View Full Version : Maurice Maeterlinck
02-16-2006, 01:24 PM
The Great Secret
This book, written by Nobel Prize-winner Maurice Maeterlinck, should be the essential text for those seeking the hidden origin of religion and the meaning of life itself. The author explored the world's hidden mysteries for many years until stumbling upon a startling insight. This spiritual insight from long ago is revealed early in the book. He then follows it with a complete history of what arose on that foundation -- how the secret was carried to other ancient cultures around the world, then up into modern times. Has anyone read this book? Probably not. Maeterlinck is another forgotten genius. You can find some of his work on Project Gutenberg.
02-16-2006, 04:41 PM
Evola talks about him a lot, probably in The Hermetic Tradition, perhaps Revolt Against the Modern World?
Is The Great Secret available?
02-17-2006, 04:04 AM
Everything is available.
here's one of the reviews at Amazon:
The author, Maurice Maeterlinck, is a Nobel laureate in literature. He set himself the task of wading through all available literature on the occult or secret side of religion and spirituality. In "The Hymn to Brahman" of the Vedas, the ancient scriptures of the Hindus, he found a core insight the world was young enough and innocent enough to reveal. This scripture asks in the presence of this sacred and mysterious cosmos in which we live, "Who knows how it could have come about?" (my paraphrase). Then, it boldly asserts that only He who abides in mystery and brought it into being--only HE knows, and "Perhaps even He knows not." (my paraphrase).
The "Great Secret," therefore is that ALL religion is based on guesswork. At its best, it is erected on the pure recognition of the transcendent and SACRED mystery confronting all of us. At its worst, it is based on hearsay, desperate dogmatizing, and yes, even an abundant amount of fraud.
This core revelation is disclosed early in the book. The rest is a history of what arose on that foundation; including, for example, pantheism and the realization that the Mystery (God, if you please) resides in us as much as it does in the heavens.
02-17-2006, 01:46 PM
I cannot find any reviews of The Great Secret except for those 2 Amazon reviews. It may be worth my while to buy and read the book if only because it is such a forgotten tome. I could write an extensive review which is all anyone will find about the book.
The only thing I've read by Maurice Maeterlinck is his short play The Intruder in A Treasury Of The Theatre. It is only 6½ pages long so I re-read it. It is an atmospheric play about death visiting a family, death being the intruder. Maurice Maeterlinck had a reputation for being a mystic and there are very few playwrights known for their mysticism. I would like to learn his vision for a theater that would bring the mystical to the stage. He set forth those ideas in The Treasure of the Humble.
The entire text of a biography on Maurice Maeterlinck is available online because it is now in the public domain: http://www.kellscraft.com/maeterlinckbiocontent.html
Rimbaud, "Maurice Maeterlinck had a reputation for being a mystic and there are very few playwrights known for their mysticism."
There may be very few 'known' for their mysticism, but a lot of playwrights I know get high on Kabbalah before mixing their scripts. Even the famous-yet-mysterious Shakespeare seems to have been intimate with the works of Giordano Bruno. Also, the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz is like a dream projection of the plots of Shakespeare's later plays, Cymbeline, Winters Tale, Tempest.
"I would like to learn his vision for a theater that would bring the mystical to the stage."
Peter Brook 'The Empty Space' is worth checking out. Artaud maybe also.
Theatre in ancient Greece used to send people away raving in iambics, and was certainly staged in hearing of the gods.
Ted Hughes wrote a play with Brook, and the actors of Brook's troupe, which has never been fully assimilated - Orghast - and that play seems to have caused some strong invisible ripples. The brook/hughes Oedipus similarly.
Check this stuff out, also Lorca's theory of the duende. It all ties in i think quite neatly to the psychedelic experience.
Bringing the mystical to the stage is exactly what a shaman does, or so it seems to me, and it is why modern artists often style themselves as shamans or magi.
The work Brook/Hughes did is completely overlooked and deserves attention 'Orghast at Persepolis'
Anyway, i hope this sparks some ideas for you smile.gif
[ February 17, 2006, 03:32 PM: Message edited by: Thom ]
02-17-2006, 04:30 PM
Peter Brook 'The Empty Space' is worth checking out. Artaud maybe also.I've read Peter Brook's book and Artaud's classic "The Theater And Its Double".
The only other mystic playwrights I can think of are W.B. Yeats and Eugene O'Neill. I have not read much of Yeats. Eugene O'Neill describes a mystical experience in "A Long Day's Journey Into Night". I think it was one of the first accounts I found in literature. Some of his early plays like "Lazarus Laughed" and "Dynamo" strive towards mysticism.
I've always found the theater to be quite magical because the boundary between reality and fantasy is blurred. On stage, imaginary characters and situations exist in a physical form and this creates the illusion of realizing fantasy. The occult practice of calling spirits into the material world is also an attempt to realize the realm of the imagination.
03-04-2006, 05:25 PM
I bought a copy of Maurice Maeterlinck's book The Great Secret and finished reading it tonight. Here is the review I wrote on Amazon:
"The Great Secret, the only secret, is that all things are secret." Maurice Maeterlinck was an intellectual mystic, by which I mean he understood metaphysical concepts, and had no mystical experiences to base his writing on. Therefore his book is a work of reason rather than intuitive comprehension or revelation as is made plain by his praise for the Vedas as the height of philosophical speculation, a form of absolute agnosticism. For Maeterlinck, an initiate would be someone with the capacity to understand and appreciate a secret doctrine rather than someone familiar with the unknown dimensions of the mind and soul. For example, regarding visions, Maeterlinck is concerned that they contain no unconscious reminiscences of what has been read, "Most of the great mystics have had visions or intuitions of this kind spontaneously; but they do not possess any real interest unless it can be proven that they are experienced by mystics who are truly and absolutely illiterate." He must imagine that a vision is a metaphysical insight such as could be gleamed from a book on philosophy rather than an ineffable glimpse of the impersonal self's perspective. His mysticism is intellectual rather than experiential.
Maeterlinck seems most impressed by the realization that the cause of causes is unknowable. The secret doctrine whose revelation sealed forever the lips of the great initiates, the dread cry of occultist tradition, "Osiris is a dark god!" However there is some hint that he explored the unconscious in another book, "This subconscious self, this unfamiliar personality, which I have elsewhere called the Unknown Guest, which lives and acts on its own initiative, apart from the conscious life of the brain..".
The book does quote a metaphysical translation of Genesis by Fabre d'Olivet which is supposedly more accurate and impressive than the superficial and restricted version found in the Bible. He also describes some experiments concerning "odic emanations" which is some forgotten term for emanations or effluvia. However, the book appears most horribly dated concerning Tibetan Buddhism which is described ridiculously, "The convents and sanctuaries were explored; but nothing was found save the relics of the noblest religion ever known to mankind [Vedic doctrine], finally rotting and dwindling into puerile superstitions, mechanical prayer-wheels, and the most deplorable witchcraft."
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