An imaginary conviction that this or that thing is true, even if such conviction be based upon the strongest reasons of plausibility and probability, is no real knowledge or self-recognition of truth. The truth is really known to no man until it is realized in him; but when the light of truth arises as a living power within his soul, penetrating and illuminating his understanding, causing him to enter into full harmony and become one with the truth, he may then truly say, not only “I know the truth,” but like one of old, “I [in my personal state] am the Truth.” This, however, is not to be interpreted as if to mean that we should reject all theories or treat opinions of others with contempt. Theories are means by which to arrive at practice; they are like crutches used by children before they are able to walk. They are sometimes good for discarding errors; but a knowledge of theories is not identical with the recognition of truth.
Franz Hartmann, The Correlation of Spiritual Forces
Religion, like nations and individuals, passes through the regular gradation, first of infancy, when religious ideas and thoughts are crude in the extreme; the age of Puritanism, when innocent women and children are burned at the stake for witchcraft, when with gloomy faces and in unsightly dress the poor fanatics sacrificed every pleasure on the altar of duty; the time when Sunday was a day of horror to children from its gloom, a day when every innocent amusement was forbidden. After religion’s infancy comes youth. At that stage, the absurd dress and gloomy faces were not considered essential adjuncts to religion, but free discussion was not allowed upon religious subjects. Everything must be taken for granted, without any investigation on the part of the people. After youth comes manhood, the time when reason has full sway, when superstition and credulities form no part of religious teaching and thought. People are able to think, to reason for themselves. After the age of manhood, comes old age and that is the stage of agnosticism. Questions are being asked, and ideas propounded which must not be overlooked nor treated with contempt. All questions asked in a fair spirit, must be answered in a fair manner. It is not sufficient to say, “it is so”, but good and tangible reasons must be given to prove the truth of an assertion. We are now in the stage of “old age.” Agnosticism and Infidelity are wide spread. After old age comes decay and the decline of the absolutely orthodox. From time immemorial, every religion has passed through the same gradation, of infancy, youth, old age and decay finally comes philosophy.
Lydia Leavitt, Bohemian Society [Amazon, Amazon (Dodo Press), Bookshop (Dodo Press, Gutenberg, Local Library]
Some believe any and every thing is symbolic, and can be transcribed, and explain the occult, but of what they do not know. (Great spiritual truths?) So argument a metaphor, cautiously confusing the obvious which developes the hidden virtue. This unnecessary corpulency, however impressive, is it not disgusting? (The Elephant is exceeding large but extremely powerful, the swine though odious does not breed the contempt of our good taste.) If a man is no hero to his servant, much less can he remain a mystic in the eyes of the curious; similarity educates mimicry. Decorate your meaning, however objectionable (as fact), after you have shown your honesty. Truth, though simple, never needs the argument of confusion for obscurity; its own pure symbolism embraces all possibilities as mystic design. Take your stand in commonsense and you include the truth which cannot lie; no argument has yet prevailed. Perfect proportion suggest no alteration, and what is useless decays.
Austin Osman Spare, The Book of Pleasure
The Nameless Quest in The Gate of the Sanctuary from The Temple of the Holy Ghost (Collected Works, Vol I) by Aleister Crowley.
“‘Went your glance back—encountering my wife?’
‘Taunt me!’ I cried; ‘I will not be afraid!’
My whole soul weary of the coward strife.
He seemed to see no opening I gave,
But hated me the more. Serene and suave,
He fenced with deep contempt. I stumble, slip,
Guard wide—and only move his upper lip.” [via]