The Dynamics of Enthusiasm
Or the Creative Aspect of Classical Theosophy
Steven H. Levy
Enthusiasm makes the wheel of Karma move in the right direction
“Enthusiasm is the genius of sincerity,
and truth accomplishes no victories without it.”
Bulwer Lytton 
“… Every great and commanding movement in
the annals of the world is the triumph of enthusiasm.”
According to Olympiodorus the Younger, a 6th Century Neoplatonic Philosopher, enthusiastic energy is the result of the agitating and inspiring influence of the Divinity. The word enthusiasm is derived from a Greek word meaning to be inspired by a god.
The word has now acquired a familiar meaning of having craze, excitement, strong liking for something. This extravagant liking for almost anything is the opposite of the original meaning of enthusiasm, for it has its origin in prejudice of our strong materialistic desires. Olympiodorus called this phantasy and distinguished it from enthusiasm. He asks whether the Soul is able to energize without phantasy. He replies:
“…Its perception of universals proves that it is able.”
The dynamics of universal principles of Theosophy, such as Reincarnation and Karma, energizes the Soul from above and arouses the energy of true enthusiasm. These principles have the power to impart that enthusiasm to the masses that is necessary to remove the adverse conditions of our modern life.
As human nature is spiritual and material, the higher enthusiasm should be natural and prevalent in our society. As this is not the case, it is important to understand what blocks the higher spiritual energy of true enthusiasm.
It has been said that the sense of justice is innate in human beings. It is one of those innate ideas that is said to have been impacted into the spiritual nature of infant humanity. Experience proves that a sense of injustice can inspire enthusiasm for reform as well as revolution. It is also true that a sense of injustice can cause one to despair and give up hope. In both cases it is the memory faculty of the mind that is key. In the former situation the mind recalls the innate sense of justice as well as all the unpleasant experiences of life that seem to be unfair and undeserved. In the latter situation the mind only recalls the apparently unjust horrors and inequalities of life. The memory of the innate sense of justice is lost. It is blocked or distorted by the memory of ideas instilled by materialistic science and dogmatic religion. Enthusiasm is the energy of spiritual truth in action. This spiritual truth and energy cannot be intuitively perceived if the mind is filled only with the memory of materialistic preconceptions.
The masses of people would benefit from a Theosophical education in the practical ethics and application of universal principles. Education in its complete sense not only instills in the lower mind the memory of true ideas, it also draws out the memory of accumulated wisdom stored in the higher mind. Memory is a great aid to the devotee, but bound to desire and phantasy it obscures enthusiasm. The immediate result of a Theosophical education is not the imparting of specific plans; rather it creates the conditions in the mind that encourage enthusiasm to accomplish what should properly be done in each and every case.
 “The Last Days of Pompeii”, by Edward Bulwer Lytton, Porter and Coates, Philadelphia, 1834, p. 76. (Also in “The Key To Theosophy”, by H.P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Company, India, 1997, p. 245.)
 “Representative Men: Nature, Addresses and Lectures”, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Houghton Miffin, Boston, 1883, p. 512. (Also in “The Key To Theosophy”, by H.P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Company, India, 1997, p. 245.)
 “The Key to Theosophy”, by H.P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Company, India, 1997, p. 124 fn.
On the role of the esoteric movement in the ethical awakening of mankind during the 21st century, see the book “The Fire and Light of Theosophical Literature”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline.
Published in 2013 by The Aquarian Theosophist, the volume has 255 pages and can be obtained through Amazon Books.The Dynamics of Enthusiasm