1 July, 1918
Halls of knowledge, rather like our universities, are in a region where it is not absolutely necessary to have the illusion of concrete buildings and rooms, but where at the same time it is helpful to use those earthly symbols. It is not that the buildings are necessary for any idea of shelter, or the rooms for any idea of dividing one group from another for fear of confusion of voices. We realise that these practical needs are superceded but there remains the sense of the atmosphere and dignity of the building, something that is expressed by it's architecture. All that atmospheric sense of dignity and beauty we cannot yet get hold of as a thing in itself, so we still have the symbolism of building and beautiful architecture, and in that sense the buildings are real to us. It is partly, also, that by keeping to this extent the easy sense of a building to represent an idea, our mental forces are freed for concentration on the purer, more immaterial ideas that we learn to work out within the halls of knowledge. Don't confuse these with the temple symbolism. These are places for the development of understanding not of the higher mediumship. It is difficult to explain just what is taught here. I will try to give you a picture.
It is in the central hall that all the members congregate. There is a high gothic vaulting, in a way it is churchlike but not wholly. But the lines of the vaulting have in them that sense of purity and aspiration which belonged to the genius of the gothic at it's highest. But don't get too much the picture of a cathedral in your minds, but rather the picture of an ideal lecture hall. For the lecturer your best picture will be one of those whom you know as guides. It is very difficult to tell you how the teaching proceeds.
In a sense it is speech; it will be easiest perhaps if you think of that stage between friends when thought and speech merge very closely into one another, when the words carry with them spontaneously more though than they contain. Carry that idea further, and think of the words being used only for their beauty, their rhythm and cadence, just as the architecture is used only for its beauty, its appropriate dignity.
The teaching could flow as a thought stream alone, but words are still used, not so much to convey the thought as to give a kind of illustrative pattern and artistic embellishment to the thought.
I want to give you a picture of the state in which we are gradually leaving behind the earth imagery we see feelings and thoughts themselves in an infinitely clearer, brighter and more vivid and more varied imagery in which they are as real, as absolutely themselves to us, as tables and chairs are to you.
It is not leaving realities for abstractions, it is leaving lesser realities for greater realities. it is impossible to tell you about our realities in the language that has grown with and is framed to express your realities.