself, and all of Creation are conscious and can never die, and that the individual is not so much “created” in its image as integral to it. The game is the eternal Game of Games: for Creation to “know itself.” To do this, each of us must follow the wisest of all goals: “to know thyself.” That right there might be the Greatest Secret of the Universe, which is no secret at all.

1 As far as I can tell, though, we are doing pretty poorly at this humanitarian duty right now. Because IQ is usually immutable (in a world devoid of effective therapies and education), creating a safe haven for those who functionally cannot manage a complex level of technology and the civilisation that goes with it or were overwhelmed by it, as is often the case—the drug-addicted “homeless,” for instance—becomes a matter of the cost of being an advanced civilisation. This problem can be solved without socialism, though. Socialism tries to make “everybody responsible for everybody else” a systemic impossibility.

2 There is indeed such a thing as “ignorance is bliss,” but only if there is a good reason. Children are ignorant, but they can be happy because they don’t need to know anything before their time. Push a kid into data too soon or withhold it from them too long, and misery ensues, as it will for anybody.

3 There is a hormone, or something, that switches off hunger when the body’s energy supply has been replenished. If one is eating nourishing food, this “switch” gets thrown. If one is eating unwholesome food, it doesn’t, and eating only stops after the stomach is too full to contain more.

4 Fluoxetine is the first of several selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. The later SSRIs were advertised all over TV as even more effective, whatever that means. Prozac was approved by the FDA in 1987, began to be widely prescribed a year later, and in 1989 there were two mass shootings; both perpetrators were using it (as well as other drugs, I’m sure). But the debate regarding a possible connextion was pretty much quashed by the mid-1990s. In 2022, the number had jumped to 12. I would guess there are without doubt many additional factors, but it’s something worth looking into.

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Arthur Ronald Conway Hubbard

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