Higher Knowledge and Salt:

The Water Made Wine

Maurice Nicoll

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 For a man to receive Higher Knowledge he must have good Being to Maurice Nicoll portraitmake salt in him. If we regard knowledge as chlorine and being as sodium, then unless a man has enough sodium in him to combine with the chlorine he receives from outside he will not have salt in him. Then the chlorine poisons him: The poisonous power of knowledge alone without the good ground, of which the Gospels so often speak, to receive it, may simply produce world-poison. In such a case the acquiring of knowledge can only produce the worst results. But the mystery is deeper than this.

The esoteric teaching about knowledge and being refers to the fact that knowledge cannot be understood unless there is a corresponding development of being. A man may know a great deal and understand nothing because his being is not equal to his knowledge. As a consequence, no inner union can take place between his being and his knowledge. We see today an extraordinary number of books full of knowledge but with no understanding. We see the cheapest explanations given of the facts of science. The man of poor being and great knowledge can only give out meaningless material that leads nowhere. And not only this, but he can only complicate everything and make it unintelligible. And so science to-day complicates everything too much and apparently leads nowhere.

Countless scientists are writing papers that no one understands, not even the scientists. The reason for this is that the conditions of knowledge are no longer understood because the side of being is ignored. Esotericism has always understood the conditions of knowledge. It has always understood that knowledge should always lead to understanding and that understanding is only possible with a corresponding development of being. This is the deepest idea concerning human psychology for then a union takes place that leads to inner evolution. In this marriage or union, the meaning of the knowledge unites with the being of the person and leads to his inner development.

This is what the Parable of Water made into Wine is about. It means that Christ united his knowledge with the Good of his being. His knowledge and the goodness of his being became one. Let us repeat what has already been pointed out, that the Ruler of the Feast speaks about the good wine and that the Good came last. First of all, a man must be taught Truth or knowledge and then the Goodness of it comes later. Actually, however, Good must also precede knowledge, but of this we will speak later. What is good is prior to all Truth but in time it seems as if knowledge comes first. The ultimate aim in life is the Good. If we say that at the summit of things is Good then it is prior to everything else and so is first in scale, but in time it looks as if knowledge comes first. All knowledge should lead to Good. Therefore Good is first in scale, although to our senses, which are in time and only see a cross section of all existence called the present moment, it looks the other way round.