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Anxiety and Utopia the Rosicrucian Way

Among all that is going on with the pandemic and accompanying fear being expressed around the world, some thoughts from Rosicrucian history came to mind. One was that back in the late 1930s there was increasing anxiety, not just among Europeans, but also among the American public with the increasing hostilities in Europe emanating from Germany and the Hitler regime. The fear and anxiety was building and every related news byte was a common everyday topic. Possibly because of this worrisome state of affairs a new movie went into production in Hollywood. This was the movie Lost Horizon directed by the great Frank Capra. It came out in 1937. The plot described in Wikipedia is this:

“It is 1935. Before returning to England to become the new Foreign Secretary, writer, soldier, and diplomat Robert Conway has one last task in China: Rescue 90 westerners in the city of Baskul. He flies out with the last few evacuees, just ahead of armed revolutionaries. Unbeknownst to the passengers, the pilot has been replaced and their aircraft hijacked. It eventually runs out of fuel and crashes deep in the Himalayas, killing their abductor. The group is rescued by Chang and his men and taken to Shangri-La, an idyllic valley sheltered from the bitter cold. The contented inhabitants are led by the mysterious High Lama.”

Also of interest, the International Movie Database (IMDb) notes that “From a critical standpoint, ‘Lost Horizon’ has stood the test of time to be one of the greatest adventure classics ever produced by Hollywood.”

When this movie came out our first Imperator Harvey Spencer Lewis, who seems to have been widely known and highly respected in the U.S., praised it very highly and even contacted theaters around the country giving the Order’s endorsement of it. One of the things he said about it was that in this era of such great anxiety such a movie as this helps to redirect the public minds to a more peaceful vision of the future, or words to that effect. Shangri-La was a type of Utopia conceived as also a repository of ancient and secret wisdom.

Visions such as this movie presents can transform anxiety to peace profound and may do so by lifting one’s conscious gaze from the material plane to the thought and spiritual planes of idealism and eternal values thus bringing out our higher emotional vibrations to the fore of our consciousness.

And this is not the first time that the Rosicrucians promoted a Utopian vision for humanity. The original Rosicrucian manifestoes specifically called for a reformation of the world. Former Rosicrucian Imperator Francis Bacon of England also sought a world reformation and wrote a story of a kind of Rosicrucian Utopian society called New Atlantis.

Later, 17th century education reformer Jan Amos Komensky, who we know as Comenius, who was well read in Rosicrucian thought and a follower of Francis Bacon, authored another kind of universal reform in education. In fact, today Comenius is considered the ‘Father of Modern Education’ and the great inspiration for the UNESCO. His main vision of a Utopia is found in his Consultatio catholica, which was more of a down to earth Utopia.

Today’s AMORC again promotes a Rosicrucian Utopia which like its predecessors covers life on earth in a universal way.

And perhaps, most interesting of all, this concept of a Utopia state as conceived by Rosicrucians, may have been one of the ideas that inspired our beloved Imperator Harvey Lewis to create the Cathedral of the Soul, now known as the Celestial Sanctum, a place or condition where Rosicrucians and others can find a kind of Shangri-La in their own hearts and minds.

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  • Oh what a coincidence--I've been going through the older digests and that particular issue is the next one I'll get to after I finish the one I'm reading now. So I'll be reading that whole article in the near future. Thanks for sharing a 'preview' of it! Thor Kiimalehto was something like Dr. HS Leiws' right hand man from the beginning. He has become one of my favorite RC authors. Thanks Kathy!

  • Hi Clayton and all -  came upon an article from a 1938 Rosicrucian Digest entitled The Lost Horizon by Thor Kiimalehto which you may enjoy:

    "At first glance the story seems one of adventure and romance. Then one sees that it is a picture of utopia, a delightful fairy-tale land; a dream in a poet's heart. Then one becomes aware of the fact that the entire story is a symbol of the journey of the soul through life. It is a modern Pilgrim's Progress. It is the story told oft before by mystics of the world. It is the story told in a nineteenth century setting in Will Garver's A Brother of the Third Degree and Marie Corelli's Life Everlasting. It is the great adventure of life. It is the quest of the ages, the search of the soul for God, the attainment of evolution. It is the flight of the alone to the Alone."


    The Lost Horizon
    Article from the Rosicrucian Digest
  •  Hi Kathy, - thank you very much for posting the link to that article. I enjoyed it and had a sort of serendipitous experience with it. The article in the Rosicrucian Beacon mentioned how Comenius was essentially wandering in exile after the destruction of his Bohemia, a kingdom open to Rosicrucian like thought, as well as the death of his wife and children. In his then wanderings and reflections and trying to make sense of life after those extreme hardships he makes it through, we can say, his dark night of the soul, and ends up writing extremely influential works that have moved the humanity to a higher elevation of expression. Well, it's serendipitous because at this same time I'm taking a course in The Great Courses on The Divine Comedy by Dante. I had read his masterpiece last year before going to Italy. Dante, like Comenius, lost everything after another war. He had been living in Florence but went into exile after his political faction lost a war there, similar to the experience of Comenius. And like him, Dante wandered in a forest of human error and savagry, reflecting on his life but more so on the spiritual life of humanity in the world all around him. And also like Comenious, Dante ended up writing an immensely influential work, said to be equaled only by Shakespeare. And Dante, though not a Rosicrucian, was clearly a mystic in that in his reflections on human nature and its potential progress toward the divine, he went far beyond the theologians of the time and seems to have connected to the powerful mystery and unfathomable consciousness of the divine. They are a great lesson to all of us that our greatest hardships are capable of being followed by our greatest reach to the God of our Hearts. 

    Also, before I wrote my piece for the forum I had looked for my copy of Rosicrucian History and Mysteries but I couldn't find it. Finally I found it hiding among other books on a different topic than Rosicrucianism. And in it I found more written about Comenius and his connection to other proponents of Rosicrucian thought in the 17th century. Certainly, Rosicrucianism has had an incredible positive influence on humanity in a relatively short time. And I think we can expect it to continue to do so as the consciousness of our planet continues to slowly evolve.

    • When you were metioning that Dante was not a Rosicrucian but clearly a mystic - was reminded of something our dearly departed Frater Steven Armstrong said about another under similar circumstances - that while that person (think it was Fludd) was not a Rosicrucian - he clearly expressed Rosicrucian thought. 

      So yes, it is almost inconceivable how those who have lost everything during trying times - family - fortune - and almost their very lives - can come through it and reflect the best of human nature.  Maybe the lesson for us today - as bad as it may seem - is that there is a "Light" at the end of the tunnel - and we will survive - albeit in different ways.

    • Hi Kathy,

      As one more addition to the story of the movie Lost Horizon, I just saw a notice in the July 1937 RC DIgest encouraging members to see it and also saying that it was one of several movies that AMORC had "created and sponsored"! I didn't see any mention of the Order if the credits of the movie, but then again, the movie itself had been lost for some time before someone found a copy of it. So maybe AMORC's connection to it was lost along with some other of its history.


    • In those early days of theater - plays  - movies -  it was not unusual for someone to be a 'patron' by offering theme ideas and financial backing - but not sure if that backing was ever mentioned in the credits.

  • Hi Clayton and all - If you haven't already read it - there is a great article in the UK's magazine - Rosicrucian Beacon - entitled:  Comenius and the Labyrinth of the World 


    Rosicrucian Beacon Online - AMORC
    Rosicrucian Beacon Online - Read more about rosicrucian, monad, mystical, principles, volume and spiritual.
    • Thank you, Sr. Kathy. Peace Profound!

    • Hi Lynn - you are quite welcome - hope you enjoyed the article.  LLL Kathy

  • Hello Frater Chris, thanks for the comment! I hadn't heard of Auroville but I see that it was inspired by the very influential Indian philosopher Sri Aurobindo. Many Rosicrucians over the years have suggested such a community for Rosicrucians. However, the AMORC has always wanted its members to take what they've learned and use it in their own social circles and communities all around the world. And in that way to better spread its philosophy and do service to humanity. There are advantages and disadvantages to both these approaches so maybe having a mix of them helps overall.Maybe we can each try to build a little utopia in our own lives and let others share somewhat in them and in that way help to spread our ideas.

    Peace Profound to you also!


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