#LetsRead Henry T. Laurency - Hylozoics on Literature 2. No One Can Judge Beyond His Own Level! Authorship. Genius
No One Can Judge Beyond His Own Level
Goethe tried in various ways to make it clear to his readers, implicitly and especially to his
critics, that the readers of a literary work do not see more in it than they already know. Of
course this fundamental insight was lost to his age and to posterity. Every critic has believed
himself able to understand and judge Goethe and all the other great ones: Platon, Bacon, etc.
But only an esoterician can understand Shakespeare and other initiates. To the esoterician it is
obvious that all of them are still misunderstood. You must be a mentalist (47:5) and be well
versed in esoterics to be able to understand what they meant by what they said. Those who
were never initiates cannot realize this, however.
This is because no one can understand anyone who is on a higher level of development.
That is a law. For students of esoterics it is essential to realize that this law applies to both
exoteric and esoteric matters. In its application to esoterics this law concerns, among many
other things, the difference between comprehension and understanding. The explanation for
this is that particularly in esoterics it is easy to believe oneself able to judge such matters as
are above one’s own level. Esoteric ideas always influence in some respect all the centres of
the envelopes. Anyone who does not apprehend these ideas correctly and does not translate
them into right life and action loses his balance too easily both emotionally and mentally,
believes himself all-knowing, in contact with the planetary hierarchy and more such follies. It
is here we should seek the explanation for the enormous production of occult (not esoteric!)
literature the authors of which have distorted esoteric knowledge and in so doing lead
injudicious readers astray.
The impression had is just comical when one reads literary critics who consider that we are
“more advanced”, that Goethe is antiquated and that his views are old-fashioned. It will be
very long before such critics have attained to Goethe’s level and Goethe’s understanding of
reality and life. He wrote for contemporaries on low levels and was forced to adapt his
presentation to them, “lower” himself to them. That is quite different from being on those
Still no one has been able to assess Oscar Wild right. He was, as the prophecy said of him,
“a king that would exile himself”. The esoterician has to smile when reading the verdicts on
great men passed by professors and doctors of literature. They do not surmise that they are in
no position whatever to know man and to assess culture. They have no idea of the immense
mental distances involved. There are many thousands of incarnations between a Wilde and an
“average” doctor of literature.
The question whether a writer can be impersonal and objective has, as usual, been taken in
the absolute sense. Facts and axioms are absolute, of course, but the selection and combina-
tion of them are always subjective. Even more subjective is the presentation of such things as
cannot be ascertained but fall into the category of hypotheses and theories. The novelist is the
most subjective even if he wishes his story to appear as a depiction of reality. How could you
describe life as it really is when you cannot see more than you already know?
Faced with a writer the esoterician at once asks himself the questions: Does what he writes
show that he has knowledge of reality and insight into life? Does the writer start from
prevalent illusions and fictions or has he seen through their unfitness for life? If the writerlacks knowledge but is intelligent enough, the esoterician may learn from him the new
contemporary attempts made at varying the misconception of ideas and so learn how he
should critically answer the misconceptions, when conversing with others or in his own
The mentally active often think they are called to become writers. They pick up ideas from
other equally life-ignorant writers, and when they have collected a sufficient amount of them,
they make a soup out of these fictions. Then the new celebrities are popularized by doctors of
literature whose aim it is to discover geniuses and to inform the public what they think about
those writers. Subsequently they can be read and admired by the public keen on reading who
have specialized in killing time by light reading to be spared thinking for themselves.
Most writers start too early letting the light of their genius shine on a stupidized world.
Then it will amount to little more than a variation on problems that have been treated in
literature since millennia. There is a justification for the poet if he has something new to
proffer: new ideas, new perspectives, new ideals. Versatile Swiss professor and writer Carl
Hilty wrote that nobody should become a writer until he had reached the age of fifty. Then he
could speak from his own experience, the only reliable one.
You can become whatever you like if you devote sufficiently many incarnations to it, lives
filled with single-minded work. Chosenness for a certain profession, easiness in practising it,
talent, genius always are the result of persistent work in the past. What people call “genius” is
simply sovereignty in a certain field. It need not at all imply, and has extremely seldom
implied, that the literary genius, for instance, has reached above the lower emotional stage
(48:4-7). At that stage you can become mentally sovereign in the lowest two mental regions
(47:6,7). Most so-called geniuses are found there. The wide-spread belief that the writer
knows more about reality and life than, for example, the financier or the official, is part of the
usual psychological infantilism. Most authors demonstrate a high degree of injudiciousness in
too many respects. Common sense is not required for the kind of authorship generally
It was probably with Nietzsche that the real cult of the genius started, madness broke out
like a veritable epidemic. Many of Nietzsche’s readers thought they were some sort of genius
and strutted about like superhuman dandies, unable to see how ridiculous they were. The true
geniuses of our times are passed over with silence. Now is the reign of democracy with the
demand for equality in all respects. This implies the rule of ignorance and inability. Culture of
the masses is culture of incompetence. The most vulgar taste comes to dominate everything.
Anyone who does not want to take part in this madness is declared anti-social.
Genius requires more than mastery of the form. Content is the main thing. The notion of
“destructive genius” is a contradiction in terms. The essence of genius at least contains the
divination of the ideals, the instinctive understanding of what is fit for life and life-promoting.
Those in whom this divination has never been born or in whom it has been devastated do not
belong to the stage of culture and are no true geniuses. Strindberg, for example, is not one of
those. He is a typical representative of a literary current that is totally disoriented and has not
even a minimal understanding of culture.
In contrast, Erik Gustaf Geijer, Viktor Rydberg, and Gustaf Fröding are three examples of
that instinct. Gustaf Fröding shows how important divination is for the seeker of the Holy
Grail. A genius is a guide to the light, albeit through dark vales, to the world of ideals, to the
kingdom of supermen and happiness.