In the writings of Froëbel, the German mineralogist and educator, there are some interesting passages on the formation of crystals. He says, "The world of crystals proclaimed to me in distinct and unequivocal terms the laws of human life."
"What the spiritual eye sees inwardly in the world of thought and mind, it sees outwardly in the world of crystals."
"Man in his external manifestation, like the crystal, bearing within himself the living unity, shows at first more one-sidedness, individuality, and incompleteness, and only at a later period rises to all-sidedness, harmony, and completeness."
Having thus perceived intuitionally the inner meaning of development as seen in crystals, he describes in detail the action of force in its tendency "to represent each thing in unity, individuality, and diversity; to generalize the most particular and to represent the most general in the most particular; and lastly, to make the internal external, the external internal, and to represent both in harmony and union." He speaks especially of "the tendency of force to derive the line and the plane from the point, to represent the point as a line and as a plane, the line as a point and as a plane,to contract the line into a point and expand it into a plane," etc. These processes are illustrated in the formation of the different crystal forms. The inner nature of the force is always spherical, and the crystal having passed through various stages tends to return to the spherical form.
"The force at last reaches so high a degree of tension of inner and outer opposition that even the external results show that the tendency to relieve this antithesis has become the chief tendency of the force."
This is the story of evolution and involution given in a few words, and is even more significant for us with our wider knowledge than it was for Froëbel himself. Yet he says that to him the crystals were "a mirror of the development and history of mankind." Much more are they so for the student of evolution.
He describes the development of the cube form according to the law of necessity. The force proceeds from a centre, and there is always at that centre a set of three bilateral directions perpendicular to one another.
"The result of the predominance of these three bilateral perpendicular directions must be a crystal limited by straight lines and planes, revealing in every part the inner nature and action of the force."
The cube is the only form which fulfills these conditions. For "each of the eight corners shows the perpendicularity of the three bilateral directions at the centre, and thus indicates externally the centre of the cube. Similarly, the three sets of four parallel edges show each of the inner directions fourfold. The six faces mark in their centres the six terminal points of the three bilateral directions, and thus determine the invisible centre of the cube."
He then explains the development of other regular forms from the cube - the tetrahedron and octahedron, by the tendency of the corners to become planes, the faces to become points, etc., and thus traces the inner meaning of the development of form. Following his line of thought carefully, one is not surprised that he saw so clearly the analogy between human development and the development of crystals, and that he saw in crystallography "the possibility of direct proof of the inner connection of all things."
SARAH CORBETT, F.T.S.
EDITOR'S NOTE - The foregoing short article is highly suggestive, and a study of the laws governing formation of crystals would be very instructive for Theosophists. The whole scheme of evolution on the planet had to be gone through in the mineral kingdom before the materials could be gotten ready for animal and present human bodies. These laws therefore are at the bottom of our mental and physical acts, inclusive of occult phenomena of every sort. Next after this are chemical laws, which must be understood as well as the first before the student can do anything practical in occultism. And when students study these and comprehend their complexity and vast range, it will be seen how foolish it is to wish to be Adepts when we are only children, and how much better it would be for the world if Theosophists hungered to seek and to save the world from its sorrow, rather than to be ever wishing to see wonders in nature and to do what only scientific training for lives can enable us to do. Disciples are many, but earnest, devoted, self-sacrificing disciples are few.
Path, February, 1893