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2. The specific features of the general methodology of the Living Ethics’ system of cognition

The Roerichs left Russia soon after the February Revolution, and in 1923 they found themselves in India. In addition to all other reasons, it was N. Roerich’s interest in a number of issues, such as the common source of the Slavic and Indian cultures and the world migrations of ancient people, that brought them to that country. India became for many years the home of the various scientific and artistic activities of Nicholas Roerich and his family. There they were given the opportunity of direct communication with the spiritual Teachers. Both Helena and Nicholas Roerich became close collaborators of Those Who Personified a High Source, who more than once passed to mankind precious cosmic information. This time, information in the form of the philosophic system of the Living Ethics came though the Roerichs, and, primarily, through Helena Roerich. So, the close relationship between the Roerichs and such spiritual sources gives us the opportunity to believe that, besides other methods of obtaining information, in this case the method of evidence was carried out. It was in the 20th century that this method again acquired great significance.

The Living Ethics was the final stage in the formation of a new cosmic world perception which appeared in the course of the Spiritual Revolution in Russia. Its relationship to the new philosophic and scientific thought is obvious and undoubtful.

Both Helena Roerich, who performed titanic work with the texts communicated to her, and N. Roerich, who implemented the evolutionary and cosmic ideas of the Living Ethics in wonderful artistic canvases and scientific and literary essays, made a great contribution to the formation of the new planetary thinking and the new consciousness of modern humanity.

What is evolution – a theory, a system, a hypothesis?..” Teyar de Chardin, major French scientist and thinker would write. “No, something much more than all that: it is the main condition by which from now on all theories, hypotheses, systems must be governed, if they want to be reasonable and true. The light illuminating all facts, the curve, in which all lines must merge – this is evolution.”1 It is to the laws of cosmic evolution, in which “all lines” of human existence merge, that the Living Ethics is dedicated. The Living Ethics ideas are not abstract. Having been formed in the natural cosmic tendency, having absorbed all that is most precious from the past and present of mankind, having united the thought of the East and of the West, scientific and extra-scientific knowledge, the Living Ethics carry a huge energetic charge of effectuality, directing mankind to the future, to spiritual improvement and evolutionary progress. Covering a wide range of cosmic processes, the Living Ethics contributes to such understanding of events by man that, according to N. Roerich, would “reflect the essence and basis of the whole Universe.”

Comprehending the place of man in the system of cosmic evolution, the Living Ethics creators assert that “man is a source of knowledge and the most powerful implementer of cosmic forces,” that he is “part of cosmic energy, part of the elements, part of the Cosmic Intellect, part of the consciousness of higher matter.”2 Man cannot be separated, isolated in his being from the energetic structure of the Cosmos. He carries it in himself and therefore lives in accordance with the same laws as does the Cosmos. The interaction of man with the energetic structures of the Universe in the process of energetic exchange is the main motivating power of his cosmic evolution. This process itself is expansive, complicated, and little studied by modern science. However, only in its being carried out, occur those flashes of energy that secure the advancement of mankind. Man gets involved in energetic exchange with his like, with objects on the surface of the planet, with the planet itself, and with various cosmic bodies, first of all with the Sun, the planets of the solar system, Zodiac star clusters, the star cluster Orion, and, finally, with worlds of different dimensions and different states of matter. Such exchange results in the modification of man’s and the cosmic bodies’ energetic potential, that which creates the conditions for their evolutionary progress. The energetics itself is the initial cause for all processes taking place in the Cosmos. It also plays the main role in the development of man’s consciousness as evolution’s object into his consciousness as its subject. The distance separating the object of evolution from its subject is the path of the spiritual and cultural improvement of man, which results in the transformation from man’s passive and unconscious participation in evolution to active and conscious participation. Man, observing the Great Laws of the Cosmos, will acquire knowledge and the abilities to influence the course and quality of evolution. It is Those Who became the conscious subjects of evolution who form the Hierarchy of the Spiritual Cosmos, represented on earth by the Teachers, including the Living Ethics’s Authors. The evolutionary processes of the Cosmos develop in accordance with its objective laws. The same laws determine the general and particular goals of evolution and testify to the priority of the spirit, which the Living Ethics’s Authors consider to be a natural power and energetic phenomenon. A glimmer of this spirit is contained in every human, and it lives and acts in him in accordance with, on the one hand, the Great Laws of the Cosmos, and on the other hand, with his, man’s free will.

The main essence of evolution itself is the spiritualization of matter, the increasing of its energetics, and its future change and refinement into a subtler state. This can be achieved with the help of such power as the spirit. In the process of the spiritualization and refinement of matter, synthesis is the main, principal method. Such phenomena as Culture and the Love and Beauty it encompasses, which carry subtle, high-vibration energetics, and, at last, the psychic energy of man himself, serve as the foundations of evolution and determine its quality. The absence of such foundations for some or other reasons interrupts the path of cosmic evolution and leads into the maelstrom of involution. The Living Ethics considers any earthly phenomenon, from the point of view of the interaction of spirit and matter, to be the energetics of this interaction. Such an approach gives the possibility to reveal the real essence of this phenomenon, to establish its causal relations and energetic interactions. The Living Ethics Teaching in a broad way proposes the problem of Culture as the means for the salvation of the planet from forthcoming cataclysms. The Teaching Authors show in a well-grounded and convincing way that mankind’s regular violation of the Great Laws of the Cosmos already brought mankind to a dead end, with the threat of disastrous energetic explosions.

Before proceeding to the consideration of the methodology of the Living Ethics, we should mention the phenomenon of duality – its important, or rather most important point of detail. Without the comprehension of the essence of duality, very many issues in this methodology will be not clear. This phenomenon has universal, cosmic character, representing the Great Cosmic Law that governs any process in the Cosmos.

The idea of duality appears throughout mythological imagery, various systems of Oriental philosophy, and most ancient beliefs. It is reflected especially expressly in the culture of Precolombine America, in the philosophy that became known as Nahuatl and that is related to the cult of Quetzalcoatl. Here is a fragment of an amazing poem about Quetzalcoatl that was written in the present day by poet J. L. Portillo:

Omeyokan! I appear in this twofold place,
where the darkness reigns together with the wind, Yoalyi Aatkal,

where the everlasting Silence surrenders to the will of
the Word.
I’m here, “And it means I do exist?” I asked myself.
I’m here, “It means I am just what I am.”3

A man who has appeared in a dual place also becomes dual. Toltecs had the god Ometeotl, “the god of duality,” who, according to their cosmogony, created the Universe. “Ometeotl,” the major archeologist and ethnographer Demetrio Sodi wrote, “contains a religious idea, according to which the basis for the origination of all things includes the underlying principle of duality.”4 We find the principle of duality in Indian and Buddhist mythologies in the image of two elements, the serpent Nag and the bird Garuda, between whom there is constant struggle or opposition. Without this opposition, the twofold phenomenon, “spirit – matter,” which forms the basis for cosmic antitheses: man and God, heaven and earth, life and death, etc., would not be able to exist. “All the facts testify,” Demetrio Sodi noted, “that this concept is crystallized, acquires complete form thanks to the Toltec priest Quetzalcoatl. The philosophic contents emplaced in the notion of the “feathered serpent” reflected the human drama of inner struggle, life dilemma – hesitations between matter and spirit.5 And not only that. Under the conditions of duality, creation, in the most universal sense of the word, appears. Duality engages the energy which moves cosmic evolution. The same duality has created one of the most important mythological mysteries, the existence of god and man in one person, which later becomes two in our differentiated world. The example of Quetzalcoatl is very demonstrative in this respect. On the one hand, we know of the god Quetzalcoatl, the “feathered serpent,” who carried in himself the sacred duality, and, on the other hand, we also know of the Toltec priest who created the teaching of duality that took the central place in the Nahuatl philosophy. And this is not the only example. Duality as if starts the mysterious cosmic game, in which a historical personality turns into a god, and vice versa. Some strange substitution takes place in eternity, and then – the confusion of the masks of god and of man.

In the later period, the phenomenon “spirit – matter” became the main question of philosophy, by which not so much the essence of cosmic duality was determined, as the “good quality” of philosophy itself, the criterion for which was the settlement of the question of what was primary and what was secondary: spirit or matter. This “primary – secondary” issue reached its culmination in the sociological thinking of the 19th century and was reflected most expressly in the materialistic philosophy of Marxism. In the course of the latter development by ideologists of post-revolutionary Russia, the “secondary” element was abolished as a phenomenon, and the “primary” position was given to matter, while the spirit turned into an “immaterial element.” This negation of the spirit committed to oblivion the inner world of man, where, in fact, spirit and matter interacted. This kind of “operation” resulted in a situation where man, his creative work, his knowledge, found themselves having only one wing, and his mentality was devoid of its most important quality, duality. This, in its turn, resulted in distortions not only in spiritual life, but in the intellectual realm, too, which negatively affected both the system of cognition and that of science. This one-winged consciousness could not normally develop, could not stay afloat in the tideway of cosmic evolution.

The Russian philosophy of the Silver Age and the scientific thought of the 20th century formed that spiritual and cultural space in which started movement in the direction of the correct understanding of duality. And this is due, first of all, to the return of its inner world to man in philosophy and scientific thought, or, rather, the return of the comprehension of this worldly duality. “It implies the relationship,” the author of the postscript to P. Florensky’s book Imaginaries in Geometry, L. Antipenko, wrote, “between two kinds of reality: sensual, or empiric reality, and super-sensual, or extra-empiric. In confessional language, they are usually correlated with the earthly and the heavenly worlds constituting a singe Divine Universum.”6

In other words, returning the notion of duality to the phenomenon “spirit – matter,” we do not study the problem of which is primary and which is secondary, but speak about the existence of empiric and extra-empiric reality, or worlds of different states of matter, which the man who has become aware of this circumstance comes to contact with in his internal world. This brings us to the conclusion that the duality (spirit – matter) contained in man confirms existence of not only the external universe, but also the internal universe, which we cognize not empirically, but intuitively, super-sensually.

Rejecting this internal universe, the basis of which is the spirit, we thus take ourselves out of the field which, firstly, affects very definitely our external and internal life, and, secondly, is the source of various kinds of information that helps us to cognize not only ourselves, but also the processes of cosmic evolution, in which we, people, participate (to a great extent unconsciously) from the time our existence began. It is the man who has become aware of himself who is capable of understanding his duality, in which not only spirit and matter are contained, but also the heavenly and the earthly, the solid world and the subtle world, the world of evolution and the world of involution, the Higher and the lower world. In this case it is him, the man, who is the main instrument of evolution, without which the evolutionary process of the spiritualization of matter, its transfer from one state to another, to the higher state, the achievement of worlds of a higher dimension, is not possible. To understand all this, its is necessary to comprehend the relativity of the energetic impact in the framework of the phenomenon “spirit – matter” in the endless chain of cosmic evolution. It is the Living Ethics that gives us the opportunity to comprehend this kind of process. Both what we call spirit and what we determine as matter are just different states of matter. From this point of view, the Living Ethics is the most materialistic philosophic system. There is no “immaterial element” for it. The Spirit, as the Living Ethics says, is energy. And energy, which is the main component in the structure of the Universe, cannot exist without matter. The state of matter, in the long run, is determined by the level of vibrations of energy correlated with this type of matter. Both spirit and matter make a single whole, which is called by the Living Ethics “spirit-matter.”

One of Helena Roerich’s letters says: “Thus, in the Manifest World, one can only speak of one or another stage of the spirit-matter manifestation. The spirit is energy, and we know that no energy can show itself beyond matter. At all planes, in all acts and thinking, we cannot get separated from matter. In contrast, the spirit, the subjective element, or energy, is contained in a potential state in the bowels of Cosmic Nature. Of course, in differentiating according to which of the endless stages or degrees the manifestations of spirit-matter appeared, notions of relativity and antithesis became established. But it is this relativity and antithesis that form the foundations for our cognition.”7

This short extract skillfully formulates the whole complexity and relativity of the phenomenon of duality at the level “spirit – matter.” It can be imagined in the form of a grandiose cosmic chain going into Infinity and bearing various states of matter and its energetics. All this moves, transforms, but unchangeably passes along the tideway of the Great Law of duality. In this twofold phenomenon “spirit – matter,” there must always be the difference of potentials, just as it exists in a battery producing electric power. If the difference of potentials is equaled for some reason, the energy will disappear and the evolutionary chain will fall apart, which will bring about, in its turn, catastrophic consequences. And it is the spirit, as energy having causal essence, that directs the evolutionary changes of matter. The energy of the spirit spiritualizes matter, as the spirit is a special type of subtle matter possessing high-vibration energetics. And as any matter, the spirit is capable of evolution and creates on the basis of duality the phenomenon of relativity that fills the Cosmos with endless numbers of various states of matter. And at the same time, as a high-energetic type of subtle matter, which is opposed to solid matter and yields to empiric research, the spirit has a number of specific features, which cannot be neglected in the cognition of any phenomenon or any type of creative work. The neglect of these specific features, which we find listed in the Living Ethics system of cognition, can bring modern science to a dead end and create much trouble in the common spiritual and cultural realm. Here are the most important of such features:

1. The spirit can not exist in a pure form without matter.

2. If solid matter is temporary, transient, and yields to destruction, the eternal and intransient is based on the indestructibility of the spirit. “Indeed, just the world of the spirit is strong,” the Living Ethics says, “for it is indestructible and invincible!”8

3. The spirit is the main shape-generating and creative element. Without the spirit, there is neither one, nor the other. Without the spirit, there is no Universe in that form in which we know it, there is no creation in the broadest sense.

4. The spirit is not only creative power, but also cognitive. Proceeding from the universal character of the spirit and its high energetics, we must take into account its informational qualities and abilities.

5. The spirit is also a major transforming power, performing everything from all kinds of cosmic transformations to the transformation of the consciousness of man. It is the spirit, the Living Ethics asserts, that “transforms consciousness into the phenomenon of all-encompassing.”9

6. The spirit leads the evolution of both the Cosmos and man and changes itself in the course of the relativity of cosmic evolution, for it contains all cosmic energies.

7. The idea that “the world is one through the consonance of spirit,” expressed in the Living Ethics,10 is not only an extremely important theory for the comprehension of the phenomenon of duality itself, but is also one of the main postulates of the new system of cognition. From it very naturally follows the proposition of the energetic spirituality of the Cosmos itself and that of the important role of the spirit in it as a creator.

These kinds of ideas, confirmed by the multicentury experience of mankind and by various scientific discoveries, give us the opportunity to see absolutely differently both the duality of space and the duality of man, which determines the significance of his role in the Cosmos. K. Kedrov writes about parallel universes, to a certain extent confirming by this the Living Ethics ideas of the duality of the Universe and the existence of a spiritual universe within its system. “So, there are two universes: the eternal one, from which everything has appeared, and a temporary one, in which we temporarily exist. The eternal one, with all its remoteness, is very near to us and resembles our soul. In it, objective reality very closely resembles our subjective, internal world. The temporary one seems to be much closer, we are born in it and will die in it, but it contradicts us in everything. ‘My Kingdom is not of this world,’ Christ said, and we can repeat this, not at all setting up a pretense. It so happens that we carry in ourselves two universes: the imaginary, eternal one and the temporary, real one. [ . . . ] So, the role of man at the juncture of this twoness of the world has become clear. He connects the separated worlds, that one and this one. If there were no man, the real disintegration of the universe into life and death would take place.”11 It can be added to this that the bridge of the human relationship to worlds of other states of matter and parallel universes is built from the spirit, through the energy of which all cosmic bodies exist.

Our inner world is the world of our energetics in all kinds of combinations, from subtle to rough. In our differentiated world, we are always striving to find a place for one or another phenomenon. According to the Living Ethics system of cognition, the place through which we are connected with other worlds, from which not only energetics, but also the cognitive information that is necessary for us comes, is in the heart. It is the heart that serves as the center of our consciousness and as the carrier of duality. Even in ancient times, the heart was identified with the Sun. The heart is the junction where spirit and matter, the earthly and the heavenly, our world and other being meet. It follows from this that our consciousness is formed on the basis of the interaction of the superterraneous and the earthly. In the Living Ethics, there is a separate volume dedicated to the heart, which is also called “The Heart,” and that part of the system of cognition which relates to the spiritual and energetic role of the heart is represented there through a diversity of ancient and modern experience and knowledge.

The comprehension of the role of man in the Cosmos as a carrier of the spirit testifies to a completely new paradigm and new approaches to the study of man as such. The negation of the duality of the internal world of man, turning the spirit into an “immaterial element,” and the resulting loss of the reality of cosmic man, all this engendered many major calamities in the social and cultural life of the critical period of the 20th century. “The world of Reality,” Helena Roerich wrote, “is the Eternal IS, and all relativity is only born in its differentiation and from the endless transformations or transfers in the eternal motion of manifest Being.”12

The duality of one or another phenomenon is always related to the degree of the differentiation of its matter. The more solid the matter is, the higher is the degree of its differentiating. In our world this is quite clearly expressed in duality. The result is that sometimes antithetical elements appear to us as phenomena that are unrelated to each other. But in the course of matter’s change in quality from rough to subtle, antithetical elements are more and more often comprehended by us as integral phenomena carrying energetics for further development. In the phenomenon “spirit – matter,” all the complexity of duality and the evolution of the degrees of its relativity are manifested. Duality is a most important methodological thesis of the Living Ethics, a new system of cognition. And in the course of penetration into the depths of the cosmic law of duality, we start to understand that no system of cognition can exist without it. For this thesis gives us the chance to understand that there are two sources of knowledge: the earthly, dealing with solid matter, and the superterraneous, subtle-material, possessing high energetics of other being. The first source is closely connected with experimental science and materialistic philosophy, which appeared on the basis of this science. The second source is related to extra-scientific methods of cognition, based on intuition and the ability to see the invisible and receive information from worlds of other states of matter and its higher dimensions. In the history of humanity, starting from the most ancient times, the extra-scientific method of cognition played a greater role than did the scientific, or experimental. Materialistic philosophy and experimental science for a long time removed the extra-scientific method from the system of cognition, having limited this cognition to only the external, material aspect of human existence, and they for some time excluded from cognition the inner world of man and the subtle-material, high energetic source of cognition.

The new thinking of the 20th century, for which the cosmic world perception became the basis, needed a new system of cognition, and it was presented by the Living Ethics, a philosophy of cosmic reality in which the paradigm of duality plays the dominating role. “I advise the understanding and acceptance,” Helena Roerich wrote, “of the first principle of Oriental philosophy: the existence of a Single Absolute Transcendental Reality, its dual Aspect in the conditioned Universe, and the illusory character, or relativity, of all that has been manifested.

Only by juxtaposing this duality, or the antithical pairs, are sparks of cognition struck, and improvement, or evolution, is made possible.”13

The following methodological tenets of the Living Ethics give us the chance to understand the new elements that it introduced into the philosophic thought of the 20th century and those approaches to the cosmic evolution of mankind that are becoming an integral part of the new thinking’s concepts:

1. The Universe is an integral, energetic system consisting of various energetic structures, including man, which interact with each other in a grandiose energetic and informational exchange. The latter is one of the motivating powers of cosmic evolution.

The Cosmos exists,” Helena Roerich wrote, “only due to the interpenetration and interaction of the energies of space that emanate from billions of focuses, or centers, that fill it and are constantly being formed in it!”14

These kinds of centers are magnets in space whose energetics govern all processes of creation that develop in the Cosmos.

2. These processes determine the existence and development of all kinds of states of matter of various dimensions, which form the multitude of worlds in the Cosmos.

3. The spirit is, in its essence, subtle-material and high-vibration energetics. It holds the dominating position in the Universe, acting as the basis for cosmic creation. The spirit as subtle-material energy spiritualizes matter in the process of evolution, creating its higher forms.

4. Man as an energetic structure is not only part of the Cosmos, but also carries this Cosmos in his internal world. The latter circumstance allows man to influence with the energetics of his spirit the evolutionary creation carried out by the Cosmos.

Explaining this tenet of the Living Ethics methodology, Helena Roerich wrote: “In any creation the participation of the energies of man as a carrier of the higher principles of the Cosmos is necessary. The sacred Teaching says: “the worlds unpopulated by man could not develop, and for this reason they fell apart.” Thus, the dependence of the worlds or the planet on man and his spiritual and moral level becomes clear.”15

5. Man, in his turn, also depends on the worlds of a subtler state of matter and its higher dimensions.

“And what mankind possesses,” the Living Ethics says, “it derives from the treasury of the Cosmos.”16 In other words, in terms of its evolutionary significance, the information that is received by man as a result of energetic exchange with higher worlds is more important than that obtained by means of empiric science. Without the energetic and informational flow coming to man from Higher worlds, there would be no cosmic evolution of man, and man would not be able to move upward along his spiral path, improving his spirit and refining his matter to a subtler state.

In evolution, as the Living Ethics’s Authors understand it, only the Higher can promote the lower. This is one of the main methodological tenets of the Living Ethics philosophy.

That is why the Higher worlds and man’s interaction with them are so important to human life and evolution. A world of a higher state of matter will always be a causal phenomenon for a lower one. “Do not separate the invisible world from life, for the invisible power should be understood as the main stimulus in the creation carried out by the spirit.”17 That is why the worlds of a different state of matter play in our life a more significant role than we think.

6. The necessity of the expansion of the human mentality is the main condition for the comprehension of the new model of the Universe that we find in the Living Ethics system of cognition. The broadening of consciousness leads to new scientific paradigms, to discoveries, and to the settlement of contradictions at certain steps of cognition. For example, the outlook of the energetic world gives us the chance to understand, as well as to see, the subtle-material processes developing in the solid layers of matter. Francis Bacon, one of the greatest English philosophers, wrote that “the universe cannot be reduced to the level of human understanding, but human understanding must be expanded and developed so that it could perceive the image of the universe in the course of its revelation.”18 Scientific discoveries and speculative thought findings – all this is the result of the expansion of mentality. What man does not see or perceive today becomes visible and cognizable to him if his consciousness is expanded tomorrow. The history of science is not only the history of human talent, efforts, and labor, but also a reflection of the process of the expansion of his consciousness, which develops in the course of energetic and informational exchange at all levels of the Cosmos. “There is only one path for the transformation of thinking,” the Living Ethics says. “Specifically, consciousness needs to be awakened. It is when the spirit can look back, knowing that yesterday’s thinking has already passed, that the transmutation of recognition and differentiation happens.”19

No other recent materialistic system of philosophy had ever mentioned in its methodology the necessity for taking into consideration in scientific research the expansion of consciousness as a very important condition in the system of cognition. Not the intellect as such, but the expanded consciousness is the motivation of scientific discoveries. Every scientific achievement is the result of the synthesis of the intellect and the heart, which is the reservoir of consciousness. The question of the expansion of human consciousness is the most important and the main issue in the system of cognition.

7. The expansion of mentality determines the evolutionary process transforming man from evolution’s object into its subject. The path from evolution’s object to its subject is the path of the improvement of man, which becomes complete when he is included in the chain of the cosmic Hierarchy, without which the spiritual work of the evolutionary creation neither of the Cosmos, nor of man would be possible.

8. To the process of the expansion of consciousness and the problem “object – subject,” we can add another most important tenet of the Living Ethics system of cognition: “Teacher – disciple” is closely related. This leading principle of cosmic evolution is far from new. It appeared from times immemorial in the culture and philosophy of the East. In the Living Ethics methodology, it is expanded to a universal scale as a cosmic principle of learning and cognition in the process of evolution, without which no progress of mankind would be possible. If in ancient times, the Teacher acted as a mythological cultural hero, then, in the modern theory of cognition, the Teacher is one of the cosmic Hierarchs influencing evolutionary processes. This hierarchic chain, in which the relationship “Teacher – disciple” is represented by multiple links, passing one to another and continuing to Infinity, has its earthly part as well, its earthly Teachers and its earthly disciples. Thus, the earthly and the superterraneous are linked in this chain, following the Great Law of Duality, according to which any phenomenon in the Cosmos shall have an earthly and a superterraneous part, or a solid-material part and a subtle-material one.

The entire methodology of the Living Ethics is closely related to the impact of the laws of the Cosmos, without taking into consideration of which, no system of cognition can exist in today’s world. For such a system only works within the framework of such laws. These laws can be conditionally divided into two groups.

The first group consists of the Great Laws of the Cosmos, which have fundamental, general character. The second group comprises particular, or, so to say, specific laws, each of them a part of a Great Law that is united with it by a common problem.

The impact of the cosmic laws, both Great and particular, spreads not only throughout the Cosmos, but throughout the earthly plane, as well, and, in particular, is reflected in the development of human society. These laws’The cosmic laws, Helena Roerich pointed out, connect the physical world with the subtle world, or extra-mundane world.”20 Man, acting in conformity with the cosmic laws, becomes a creator, gradually achieving the level of the subject of evolution. If he, consciously or unconsciously, neglects these laws, he follows the path of destruction and calamity. In our days, we find such examples on a mass scale.

The following enumeration of the cosmic laws far from exhausts all their diversity and profoundness either quantitatively or qualitatively. While some of them had already been discovered by science, they had not been as broadly interpreted as they become in the Living Ethics, which spread them across all levels of cosmic being. These laws work both in the sphere of morality and in the sphere of the behavioral norms of man, which he either does or does not observe. “When We insist on the usefulness of a moral life,” the Living Ethics says, “We primarily protect the main laws of the Universe.”21

The first place among the Great Laws of the Cosmos is taken by the law of duality, which has already been mentioned.

The Great Law of energetic and informational exchange should be recognized at all levels of the Cosmos as one of the most important laws, directly related to cosmic evolution and its particular features. According to this law, the energy of the human spirit is one of the main motivating powers of cosmic evolution and its work in creating.

In the process of energetic and informational exchange, the energetic systems that create not only the energetic flows that are necessary for evolution, but also very important sources of information of all kinds are formed and developed. Such energetic and informational exchange causes the progress of evolution and the improvement of phenomena and processes in the Cosmos itself. The process of exchange is eternal, it has no beginning or end.

“There is no calm in the Cosmos,” the Living Ethics’s Authors assert. “Everything is saturated with continuous currents. Energies move in waves, and those powers that are visibly destroyed ascend into new energies. When new currents supercede old agglomerates, then, indeed, a great exchange of energies takes place.”22

The Great Law of the Displacement of Energies is also linked to this. Energetic exchange on cosmic scales results in cardinal changes, and new energetic phenomena, higher in terms of their quality, appear. The Living Ethics determines this process in this manner: “When a new step is built, the cosmic-directed torrent displaces all agglomerates. The law of displacement and the law of construction are directed toward the same focus.”23

In addition to the above-mentioned Great Cosmic Laws, the law of the conservation and transformation of energy and the Great Law of the Cosmic Magnet constitute a group of laws that give us the possibility to call the new cosmic thinking an energetic world outlook. It should be noted that the law of the Cosmic Magnet corresponds in its physical essence to the law of gravitation, but in the Living Ethics, this law spreads across the energy of the spirit of man and across the worlds of different, higher states of matter, as well. The Cosmic Magnet energetically secures the spiritual existence of mankind, or, in other words, is a most important energetic structure, which can be called the source of the human spirit’s energy, acting in the system of the Great Law of Duality. If, for some reason, consciously or unconsciously, man excedes the space of energetic exchange with the Cosmic Magnet, he enters the system of unipolar physical existence. “Without being linked,” the Living Ethics says, “to the higher energies through the spirit, man, indeed, destroys his best possibilities. Only conscious acceptance of the existence of the Magnet, uniting the spirit with the higher energies can bring man closer to the law of the Cosmic Magnet.”24

The law of the Cosmic Magnet also determines the Great Law of the Higher Will and the Great Law of Cosmic Hierarchy. The first one governs, according to the Living Ethics, the entire Cosmos, firstly, the evolution of the spirit. The second regulates the processes related to the hierarchy of various states of matter, worlds, and energies. This hierarchical chain promotes cosmic evolution and its spiritual and cultural orientation.

The next group of Great Laws of the Cosmos is related to the worlds of a higher state of matter. Naturally, the following laws do not exhaust the whole diversity of the “legal field” of the Cosmos. The Great Law of the Unity of the Cosmos can be mentioned as one of the most important laws in this group. The Cosmos is a unity of countless and versatile worlds. These worlds, no matter at what level they may exist, are united by common energetic elements, firstly by the energy of the spirit, and make an integral system of the Universe in which its individual parts interact with each other. When, due to some reason, this kind of interaction stops, the worlds that detached themselves from this chain are destroyed physically and spiritually. “Mankind,” the Living Ethics says, “deprives itself of this truth, accepting the law of isolation. In contrast, the law of unity is indefeasible in all its diversity!

Only by virtue of this law is it possible to construct; for, when gravitation creates, unity lies in the power of action. The creation of the Cosmos is boundless in its unity!”25

Interaction, or collaboration between the worlds determines not only the right path of cosmic evolution, but also preserves the balance of existence that is necessary for these worlds. Not only energetics as such plays a great role in the interaction of the worlds, but human consciousness, its level, and its quality also play great roles. “Man himself unites the worlds with his consciousness,”26 the Living Ethics’s creators state.

Visible and invisible worlds; worlds of solid states of matter and of subtle ones; worlds of different dimensions, the numbers of which fade away into infinity; worlds of high vibrations of energetics and low vibrations – all of them as they interact require a certain correspondence and awareness of their balance and stability. The Great Law of Correspondence directs the collaboration and interaction of worlds in the manner that agrees with the main specific features of cosmic evolution and its energetic development. The correspondence of worlds predetermines their unification in an integral system. “Correspondence among the worlds is an act of the establishment of solid foundations. The violation of this correspondence produces its consequence in each direction. Mankind, in giving preference to the visible world, alienated from itself the invisible worlds. Existing in the external world, man alienated himself from internal aspirations, which strain the spirit in their pursuits. [ . . . ] The invisible worlds manifest all of the powerful energies.”27

Such Great Laws as the law of the cyclic character of the Cosmos’s development, the law of harmony, the law of cosmic ascent, the law of cause and effect relationships, and a number of others determine the distinctive energetic features of the Cosmos’s development and the laws of its evolution.

The Great Law of the Counteraction of the Non-manifested reveals to us the essence of the antithesis “Cosmos – chaos,” those two elements that are in constant opposition to each other. Their interaction, according to the Living Ethics, has dialectical, contradictory character. On the one hand, chaos supplies, if it can be put this way, the material for the creation of the Cosmos, and, on the other hand, in striving toward the expansion of its space, it counteracts this creation. On the one hand, one element supplements the other, and on the other hand, one tries to swallow the other in the eternal struggle. This counteraction of the non-manifested and the manifested takes various concrete forms: the opposition of light and darkness, good and evil, order and disorder, etc. The opposition of the non-manifested and the Cosmos’s work in creating takes place at all its levels, and man plays a highly important role in this extremely complicated process. His internal world becomes the main arena of the opposition, and the outcome of the struggle between the Cosmos and chaos in this space decides the fate of the Cosmos, determines its further development, its future evolution. The Great Law of two elements, male and female, plays an important role in such an opposition. The higher and the more subtle the matter of these elements is, the less express is their differentiation. The lower and the more solid the matter is, the more differentiated these elements are, the rougher is their interaction. The polarity of the elements results in powerful energetic processes that serve as the basis for constructive creation at various levels of cosmic matter.

The last group of the Great Laws is related to man as such and to his place in cosmic evolution. Three of them have a special significance. The Great Law of Free Will gives the opportunity to understand the main essence of man as a cosmic entity. “Free will,” the Living Ethics states, “remains a distinctive feature of man.”28 Free will imposes on man a truly cosmic responsibility, which is reflected in both small and big things. The “Cosmic law” provided to man a possibility to choose and, consequently, to make decisions at any and all levels. “Either – or” is the alternative that man is constantly facing and that is settled by him in accordance with the level of his consciousness, morality, and understanding of those goals and tasks that cosmic evolution sets before him. Free will is an instrument and means that man possesses as a co-participant and collaborator in cosmic creation. This instrument, depending on who possesses it, can be constructive or destructive. With its help, the opportunities that have crucial character not only for man himself, but for the planet as a whole and even for distant worlds can be used. Man’s awareness of the power of the free will that is given to him can lead to the right choice; lack of understanding of this quality can tell in a most destructive way, firstly, on man himself. The free will of an ignorant, narrow-minded, egotistical man can become a dangerous tool for the world surrounding this man.

The Great Law of the Expansion of Consciousness in a way creates the prerequisites for man’s correct use of his own free will. The higher the level of an individual’s consciousness is, the more constructive is its free will, and vice versa. This law concerns all aspects of human activity, and, primarily, it concerns man as the subject of cosmic evolution. The process of the expansion of consciousness forms the core of his work as a creator, his thought, his ability to cognize the surrounding reality and to see the reality of the Cosmos. The expansion of consciousness, which appears in the process of the energetic and informational exchange of an individual with the Cosmos as a whole, is the main means for the evolution of man, a pledge for his improvement, achievements, and spiritual and cultural change. The process of cognition and comprehension of the Universe is also related to the expansion of consciousness, which is regulated by the Great Cosmic Law. “The conditions for new scientific achievements,” the Living Ethics states, “must correspond to the requirements of the future. If scientists understood that the phenomenon of the constant expansion of mentality lies at the basis of the expansion of the sciences, there would be no criminal antagonism. For we do not want to overthrow their achievements, but to expand them. Any scientist who understands the law of the expansion of consciousness, has already broken the wall of prejudice.”29

Science and non-science, the natural and the supernatural lie in the domain of the expansion of consciousness. Each step of such a process changes man’s point of view on the surrounding reality, clarifying today something that was not clear yesterday. The whole history of science, its achievements and discoveries, moves along the landmarks of the expansion of consciousness. And usually, any such step or landmark is accompanied by the opposition of narrow, undeveloped consciousnesses, the carriers of which, especially at the beginning, prove to be much greater in number than are the carriers of an expanded mentality.

The Great Law of Spiritual Transformation through Beauty connects the earthly work of creation with worlds of higher states of matter; its action is an example of extremely complicated energetic and informational exchange along the vertical “the earthly – the superterraneous.”

The specter of the understanding and perception of Beauty in our solid world is wide and limitless. Each individual has its own world of Beauty (if any, of course). Beauty carries in itself subtle- and high-vibration energetics; it is not only a most important factor in the evolution of mankind, but also it is the embodiment of the creating power of the Cosmos as such. It appears in the mysterious realm of the Cosmic Magnet, where, in a boundless ocean of energies, countless forms of various states of matter appear and fall apart. And only Beauty renders to them stability and evolutionary completion. The Cosmic Magnet itself creates and acts according to the strict laws of Beauty. All cosmic dictates correspond to Beauty, all manifested forms carry in themselves its energetics. Beauty, containing the harmony of energetics, turns chaos into Cosmos at all levels, starting from worlds of different states of matter and finishing with the spirit of man, which it endows with the ability to create the most important thing in his life: Culture, the existence of which, without Beauty, is impossible.

The Russian philosopher of genius Pavel Florensky, who died in the camps of the GULAG (the Chief Concentration Camps Department) at the peak of his creative powers and talent, defined Beauty in this way: “Beauty is Beauty and is understood as Life, as Creation, as Reality.”30

Reality, a notion introduced by Florensky into the definition of Beauty, is the symbol of that deep and innermost element, without which it would not be able to exist, but which remains for many people still unperceived and incomprehensible. For, Beauty itself is that mysterious sigh of other being, from which it pours into the depths of our solid matter that Light without which neither the evolution of this matter, nor its transformation into the energy of the spirit would be possible.

The energetic and informational exchange between worlds of different states of matter is characterized, if it can be put this way, by bidirectional movement: from the upper downward and from the lower upward, and it forms an energetic circulation in which all energetic structures of the Cosmos participate, from microcosm to macrocosm. Infinity directs its energetic waves from distant shores to ours, shifts them and changes them, carries in itself a diversity of forms, sounds, and Light. Some forms manifest themselves today, and tomorrow they already disappear into non-being, others are born in mysterious timelessness to acquire for short moments the sought time and space. Everything is spiritualized, everything thinks, breathes, creates, destroys, but steadily ascends along luminous spirals upward, to where different worlds of incomprehensible states of matter and endless numbers of its dimensions glimmer.

The problems of Beauty are very closely related, first of all, to art. True art is always evolutionary. A generic relationship with the Higher and with the invisible determines its anticipatory character. That is why spiritual revolutions start with a new world perception, primarily, in art, with a new understanding of the phenomenon of Beauty. The Spiritual Revolution of the 20th century in Russia is a vivid example of this.

Through true art, in living by the laws of Beauty, the energetics of Higher worlds is cast in the process of energetic exchange into solid shapes of the earthly world.

Pieces of true art give to the one contemplating them the energy of fire, which makes his spirit high and his consciousness expanded. In other words, the process of energetic exchange takes place between the work and the man, or, as P. Florensky believed, the enrichment of man through special “vibrations of the soul.”31

The appearance of a great Master always involves the energetic work of a number of generations of mankind that participate in the process of energetic and informational exchange. A Great Master is the evolutionary peak of such exchange. His work as a creator is conceived somewhere on a very subtle verge connecting different worlds with ours, on a verge that will later reflect through light or thought the beauty of those worlds in a work of art.

In the 20th century, the art of Russia tread a complicated path from symbolic art to the art of cosmic reality, and it acted as a forerunner of the new cosmic world perception. A symbol appears in an artist’s inner world and carries in itself the essence of other being. Passing through the solid matter of the earthly world, the symbol acquires the status of an image, which the artist incorporates into a work of art. It is such images that constitute the informational part of the energetic exchange between the worlds. And the fact that this image, in passing through the artist’s internal world, becomes more solid and yielding to deciphering in the earthly world shows that it is through art that extremely precious cosmic information is conveyed. A symbol-image of true art as if combines two worlds: the invisible and the manifest, the subtle and the solid, the Higher and the lower. The symbol itself, its image and form, belongs to the solid world that is manifested in objects, but its energetics carries the quality of the invisible Higher world. Two worlds, two states of matter, two various qualities of energetics meet and live in a symbol. This is its energetic peculiarity, this determines the beauty of its image. The difficult path of earthly beauty, led by a mysterious and secret process of energetic and informational exchange in the depths of the Cosmos, lies in this twofold character of a symbol.

This feature of art, corresponding to the laws of Beauty, gives us the possibility of considering it as one of the methods for the cognition of reality, like science, philosophy, and various spiritual systems.

But symbolic art did not become the final achievement of Beauty under earthly conditions. The 20th century also proved to be a critical period in this respect. The expansion of consciousness and high success of energetic and informational exchange led art along the way of the comprehension of the high realms of other being, the subtler energetics of Beauty. In other words, leaving aside symbols, the Beauty of the real Cosmos glanced at us from artistic creations. The art of artists-cosmists and the creators of new Beauty provided mankind with new possibilities for its evolution, its spiritual transformation. But mankind’s movement toward a new real world turned out to be not so simple. Many difficulties arose along this path, largely, difficulties related to the insufficient level of mentality, which still did not correspond to that energetic evolutionary process that developed on this planet at the beginning of the last century. The spiritual transformation of man has since the dawn of time taken place in struggle and opposition.

“Indeed, pearls of art,” the creators of the Living Ethics assert, “give ascent to mankind, and, indeed, the lights of spiritual creation give to mankind a new understanding of beauty.”32

At the end of the 19th century, the great Russian philosopher V. Soloviev suggested the idea of theurgy and theurgic art, which comes from the Beauty of other being and transforms the human spirit. He asserted that it is through an artistic act that reality can be transformed, made energetically higher, and matter made less solid. Soloviev successfully combined in himself a philosopher and a poet, possessing, in addition, subtle intuition. His suppositions about the role of Beauty and art in the transformation of the human spirit were confirmed by the Great Cosmic Law of the Transformation by Beauty, conveyed to us by the Living Ethics system of cognition.

“In an artist-theurgist,” N. Berdiayv, another great Russian philosopher, confirmed, “the power of man over nature will be realized through beauty. For Beauty is a great power, and it will save the world.”33

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The methodology of the Living Ethics, relying on the Great Laws of the Cosmos, manifests a new system of cognition that is contained in this philosophy and corresponds to the specific features of the new thinking, its cosmic world perception. The anticipatory nature of this system determines those difficulties that arise along the path toward its understanding and recognition.

The important problems that are most closely connected with the cosmic evolution of mankind and its extrapolation into the processes developing in the solid, material world of the earthly realm can be considered from the point of view of the Living Ethics and the methodology of its system of cognition.

3. The historical process as a cosmic phenomenon

The Living Ethics asserts that everything that happens on earth is determined by the processes of cosmic evolution, its laws and its distinctive features. The same processes, and not the “means of production” or “production relations,” determine the historical process, the energetic cause of which lies in a very complicated gamut of cosmic interactions. Now it becomes obvious that the historical process developing on the planet has natural and cosmic character. To comprehend this character in its principal features means to correctly understand the regularities of the development of mankind in the past, to comprehend the goals of this development in the present, and to cognize prospects for our future.

The historical process, in which we to one or another extent participate, is one of the constituents of cosmic evolution. This process, like many others, is formed by the interaction of spirit and matter and is determined by its energetics. It is in the realm of the interaction of spirit and matter that lie the reasons for the heyday and decline of historical periods, which is directly related to the evolutionary processes of spiritualization and the refinement of matter and to the ways of the improvement of man himself, the peaks of his spiritual achievements and the abysses of his falls. “The subject of the global, historical fate of man,” N. Berdiayev wrote, “is the subject of the liberation of the human spirit (creator) from the bowels of natural necessity, from this natural dependence and enslavement by lower elemental powers.”34 In other words, the main contributor to the historical process is this interaction of the spirit, or the world of freedom, with matter, or the world of necessity. And evolution itself, striving for the expansion of the realm of the spirit, is directed toward freedom, the refinement of matter, and the increase in the quality of the energetics itself.

The Living Ethics’s Authors, due to their broad knowledge and ability to apply it on a cosmic scale, present an example of notable historians who are capable of both real historical projections and perspectival conclusions corresponding to past epochs. Nicholas Roerich was their talented disciple who studied the turning points in the fate of mankind. Such a point, preceding the present one, was the period of the first millennium before Christ, when the energetics of evolution pushed humanity to a new turn in its development, having changed its mentality and created the conditions for discoveries that were unanticipated by humanity before that time. Nicholas Roerich distinguished the most important points in this critical period, such as the great migrations of peoples, in which he, unlike orthodox historians, captured the rhythm of cosmic evolution. He saw in those movements intensive energetic exchange and the appearance of new energy that was necessary for further ascent. Ancient agricultural civilizations were dying, having spent their energy. The dynamic nomad world brought to mankind new, fresh blood, breathed into mankind the necessary powers. Something like that also happened in the 20th century CE, when masses of peoples moved from their comfortable perches using contemporary means of communication in unconscious thirst for the enhanced energetic exchange necessary for further evolutionary progress.

The earthly historical process started from mythology that carried in itself the initial points for this process, initiated by “other spiritual reality” (N. Berdiayev). But the “other spiritual reality” was governed by something higher, as were the rhythms of solar activity that were noticed and studied by A. Chizhevsky. This scientist wrote of “some extraterrestrial power” that had to regulate those rhythms. The Living Ethics qualifies that “extraterrestrial power” as the Cosmic Magnet, directing the rhythms of the energetics of the whole Universe. This idea includes the energetic structure of the spiritual Cosmos, which possesses a powerful quality to attract and distribute various energies. On this kind of magnet is based the whole mechanism of energetic exchange in the Cosmos. The Cosmic Magnet shows itself at all energetic levels, interacting with all energetic processes, and affects all aspects of cosmic being. Our Universe, itself a kind of aura of the Cosmic Magnet, lives and acts in the Magnet’s rhythm. This rhythm regulates the inflow and outflow of energies, the formation and disintegration of energetic forms, and the selection of the most stable of them. The conception and development of human consciousness is related to the Cosmic Magnet, and in the rhythm of this Magnet, man perceives what is called the dictate of the Cosmos, or God’s will, which induces man to perform one or another historical act. To comprehend the earthly historical process without taking into account its interactions with the rhythms of the Cosmic Magnet is just impossible. Those rhythms impact man’s contact with the worlds of different states of matter and different dimensions, the energetics of which in a most decisive way affect the cosmic evolution of mankind and mankind’s earthly being. The internal, underlying character of the interaction between man and such type of matter makes this interaction one of the most important, and sometimes decisive, factors in man’s life and activities, regardless of to what the latter refers. “History is given to us not from the outside,” N. Berdiayev stated, “but from the inside, and in the long run, in our perception of history, we construct it in greater dependence on and in greater relation to the inner states of our consciousness, its inner breadth and inner depth.”35

The neglect of this circumstance, no matter for what reason, ignorance or arrogance, kills the very heart of the philosophy of history, the spiritual essence of the process itself. Historians of traditional schools, especially those who represent old sociological thinking, only study the external part of the historical process, trying to find and determine its motivations in earthly being, and in revealing the causal essence, they do not take into account the energetic interactions taking place in the Cosmos, in which matter of a higher state and higher dimension is involved.

For the understanding of these points especially important are the studies of A. Chizhevsky, who by experimental methods came to the conclusion that the historical process is determined by the energetic activities of the Cosmos and that it is the Cosmos that contains the cause of this process. Having processed a great quantity of historical materials, the scientist captured a cosmic rhythm in human history and discovered regular eleven year cycles in it. Each such cycle consists of four periods, characterized by different levels in the energetics of human activity. The first period is passive. The second one is more active, in which the higher energetics is formed. In the third period, this energetics brings its results, and in this period main historical events, such as revolutions and the beginnings of new epochs, take place. The French Revolution and the October Revolution in Russia happened exactly in such periods. The fourth period is the time of the subsiding and fading of social and economic cataclysms, which preceeds the stabilization of humanity’s daily life.

A. Chizhevsky did not only capture the mysterious rhythms of the Cosmos, but also he intuitively sensed the laws of its energetic life, which are called in the Living Ethics the Great Laws of the Cosmos, without the knowledge of which it is impossible to cognize both the specific features of the historical process and the future contained in it.

N. Berdiayev saw in the historical process two merged currents: heavenly history and earthly history. Heavenly history is the cause of the earthly. The first impetus to earthly history was given by mythology, which contained energetic information about worlds of other dimensions. The most important phenomena related to the historical process have two kinds of aspects: the internal, causal, and the external, which contains the outcome. In other words, they have heavenly and earthly elements, as does the historical process itself. Especially clearly is this observed in such a phenomenon as freedom, in which the interaction of spirit and matter, the heavenly and the earthly, has decisive character for history as such. Freedom in itself is an energetic phenomenon of the higher worlds to which the spirit of man belongs. The level of the spiritual development of man is determined by the degree and quality of his comprehension of freedom. The principal developing of the spirit traverses the high path of freedom. It is “in the point” of freedom as an energetic phenomenon that the heavenly and the earthly contents of the historical process meet and cross. The interaction of internal freedom and external freedom, distinguished under our earthly conditions by its extremely complicated and contradictory nature, is one of the main distinctive features of the historical process and composes its philosophic contents.


1 P. Teyar de Chardin. Human Phenomenon. Мoscow, 1987. 175.

2 Infinity. 155.

3 J. L. Portillo.Quetzalcoatl. 68.

4 ibid., 35.

5 J. L. Portillo.Quetzalcoatl. 35.

6 P. Florensky.Imaginaries in Geometry. 69.

7 The Letters of Helena Roerich. Riga, 1940. v. 1. 446.

8 Hierarchy. 146.

9 Infinity. 108.

10 Leaves of Morya’s Garden. The Call. 1 Feb. 1923.

11 K. Kedrov.Parallel Worlds. 38.

12 The Letters of Helena Roerich. Riga, 1940. v. 2. 330.

13 The Letters of Helena Roerich. v. 2. 422–423.

14 The Letters of Helena Roerich. v. 1. 445–446.

15 The Letters of Helena Roerich. v. 2. 288.

16 Infinity. 46.

17 Infinity. 298.

18 qtd. in: K. Kedrov.Parallel Worlds. 119.

19 Fiery World. III, 264.

20 The Letters of Helena Roerich. v. 2. 329.

21 Brotherhood. II, The Superterraneous. 350.

22 Infinity. 143.

23 Infinity. 686.

24 Infinity. 136.

25 Infinity. 448.

26 Fiery World. III, 209.

27 Fiery World. III, 246.

28 Brotherhood. 524.

29 Infinity. 827.

30 P. Florensky.Selected Studies on Art. Мoscow, 1996. 294.

31 see: P. Florensky.Selected Studies on Art. 315.

32 Hierarchy. 359.

33 N. Berdiayev.The Philosophy of Creation, Culture, and Art. Мoscow, 1994. v. 1. 239.

34 N. Berdiayev.The Essence of History. Мoscow, 1990. 87.

35 N. Berdiayev.The Essence of History.. 20–21.