An Extended Scientist Look at Esoteric Knowledge


Chris Thomson


I imagine that I am an extended scientist. Therefore, I assume the following:

  • I have a worldview in which consciousness is primary, the cosmos is an undivided whole, I am part of that whole, and that we are spiritual beings temporarily in physical bodies
  • In my scientific explorations I use the whole range of sensing and knowing (i.e my consciousness). And I am in continual training to improve the quality of my consciousness

Here are some questions that I think extended science would ask of esoteric knowledge…

What is “esoteric knowledge”?

To the best of my knowledge, there is no widely accepted consensus on this. Although the term itself suggests “knowledge for the few”, this applies to any speciality, such as branches of mathematics, keyhole surgery, computer hacking, the history of the Canary Islands, and so on. I have always found it helpful to think of it as knowledge of the world and the human being that science is unable or unwilling to explore.

Why does science not explore esoteric knowledge?

Here are some possible reasons:

  • Not many scientists know about it
  • It is discredited, because it says things that, according to science, cannot be true
  • It also tends to get discredited because there is a lot of conjecture and wishful thinking about it
  • Scientists are convinced that their way, and only their way, is the path to truth
  • It is not readily accessible to those who rely almost exclusively on their physical senses and their rational mind
  • It is, in any event, relatively impenetrable, because of it concepts and its language

Why is esoteric knowledge important?

I can think of several reasons:

  • Some of the most evolved people in human history say that it is true and important
  • The promise it holds – that the world and ourselves are deeper and richer than the pictures painted by science
  • A lot of people are attracted to it. There must be good reasons for this
  • My own experience of reading and practising tells me that it is important
    Where is esoteric knowledge to be found?There seem to be several classes of source:
  • Original texts – this includes some very old literature from India, Egypt and China, as well as some channellings, such as Alice Bailey
  • Modern interpretations – primarily Helena Blavatsky and Rudolf Steiner, although there are others
  • Oral teachings – e.g. from a master
  • The Akashic Records
  • Direct revelation – this can be “accidental”, it just happens, or it can come after some form of training in consciousness

Can you think of any other sources?

How do check that esoteric knowledge is true?

I can think of at least two ways of approaching these questions. The first, and by far the most common way is just to trust some people or some texts. This is what most people do. They become followers of such and such a person or such and such a body of literature. This may work for some, but it is hardly scientific. The scientific way is the second approach, which is to find ways to check esoteric “facts” directly for oneself, by experiencing them, and then to compare these experiences with others who are doing the same. This is what scientists already do. And it is what Steiner advocated, for example. In essence, he said: “Don’t take my word for it. Check for yourself.” And to make this possible, he laid out a methodology in “How to Know Higher Worlds” and “A Guidance in Esoteric Training”. Of course, he was not the only one. Other forms of esoteric training are also available. However, the fact is that very few people put themselves through such a training. This is no doubt because it takes a lot of time and commitment, but probably also because there are few places to put the results of the training, once you have completed it. You certainly cannot take it into science or academia or into any modern institution! Effectively, you become an outsider, and that is not comfortable. You may see and “know” a lot more than the norm, but you cannot say it. More accurately, you can say it, but run the risk of being pushed even farther outside.

Where does esoteric knowledge overlap with science?

I ask this question because it could be one way of helping to bridge the gulf between science and esoteric knowledge, by showing that they have much in common. Rudolf Hauschka tried to do this in his “The Nature of Substance”, which is, in effect, an esoteric chemistry. Goethe tried to do it in his work on the urpflanze. I am sure there are other examples that I do not know about. Meanwhile, there are quite a few scientists say that quantum physics suggests that:

  • The cosmos is a non-locally connected, undivided whole
  • And that mind (or consciousness, if you prefer) may be primary, rather than being a product of matter

Esoteric knowledge has been saying these things for a very long time.