VI. The Principle of Polarity


The Rosicrucians teach that there are Seven Cosmic Principles present and operating throughout the Cosmos, and extending even to its smallest activities. The sixth cosmic principle is called: The Principle of Polarity.

The Principle of Polarity manifests that universal fact of “the pairs of opposites,” or “the antinomies,” which is apparent in all the manifested world, from its highest to its lowest manifestation. The spirit of this principle was expressed in the ancient occult axiom: “Everything has its Opposite, which is the other pole of its manifestation.”

The Principle of Polarity may be stated as follows: “All phenomena manifest polarity, or opposite and contrasted sets of qualities, properties, or powers, operating in opposite and contrasted directions.” The ancient philosophers made this one of the chief features of their teachings, under the name of “The Opposites,” “The Pairs of Opposites,” or “The Antinomies,” according to the usage of the respective schools. They held that every phenomenal thing possesses and manifests these pairs of opposite qualities, properties, and powers. They also held that each and every set of polarized opposites constitutes a unity consisting of a reconciliation and balancing of the opposing poles. They also held that every phenomenal thing, itself, is one of a pair of polarized opposites which, together, constitute a greater unity; and so on, either to infinity or until the opposites find final reconciliation and harmony in an Infinite Reality.

The simplest and yet the most characteristic of the many examples and illustrations of Polarity is seen in the presence and activity of the two opposite and contrasting poles of the magnet—the positive and negative poles. The magnet is one—a unity consisting of a balance and a reconciliation of the two opposing poles and their respective activities

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and powers. The illustration is typical, and fully illustrates the general principle.

We may see evidences of Polarity in any direction toward which we may turn in our search. There is always an up and a down; a top and a bottom; a. high and a low; a right and a left; a forward and a backward. There is always a past and a future; a now and a then; a before and an after; a day and a night; a time and an eternity. There is always a fast and a slow; a motion and a rest; a hot and a cold; a good and a bad; a light and a dark; a conscious and an unconscious; an active and an inactive; an involution and an evolution; an analysis and a synthesis; a thesis and an antithesis; a male and a female; a positive and a negative; a youth and an age; a health and a disease; a building-up and a tearing-down; a birth and a death; a coming and a going; a life and a death; material and an immaterial; a heavy and a light; an abstract and a concrete; a long and a short; a broad and a narrow; a large and a small; a north and a south; an east and a west; a love and a hate; a courage and a fear; a faith and a doubt; a belief and a disbelief; a truth and an error; and so on, ad infinitum.

Whenever we see a phenomenal quality, property or characteristic, a state or a condition, we are fully justified in assuming the existence of an opposite to it, which opposite thing will be found to act in the opposite and contrasted direction to it. This is an infallible and invariable rule of phenomenal existence.

In case the opposite of a thing is not known to us, because it has not as yet been discovered by or made known to us, nevertheless in such case we are fully justified in ascribing to the unknown opposite

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the qualities and characteristics diametrically opposed to the known opposite. The rule is this: “Whatever is affirmed of one of a pair of opposites must be denied to the other”; and “whatever is denied to the one, must be affirmed of the other.” So true and infallible is this rule that it may be applied and employed as the basis of logical reasoning from the known to the unknown, for the purpose of discovering the latter.

One of the most surprising features of this discovery is that we finally perceive that the two contrasting sets of qualities are really but two aspects or phases of the whole thing—the real thing, or thing in itself—the unity of the two, instead of being two separated and distinct things. Or, stating it in other words, we discover that the two opposing sets of characteristics are merely relative to each other, and together form a correlated unity and balanced whole.

As an illustration of the fact just stated, we may consider the two opposites known as Hot and Cold, respectively; surely there can be no two qualities apparently more distinct and separate from each other—more diametrically different from each other. But careful examination shows us that the two contrasting things are really but degrees, conditions, and states of the same thing. There is no such thing as an “absolute hot,” or an “absolute cold.” There are merely different degrees of this Hot-Cold pair of opposites, which for convenience we call “Heat.” We cannot point out a place on the thermometer where Hot ceases and Cold begins, or vice versa. The two states or conditions blend into each other, and any statement regarding them is found to be merely comparative. If we place one hand in a

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bowl of very hot water, and the other in a bowl of ice-cold water, and then suddenly withdraw both hands and plunge them into a bowl of lukewarm water, what happens d Simply this, that we find that the hot-water hand feels a sensation of coolness, while the cold-water hand feels a sensation of heat—each experience resulting from the comparison with the previous experience.

We may consider the emotional states of Love and Hate as another illustration of the same principle; surely these two emotions seem irreconcilable and impossible to harmonize. But let us see! At the one end of the emotional scale of Love-Hate we find intense love, then descending on the scale we find varying and gradually lessening degrees of love. Then we find the balanced point of indifference, which seems to be neither love nor hate, but which in reality is the subtle balancing of the two emotions. Then descending the scale we find a faint degree of aversion or dislike; then a series of gradually increasing degrees of dislike, until finally real hate is met with, and so on until we reach the degree of intense and extreme hate. Yet all are seen to be but degrees on the same emotional scale of Love-Hate.

Sometimes there is a rapid change and shift on the scale of the opposites. Love is quickly transmuted to hate; the best friends and most ardent lovers become the bitterest enemies. And, on the other hand, persons who originally detest each other frequently become ardent lovers after a time; and old enemies, when reconciled, frequently become the closest friends. The swing is often as far in one direction as was its former swing in the opposite direction. Up changes to down, as the earth revolves; and hot becomes cold when the vibrations

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are changed. This also applies to hard and soft, tenuous and solid, etc., the conditions depending entirely upon the rate of vibrations and relative positions of the particles of the matter of which the things are composed. Moreover, constant emphasis or activity of one opposite frequently leads to a manifestation of the other opposite. We often fly to the other extreme of feeling and action, when we have over-emphasized the former emotional states. We get tired and disgusted with one set or condition of things, and feel a desire to fly to the opposite condition or set. Too much of a good thing often causes us to dislike it. Likewise, if we travel far enough west, we finally reach the extreme east, and vice versa. If we travel far enough north, we pass the pole and find ourselves proceeding south. At the North Pole, no matter in what direction we may travel, we always find ourselves travelling south; while at the South Pole, we can travel north only, no matter which way we may step out.

The discovery that “opposites are identical,” in the sense of being but the two contrasting poles of the same thing, opens up a wonderful field of mastery to the occultist who has acquainted himself with the law of Polarization, in its phases of Transmutation and Balance.

The understanding of the Principle of Polarity enables the occultist to transmute one mental state into another, along the lines of Polarization. Things belonging to different classes cannot be transmuted into each other, but the opposing poles of the same thing may be so changed—that is, may have a change in their polarity effected and thus be transmuted one into the other. Thus, love can never become east or west, or red or violet; but love may be changed into

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hate, or hate into love, by a shifting of polarity. Courage may be transmuted into fear, or fear into courage; hard may be changed into soft, dull into sharp, hot into cold, and so on, the transmutation always being between things of the same kind. The fearful man may shift his polarity and by thus changing his emotional vibrations may become filled with courage. Likewise, the slothful man may shift his polarity into activity and energetic action. The key lies in the fact that in this process of transmutation there is not an actual change of one thing into another distinct thing, but rather a shifting of the centre of polar force from one extreme of the scale to the other, just as one would shift the carriage of his typewriter from 1 to 70, or change the focus of an opera glass.

A writer on the subject has said of this particular point: “In addition to the changing of one’s own mental states by the operation of the art of Polarization, the principle may be extended so as to embrace the phenomena of the influence of one mind over that of another, of which so much has been written and taught of late years. When it is understood that Mental Induction is possible, that is that mental states may be produced by ‘induction’ from those of other persons, then we can see how readily a certain rate of mental vibrations, or polarization of a certain mental state, may be communicated from one person to another, and the polarity of the second person be changed accordingly. It is along these lines that many excellent results of ‘mental treatment’ are obtained, though the practitioner may not understand the nature of the principle he is using. For instance, a person is ‘blue,’ melancholy, depressed in spirits, and full of fear. A mental

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scientist bringing his own mind up to the desired vibration, by means of his own will which thus produces the desired polarization in his own case, then by induction communicates these polarized vibrations to the mind of the patient, the result being that the patient’s emotional states are converted from the negative polarization to the positive. A knowledge of the existence of this great occult principle will enable the occultist to better understand his own mental states, and those of other people. He will see that these states are all matters of degree, and seeing thus he will be able to raise or lower his mental and emotional vibrations at will—to change his mental poles, and thus be a master of his emotions instead of being a slave to them. And by his knowledge he will be able to aid his fellow men intelligently, and by appropriate methods change their mental and emotional polarization when the same is desirable.”

In concluding our consideration of the Principle of Polarity, we ask the student to study carefully the following words written by one who has a knowledge of the great subject of Balance, the art of which consists in finding the Centre between the Two Extremes, and thus maintaining a Poise and Balance which is undisturbed by any mental or emotional storm. This writer says:

“Poise is Power. Poise results from Balance. Balance is secured by adjusting and maintaining the Centre between the Poles of the Pairs of Opposites. By Balanced Poise the Master neutralizes Polarity and Rhythm, by resolving them into Unity. In the Heart of the Storm is Peace. In the Centre of Life there is Poise and Power. Seek it ever, O Neophyte—for in it thou shalt find thyself. The foregoing

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sentences compose the substance of an ancient arcane aphorism, in which is contained the seed thought generated in the centuries of thought and experience of the arcane teachers. Do not pass it by because of its simplicity. Poised balance is the aim and goal of the arcane initiates. It is the secret of mastery. There is always a centre of everything. But the centre exists only because of the existence of the circumference. There is always a point or poise between the poles of every pair of opposites. But that point exists only because the extremes exist. And in the central point is always found the power of the whole event or thing. In the centre of gravity of the earth one would be able to remain in a position of perfect poise, unsupported except by the concentrated gravity of the whole earth. So nicely poised that a mere effort of the will would exert sufficient energy to propel him in any desired direction. The power of the opposites are concentrated at the central point. There all power is to be found, and there only. The axiom ‘Action and Reaction are equal’ indicates a central point in which lies the true lever which will move the whole. At the centre one is able to use action and reaction without being subject to either. The initiate strives to attain the state of equilibrium and absolute poise. He yearns to master the art of traversing the razor-edge of Life, balancing himself perfectly, like the trained mental athlete that he is, by means of the balancing-pole of the Opposites which he has firmly grasped. Pitting the Opposites one against the other—balancing law by law—the Master traverses the slender tightrope thread which separates the world of desire from the world of will. O Neophyte, in the Centre

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of Life shalt thou indeed find Poise and Power. In the Heart of the Storm shalt thou find Peace. In the Centre of the Cosmos shalt thou find THYSELF. He who finds the Centre of Himself, finds the Centre of the Cosmos. For, at the last, they are ONE!”

The student when confronted with questions and problems in which a choice is difficult by reason of the strong activity of both extremes of polarization—of both of the Pair of Opposites, is advised to seek out the Centre between the two opposing poles, and to stand firmly there, feeling assured that there, and there only is the place of peace, poise and power. In the one word “BALANCE” there is to be found the Secret of many, or most of the perplexing questions of Life. Seek ever, Poise and Balance, and you will have Power and Peace!

The further the student penetrates in his investigations along the lines of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual, the more will he become convinced of the truth of the ancient occult axiom that “Everything has its Opposite, which is the other pole of its manifestation.”

Excerpt from: The Secret Doctrine of the Rosicrucians, by Magus Incognito, [1918], at