Looking-Glass House

Studies in Alice XIII, by Marc Edmund Jones

This lesson considers the first chapter of Through the Looking Glass and the thirteenth great principle of wisdom in the Philosophy of Concepts as revealed through the adventures of Alice is that actuality is the function of present constitution. This is the familiar occult and metaphysical insistence on the supremacy of the here and now and the equally familiar affirmation of the possibility of conscious control of all circumstances and contributing factors of life. Nevertheless the principle is more scientific fact than philosophical theory and for that reason its exact demonstration on the one hand and its slow but steady growth into general popular acceptance on the other is to be noted in the practical world of every day rather than in the field of abstract thought. This is correct and proper because the function of philosophy both academic and occult is to direct and guide thought and understanding rather than to create it and in the Philosophy of Concepts the aspirant is sent out into the world constantly for proof and practice of his understanding. The principle of actuality will be found in many forms throughout the lessons in all these series, and already in the present course the foundation of everything in the familiar has been stressed several times. What is important at the beginning of this second half of the Alice studies is realization of the unity in identity of all familiar things whether philosophic or scientific, ideative or matter of fact and theoretical or practical. In metaphysical study the here and now is a realization, and actuality in life is gained through inner comprehension made effective through the attitude of man toward life and its affairs. In scientific study the same actuality is gained through demonstration of the extension of reality in time and space. This is the point brought out particularly in the second paragraph of the eighth lesson when reality in any center is shown to be increased by the tying of all other things thereto in terms of both duration and relationship.

Here is the principle of consciousness or actual awareness in and through gradation of reality. While reality exists beyond comparison with any separation from itself it is nevertheless manifest in successive revelations of itself by grades of contrast with the separation in illusion that creates it for the one to whom it is known in a semblance of gradation. It is always different beyond the seen and the known. To the reality that is, the greater reality obviously is unreal or different and because of this fact the element of simple or abstract difference has been stressed through realms of spiritual development for untold millennia. Even the orthodox Christian of supposedly universal faith is exhorted to be different from his fellows. The symbolism of the first chapter of Looking Glass is interesting therefore in its portrayal of the subjective realm just beyond. Those things that could be seen through the glass are merely reversed and this is naturally the first stage in evolution of higher understanding. An aspirant restrains rather than indulges his appetites. He enhances his consciousness at night at the expense of his daily awareness. He tries to interest himself most in what the world regards as of least importance as in taking up obscure causes to champion and so on. But as Alice realizes immediately the reversing of yessing lower domain of the subconscious is the least interesting, and she hastens to investigate the just-beyond-realm that marks an actual and real extension of consciousness. Here everything is alive and is not so much an actuated reflection as a self-actuating reality. When the aspirant learns not to look to spiritual things with the idea of seeing or knowing them in terms of comprehension projected or reflected from the plane of lower being, then and then only is he able to build up subjective reality independent of physical self. So far as Alice is concerned the journey through the looking glass is brought about by her play with the kitten. Astrologically this is suggestive, since Leo rules the seat of the ego, but fundamentally it is Alice's contribution to self-actuating life on the lower physical plane that opens the gate to the higher or wholly self-actuating subjective realm. As man here and now can create what will live and persist of itself, so does he become in fact a creator or a group spirit enabled to enter Looking Glass House.

The achievement of imagination in the chapter, or the thirteenth great scientific anticipation, is the revelation of the practical operation of the fourth dimension. This is the scientific method in an accounting for the unknown, and it is not only logical and satisfying to the most rigorous dictates of reason but it is known to the occultist to be correct because of the investigation possible to him with superphysical faculties. To gain the idea it is necessary to take a dimensional step backward in imagination and to visualize a world in which only two dimensions exist. A number of quite clever stories have been based on this conceit. In Flatland, as one writer terms this realm, there is no possible sensual cognition of separation from the plane surface on which two-dimensional life takes place and it is necessary for individuals to maneuver around and jockey for position on this plane surface in a manner paralleled by an automobile that must pass around all obstacles.

If a three-dimensional being should lift a two-dimensional individual over an obstruction and replace him on a plane surface of cognition on the other side, this phenomenon to Flatland individuals including the one so lifted would be a disappearance or temporary annihilation followed by a reappearance or a most baffling magic. The present-day space conceptions of science show the boundaries of our existence to be dimensional and to deal with cognition. Therefore magic is seen at least to mark not a transcendence of natural law but a transcendence of the ordinary limitations of cognition and hence it is explainable.

The symbolism of an invisible Alice playing fourth dimension to the poor three-dimensional chess pieces is fascinating, as in Alice's own astral flight down the stairs. Throughout this opening chapter there are strange transpositions of reality as in the pieces climbing the fender and sliding down the poker. All cognition is in terms of an individual's own reality and while he cannot project mundane reality into subjective realms without gaining but a senseless echo of a lower in a higher reality where this is not real, yet it is equally true that the interpretation of higher experiences to the lower realm or being must be in terms of the latter's reality. Thus the invisible Alice was a volcano to the queen, and the fender and poker remained fender and poker to Alice when the pieces referred to them. Thus the reality in words and things is placed in them by the cognizing agency but subjective reality is apart from the words and the things it interprets.

The law of applied psychology, or the thirteenth big idea for the solution of personal problems, is brought out in the technique of any self-expression above the pure habitual state. The activity of the subliminal self is seen symbolized by Alice showing the actuality of compulsion from the invisible. Men are disinclined to recognize what they send forth when it returns to them, but Lewis Carroll's foreshadowing of automatic writing shows excellently the impression on consciousness invited by the king and also the mischievousness in this forced or nonindividualized consciousness or the regal chess piece. The student must learn to FORGET IT, because the idle harping on things in consciousness merely gives power to the caprice of the group intelligence.