Do These Supermen Exist?
by Eddie Campbell (1969)
For many centuries there has been a strange legend in the East. It suggests that in a hidden centre-- perhaps in the highlands of Central Asia-- there exists a colony of men possessing exceptional powers. This centre acts, in some respects at least, as the secret government of the world. Some aspects of this legend came to the West during the Crusades; the idea was renewed in Rosicrucian guise in 1614; it was restated last century with variations by Mademoiselle Blavatsky and the French diplomat Jacolliot; was suggested again by the English author Talbot Mundy, and most recently by the Mongolian traveller Ossendowski in 1918.
In the mysterious Shangri-La of this legend, certain men, evolved beyond the ordinary human situation, act as the regent of powers beyond the planet.
Through lower echelons-- who mingle unsuspected in ordinary walks of life, both West and East-- they act at critical stages of history, contriving results necessary to keep the whole evolution of the Earth in step with events in the solar system. If in the West this seems like a very tall tale indeed, it is nevertheless one which has engaged serious thinkers behind the European scene for centuries.
In 1614, for example, when a mysterious document called the Fama appeared in Europe, some of the best intellects of the day spent a generation chasing clues to its origin and trying to get themselves enlisted. There is no historical record of anyone succeeding. A hoax? Maybe, but in 1961, an article appeared in a small magazine which to the ordinary reader seemed like a simple travel-documentary.
To others who knew-- or believed they knew-- how such things are arranged, it produced much the same effect as did the Fama on their forebears 350 years ago; though perhaps attempts to enlist were not this time quite so disastrously negative.
Since 1961, a further stream of hints seemingly connected with the same tradition have been appearing regularly. Among them are some privately circulated papers and The Sufis by Idries Shah; The Teachers of Gurdjieff by Rafael Lefort; Reflections; Special Problems (Society For Understanding Fundamental Ideas) and possibly some of the writings of Robert Graves. This list is by no means complete.
The latest publications to which it seems possible to detect the same influence are Wisdom of the Idiots and New Research on Current Philosophical Systems.
The former is a collection of Eastern tales, each pointing a fairly obvious moral but containing also the hint of a multi-IQ system by which the reader may profit-- and be prepared-- according to his understanding. The idea is not perhaps dissimilar to the structure which Dr. Maurice Nicoll claimed 20 years ago to have discovered in the Gospels.
New Research ... makes perhaps more appeal to modern attitudes. It consists of 13 brief articles by people with experience of Eastern metaphysical techniques and includes first-hand accounts of exercises from Sinkiang, Persian, Indian, and Afghan sources. Almost all of these will be new, even to students of such matters in the West.
The tradition of which all this seems to be a part has been linked with such diverse phenomena as the restoration of culture after Ghengis Khan, Arabian poetry, the Joker in our playing cards, Freemasonry, the Templars, the Renaissance, the Saracen culture of Spain, and the Franciscan order of the Roman church. It has also been noted that some of the latest ideas in Freudian and Jungian psychology were outlined by members of this same tradition as long ago as the 11th century, when there was no western vocabulary capable of dealing with the ideas. In view of the extent of the claims which are implict in some of the literature now appearing in the West, it is remarkable that orthodox scholarship has not yet apparently responded with the interest which this material would seem to justify.
Evening News, 10th of February, 1969