The Inner Life, v. II/Sixth Section/XII
The Atlanteans had as a race no sense of the abstract, and were unable to generalise; for example, they had no multiplication table; arithmetic was to them a system of magic, and a child had to learn elaborate rules without ever knowing the reason for them. For example, he was taught that if 8 came beneath 8 in the particular form of magic which we now call addition, the figure 6 must be noted as the result, and the next figure to the left-hand side in the result must be increase by 1. If however the particular magic happened to be subtraction, a cipher was the result; if it was division the figure 1 appeared; if it was multiplication the figure 4 was the result, and the next figure to the left must be altered by 6. But he never knew that 8 plus 8 equals 16, or that 8 times 8 equals 64! A similar elaborate set of rules had to be memorized for every conceivable position of all the figures up to 10. These four sets or types of mathematical magic had to be learnt just as though they were four conjugations of a verb. Most of their calculations, however, were made by means of machinery — a kind of abacus or framework something like that now used by the Chinese and Japanese, by means of which it is even now possible to make quite elaborate calculations — as, for example, to take the square root of any number.
The Atlanteans were clever at amassing facts, and had prodigious memories; also they invented a good deal of quite complicated machinery, though most of it would seem to us now quite clumsy in its action. We see another curious trace of their limitations in the religion which the Egyptians inherited from them. They had observed and noted most of the types of elemental essence and nature-spirits, and they had named them all, and invented special forms of spells for each, by which it could be controlled; and they went on elaborately learning all these, with the feeling that if any but the right spell was applied to a particular elemental, he would probably prove destructive. Yet they never realized that the force behind the spells was in every case the human will, and that a determined exertion of that, without any spell at all, would have been equally effective in all these different places. The Book of the Dead contains great numbers of these, and only that portion of it which it was thought would be needed by each dead person was placed along with him in his tomb.
The Turanian sub-race of the Atlanteans made a series of experiments in what is now called democracy, and carried it to even wilder lengths than its most rabid exponents at the present day have yet suggested. The results were so utterly intolerable that the whole race broke up into anarchy and chaos; and China even now bears the impress of the violent reaction in the direction of aristocratic government which followed. The Turanians had their animal passions very strongly developed, and were in many ways not what we should call pleasant people.