Perfume of truth. About The Message Rediscovered
Lanza del Vasto
The conspiracy of the imbeciles, the charlatans and the sages has succeeded to perfection. The object of this conspiracy was to conceal the truth.
Each one has served this great cause, each according to his means: the imbeciles by means of ignorance, the charlatans by means of lying, the sages by means of secrecy. The imbeciles do not want the truth to be discovered. They suspect, instinctively, that it would disturb them. If it were shown to them they would avert their eyes; if it were placed in their hands they would let it fall; if they were forced to confront it face-to-face they would howl in horror and run and hide below ground.
The charlatans do not want the truth to be discovered, for it would ruin their artifices, impede their profit and show up their shame.
The sages who possess the truth do not want it to be discovered. They have always kept it hidden for four reasons.
The first is that they know that knowledge is power and they want to keep it away from the unworthy. For knowledge in the unworthy one becomes malice, power becomes public danger and plague. That is why the reserves of knowledge accumulated over millennia in the temples of Egypt remained inaccessible to him who had not passed through all the stages of purifications and tests. Later, the unknown philosophers, the noble travellers, the alchemists handed down to one another the rest of the mysterious heritage in the same way, that is, by word of mouth, or rather, by their presence and by example, in symbols and enigmas, and always under the seal of secrecy. If they lived in the intimacy of the formidable powers of nature, they made sure the irresponsible knew nothing about them.
Where are you, oh, sages who know how to remain silent? You deserve that all living beings proclaim their gratitude to you, oh, sages.
Oh, sages who knew how to remain silent, now we have learned the value of your prudence, the grandeur of your humility, the depth of your charity.
Now that the profane ones have taken it upon themselves to acquire science and to propagate it as much as they can, now that they glory in their discoveries with the same zeal with which you hid your own, we have seen the result.
But their science is so small, exterior, superficial, precarious and limited, and we already see the result.
The result is that they have poisoned the springs, mined the earth, tarnished the sky, disrupted and perverted the peoples, corrupted peace, dishonoured war, furnished the common man with so many instruments of destruction and oppression that the entire family of living beings is threatened, while this canker continues to progress.
The second reason for the sages to keep the truth hidden is that knowing is an operation of life and a way of being born. And nothing can be born without a casing. A casing of flesh or of bark, of earth or of mystery. A seed, if you open it, will germinate
no more; in a lizard, if you open it up to see what is inside, you will find only the remains of the corpse and not the inside of the lizard, which has gone, since the lizard is dead. Likewise, open, propagated, vulgarised science is dead science and the fruit of death. It is a desert of sand, and not a handful of seeds. It cannot be deepened, but only spread out, being exterior, and life escapes it. It cannot lead to the knowledge that is birth for oneself, nor to interior life. But the knowledge of the sages is an art of poetry that has the taste of joy and the breath of spirit. And like any living being, even a fly, it defends its form and refuses to spread itself.
The third reason for the sages to keep the truth hidden is their respect for the dignity of knowledge. They know it is the royal way that leads to the God of truth. It should lead to contemplation, to admiration of nature, to adoration of the creator.
It should bring light into souls, accuracy into thoughts, justice into acts. It should bring health and salvation. The sages have defended it as much as they could against vulgar men, for fear of it being diverted from its goal, denaturalised and debased, which is what vulgar men have not failed to do since they laid their hands on it. They have turned it upside down in using it. They put it to their use instead of serving it. It was here to deliver them from their desires and they have harnessed it to their tasks.
They have forced it to increase their possessions. It was here to give them awareness and they have made machines out of it. They have taken the ciborium and made a piggy bank out of it; they have taken the crucifix to make a bludgeon. They have harnessed science to their motors, they have imprisoned it in their bombs.
But the oh-so-shrewd ones have been caught up in their own traps, they have let themselves be snatched in the gearing of the machine. Now, it clips them gently in times of peace, and devours them in great mouthfuls in times of war. The sages did all they could to avoid that.
The fourth reason for the sages to keep the truth hidden is that they love the truth, and that there is no love without modesty, that is, without a veil of beauty. This is why they do not want to uncover it but to reveal it, that is, to cover it with a luminous veil. Thus, they have taught it only by way of parables, so that those who have ears that are tuned in keep away, but equally so that those who deserve it learn the tones and the keys of the total music. For their allegories, their fables, their blazons do not explain the mechanical linking up of appearances, but rather the secret affinities and analogies of powers and virtues, the corresponding of numbers with sounds, of figures with laws, of water with plants, woman and the soul, of fire with lions and armed men, with the spirit, of the stars with the eyes, with flowers, with crystals of metals and gems, of the germination of gold in the mines with that of truth in the heart of man. In their obscure texts, where the recipes of Great Art are interspersed with pious warnings, the solemn sentences with cries of wonder and prayers, gleam the threads that weave the mantle of the king of kings. The sages having scrupulously hidden their knowledge, the charlatans took advantage to hide their ignorance under the same mysterious signs. The imbeciles confused them for a long time, believing in one and another.
But now there has emerged, halfway between the charlatans and the imbeciles, a new species that ensures the definitive triumph of the conspiracy.
This new species is that of the academics and official scholars. On the day of their arrival, they declared the philosophal mystery invalid; chimera, the research of the ancient masters; child's play, their science; a hoax, their art. The imbeciles instructed by the new scholars have once again confused the sages and the charlatans, but this time they do not believe in either of them.
They believe in nothing but the science of the newly-arrived ones, who teach simply that the truth is in their science and that everything they cannot discover or demonstrate does not exist.
But they have neither taught nor discovered nor demonstrated anything about life and death, sin and judgement, about love, pain and redemption, about the behaviour of man and the destiny of the soul, about sense, essence and salvation. The more they discover new nebulas or new electrons, new vitamins or new explosives, the more they distance themselves and divert us from the essential. And now the truth is so well hidden that one no longer seeks it.
It would even be totally lost if some simple spirits for whom the truth exists did not survive. They cannot resign themselves into thinking that no-one possesses or has possessed it. They go around the world questioning people, interrogating the stars and the grasses, interrogating the great book of nature and leafing through forgotten texts, interrogating their heart and God in prayer. They know they do not have the truth, but they know that it is. They are so hungry and thirsty for it that they are able to follow its trail and recognize its scent. Before a defamed man, before an absurd event, before a piece of illegible scrawl, they stop dead and cry:
Here it is!
They shall savour this book. It is for them that it is written, even though their brotherhood be few in number.
And you, Cattiaux my friend, have you found the stone?
Sitting in the workshop where you paint and meditate among filters and flasks, have you found the carbuncle and the violet?
Sitting between your wife and your cat, Cattiaux my friend, have you found the living gold and the elixir?
Have you visited the interiors of the earth, and rectifying it, found the secret jewel and the true medicine?
I do not know and I cannot say if the substance of the ancient texts is hidden in these pages. But how is it that one finds the perfume in them?
In what egg and in what still Cattiaux my friend, have you distilled the subtle essence that is called the perfume?
Whence comes this poetry whose name is perfume of truth.
Lanza del Vasto