Monday, March 19, 2012

The Curious Case, etc. III

Summum Bonum Amen Ra’s SUMMUM: Sealed Except to the Open Mind finally appeared in 1988, 13 years after his first meeting with the extraterrestrials. It sets forth the Summum philosophy in 18 chapters, an Introduction, and, in the e-book version, an Epilogue, all in just 126 pages. As of this writing, it’s available in hardcover, courtesy of Amazon, for $499.94 (used: $450). It can also be downloaded for $1.62; those who are neither believers nor rare book collectors can choose to read it on a Kindle, a computer screen, or an iPad.

Amen Ra begins with an acknowledgement of one Anu Aua’s aid in editing and structuring the book and in making the information online-ready. In the Introduction, he dedicates the book to the Summa Individuals, after which he advises the seeker that SUMMUM is “a master key which may open the many esoteric doors to Creation.” Continuing on, the reader learns that “Recorded history is replete with masters, Adam, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Christ, and Mohammed having been taught by the angelic beings.” The Principles set forth in the book, he tells us, “are the basic underlying foundation of all existence.” Then comes a bold, even presumptuous, statement: “The student of comparative religion will be able to perceive the influence of the Eternal Principles in every known religion, whether it be a dead religion or a living one.”

In the first chapter, “The Summum Philosophy,” we come across such undocumented statements as: “All nations have borrowed from the inheritance of Egypt” (this explains, of course, the pyramid and the mummies) and “Even the teachings of the Gnostic and Early Christians drew their roots from the Summum Principles.”

What are these Summum Principles? They are the seven aphorisms, which are set forth in Chapter Three:
1. Psychokinesis: “SUMMUM is MIND; the universe is a mental creation.”
2. Correspondence: “As above, so below; as below, so above.”
3. Vibration: “Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”
4. Opposition: “Everything is dual; everything has an opposing point. . . .”
5. Rhythm: “Everything flows out and in; everything has its season. . . .”
6. Cause and Effect: “Every cause has its effect; every effect has its cause. . . .
7. Gender: “Gender is in everything; everything has its masculine and feminine principles. . . .”

Then there is the Epilogue. In this last part of the book, Corky Ra is referred to in the third person; on the last page we learn that the author of this end section is (Summum Bonum) Anu Aua—the same man who had helped Summum Bonum Amen Ra by editing and giving structure to the book. This Epilogue begins with a statement of the First Law of Thermodynamics (“Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only change from one form to another”), which is then tied to the concept of reincarnation, which in turn leads to a mention of Summum’s practice of Mummification and Transference—all in one short paragraph.

This is followed by a story about Ron Temu, a Southern California dockworker and Corky’s former college buddy who, starting in 1979, began making periodic pilgrimages to Salt Lake City to hear his old friend make presentations. “Around 1983,” the story goes, “Ron came across a book he found at the Bodhi Tree bookstore . . . in West Hollywood . . . called The Kybalion, by Three Initiates.” He bought it and read it that same day. “It complemented and confirmed the information he received at Corky’s presentations.” Naturally, Ron informed Corky, who, according to Anu Aua, “had never heard of the book,” though it “re-affirmed the things Corky had been initiated into during his divine encounters.”

A quick trip to Amazon Books shows that there are many editions of The Kybalion; it was first published in 1908 and has long been out of copyright. The e-book version can be downloaded for $1.25. Paperback copies are available for less than $10; there are no rare-book prices.

A casual comparison of The Kybalion with SUMMUM shows that the older book is not just a complement to Corky Ra’s. It is a close paraphrase—devilishly so—or, as someone skeptical of extraterrestrial visits and less polite might say, a crib.

The first thing a reader notices is the similarity of the chapter titles. SUMMUM has 18 chapters, not including the Introduction and the Epilogue. The Kybalion has 15, with an Introduction but no Epilogue. Of the titles of the 15 chapters, there is almost an exact accord. Some of the Kybalion chapters are merely modified (e.g., “Hermetic Philosophy” becomes “The Summum Philosophy”; “Seven Hermetic Principles” becomes “Seven Summum Principles”), while others are exactly the same (e.g., “The Mental Universe,” “The Divine Paradox” “Vibration”). Summum has three chapters not in the original: “Creation,” “Psychokinesis,” and “Meditation.”

The phraseology is also similar. Items:

Kybalion: They (the Initiates) reserve their pearls of wisdom for the few elect. . . .

SUMMUM: These pearls of wisdom are for the few. . . . 

Kybalion: The Hermetists have never sought to be martyrs.

SUMMUM: Contrary to popular opinion, these initiates have never sought to become martyrs.

Kybalion: So it was with the Hermetic Teachings of the Gnostics and Early Christians, which were lost at the time of Constantine, whose iron hand smothered philosophy with the blanket of theology. . . .

SUMMUM: Even the teachings of the Gnostic and Early Christians drew their roots from the Summum Principles. Unfortunately, these same teachings were lost at the time of Constantine whose iron hand smothered philosophy with its blanket of theology.

Kybalion: [T]he Hermetic Philosophy is the only Master Key which will open all the doors of the Occult Teachings!

SUMMUM: Yet the Summum Principles are the only master key which will open all doors to the knowledge of Creation!

Kybalion: From corpuscle and electron, atom and molecule, to worlds and universes, everything is in vibratory motion.

SUMMUM: From quark, squark, lepton, slepton, electron, atom, and molecule, to planets and universes, everything is in vibratory motion.

And on. And on. The seven Aphorisms of SUMMUM are almost carbon copies of the seven Principles of Truth set forth in The Kybalion, with a few tweaks, such as “The All” of The Three Initiates becoming Amen Ra’s “Summum.”

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