The Goal of Life, by Hiram Butler, , at sacred-texts.com
The beginnings of organized life act from instinct without brain-power to define and guide the impulse. The insect moves about apparently without aim, a little way in one direction, and back, then in another. Universal Life runs it in accordance with its form and quality, as the water runs the waterwheel. But as experience is gathered from hunger, meeting enemies, and the general struggle for existence, brain-powers begin to develop, and with the developing of the brain the general nervous structure develops and refines. In this way Universal Mind takes of the elements of the earth and organizes for itself a body through which to find expression, through which to carry forward a line of growth toward the fulness of manhood.
In its early history, the race was largely dominated by the instincts, because it was without sufficient
brain-power correctly to define the mental impulses from the cause-side. It was not until a comparatively advanced stage of racial progress that the higher light of intuition appeared. *
Because mind always turns toward its source, consciousness toward its origin, man has always been a religious being; but before the reasoning faculties were sufficiently developed to have an intelligent recognition of the impulses of the Universal Mind, his religion was as immature as his mentality and he worshipped the sun, moon, and stars, and images of his own ideals.
During this period the intellect was slowly unfolding, and as an aid to its growth, "Revelation," in the external types and shadows of its manifestation, was given to the people as they could receive it, for it was in this form that the earlier revelations came to the race.
It is a law that thought suggested to the mind, though not understood, much less comprehended, builds itself into the organism, so that when the building is complete the meaning of the thought is grasped. Therefore revelation came first in types and shadows, the external form of the vital energy that was within.
Added revelation was given as fast as the race developed sufficiently to receive it, but the vital reality was always represented by some material
symbol, and in the effort to interpret the revelation gross errors crept in. In addition to this there were other fruitful sources of error. Being largely under the control of the instincts, the people were exceedingly superstitiousevery manifestation of the incomprehensible, the grand, or the sublime, was to them always through the direct intervention of some unseen being. Thus, in addition to the nature-forces, a multiplicity of gods took form in the popular mind, and the pantheons of the different nations came into existence.
Again, the inclination of the human mind to seek cause readily developed into a search for magic power. There is and always has been in the human will a power entirely incomprehensiblea fact which led the earlier nations into ceremonial magic, the black arts, and all the equipments of a religious and superstitious mind. But the coming of the Christ to earth lifted the race above this dark cloud of superstition; for it is universally admitted that the Christian religion lies at the foundation of the height and glory of our civilization.
Nevertheless, as the records of the past show that there was an apparently darkened mental condition of the world at the time of the revelation of our Bible, and because the mind of the day is turned almost exclusively toward scientific investigation of
the laws of nature, those mental states that led the race into the light of revelation seem crude and repulsive. The present trend of the mentality is to turn altogether from intuition and to depend wholly upon the reasoning brain. A study of the record of racial experience during the centuries of the past, especially of the nations immediately allied to our own, and the present scientific investigation of a most materialistic character, complete the education given in our colleges and to our clergy. Ever is held up that frightful effigy of the darkened mind of the past as a warning against credulity and superstition.
This effigy has intensified a materialistic mentality, and has caused the educated classes to fear even to admit to their own souls the possibility of revelation or the active principle of intuition. They have practically shut out everything that savors in the slightest degree of a manifestation of spiritual activity, and, consequently, spiritual inspiration and added revelation are no longer possible.
The terms "inspiration" and "revelation" have been misapplied, and therefore need definition: Inspiration bears to revelation the relation of cause to effect. Inspiration is not necessarily the act of a human agent becoming a medium of expression for a being in the spirit-world, but it is a well-known phenomenon of every-day life. The act of recalling a thought we call "re-collection;" that is, we have had an experience and have forgotten it, a suggestion
comes to our mind of something concerning this experience and we wish to recall it. The mind is at once concentrated upon the desired thought, every other thought intruding itself is repelled, and the mindheld in the attitude of desiring, reaching out for one definite thoughtdraws in, inspires, the refined substance generated in the body and expressed through the brain at the time of the experience.
This wonderful formative-principle, active in all growth throughout the world, has its highest manifestation in the brain of man; and the subtle elements, generated in the body by past experience of thinking, are called again into the brainrecollectedand they are remembered. Every part of the occurrence is put together again, member to member, and the experience in all its original form and power stands out before the consciousness which recognizes that which is past.
In like manner, when the heart is sad from a sense of something to be known which is not known, the same faculty is called into activity and reaches out into the realm of Universal Mind to gather that which is desired. The sadness of heart produces a negative state in the inner consciousness, and intensifies desire. Under such circumstances the individual gathers from the unknown, and otherwise unknowable, the knowledge of which the soul feels the need. The knowledge thus inspired,
when formed in the mind, becoming a vivid realization, is a phase of revelation.
Still another form of revelation is that received when God sees that a man needs knowledge of something of importance to himself or to the race. Under such circumstancesthe inner attitude obtaining in the mindangels from the world of souls are frequently sent to him with messages of truth and wisdom.
But in order to receive the message, the man, as the great teacher said, must become as a little childhe must realize that he does not know and earnestly desire to know. Because of this fact revelation from the spirit-world is always preceded by a condition which breaks down the selfish mentality, and produces in the individual an earnest, child-like desire to know and to do the right. This destroys, for the time being, all preconceived ideas; enabling the mind to be receptive and to listen. Then the messenger who is sent from on high, all unknown to the individual, draws near and unites his mentality with the mentality of the one to whom he is sent, thus causing him to know even as the messenger knows. Therefore, in place of a command from a controlling mind, a loving unity is formed for the time and the man is treated as a "friend of God."
But fear of every kind, even fear of error, fear of what people may say, an undue appreciation of one's own mental capacity, a disposition to criticize
anything that may not agree with preconceived ideaseverything not in accordance with the thought of the messenger tends to repel him and to reject his message.
The education of the present day is such that even the most devout and earnest are afraid to receive revelation from God, and therefore the door is practically closed between God in the spirit-world and man in the material world. There are barriers set up against everything except physical experience, and, consequently, new and added revelation of spiritual truth cannot be received.
Not only is the "trained mind," barred in every direction except in the direction of physical experience, but even here it must specialize; that is, restrict itself to a particular line of a very limited department of investigation. Thus the person atrophies by disuse every faculty of even the external mind, except those necessary to the very narrow line of activities to which he is confined. To those familiar with the faculties of our great universities, the effect of this most absolute sacrifice of the individual to the cause of popular education is very evident. The broader intellectual interests are closed to its members, and, except in the department of their own work, they are to a decided degree mentally incapacitated. One can look into their faces and almost tell the line of specialization each has chosen.
Not only do our leading educators, but the majority
of the men who lead in the research of the time, sacrifice themselves to the advancement of science. But it is well known that if a man is to attain marked success in any direction, he must focalize his whole mind upon that subject; results are reached in this way that can be obtained in no other.
The Cyclopean eye figures a reality of life referred to by our Lord when he said: "If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light." (Matt. vi. 22.) For purposes of concentration upon one subject, the physical eyes and the eyes of the mind become onephysically upon the book before you, mentally upon the thought under consideration. And when concentration is upon material things, the eye sees nothing else. The Cyclopean eye of to-day has its development in the specialization of the intellectual world. Therefore the education of modern times, conforming the mind as it does to its present channels, is in itself necessary and good, notwithstanding the fact that it narrows the range of the intellectual vision.
A phenomenon of mind, before referred to, is that inspiration takes place when the entire attention is focalized upon one subject to the exclusion of every other. But in order to obtain this condition of concentration, it is necessary to repelwhich is a combative attitudeevery thought but the one sought. In our educational institutions we find this necessary repulsion carried to an extreme of an intolerance
which condemns and rules out the higher faculties of the human mind, the faculties that lie at the very root, the foundation of consciousness, and with them is excluded the spirit of devotion or recognition of God.
The accepted training of the mind is good in that it teaches the use of the perceptive faculties, to formulate orderly thought in regard to observable facts of physical nature, and gives control of the external mentality, but, sad to say, the present methods array the entire consciousness against God, the Spirit, and destroy the ability to reason from cause to effect, training the mind to reason exclusively from effect to cause, while, strange contradiction, cause is at the same time ignored.
Some of our able men have noted the fact, that it takes but a year or two in our theological institutions to eradicate the habit of religious devotion, and in its place to imbue the mind with the spirit of infidelityinfidelity to one's own highest attributes of mind and soul consciousness, and infidelity in regard to the validity of Bible Revelation.
If this is the course of instruction given by religious teachers, is it surprizing that the religion of Christ is at such a low ebb in the world to-day? The vital thought-currents of the race are despised, condemned and repelled, and only those faculties recognized which have unfolded through the struggle of animal existence from its lowest form up to the present highly developed animal part of human
nature. Then we are asked: If the things of which we are about to write are true, why have they not been known before?The reason is obvious in the fact that we, as civilized nations, have been working so diligently to close the door to all approaches from the cause-side.
These conditions have grown out of fearperhaps justifiable fear; for, in the absence of a mind that has surveyed the whole road and is capable of grasping the problem of life and putting in order before the people the broader outlines of truththe great scheme of growth and developmentthe prevailing materialistic intolerance has been the protection against the grossest superstition and error. Under existing circumstances the best thing possible has been done. Throughout can be traced the general plan of the great Creative Mind that formed the world and man upon it.
It is a well-known fact that a man can do but one piece of work at a time. Therefore the Creatoror, if you please, the creative-forces working in the growth of the different races in different periods of the world's historydeveloped first a consciousness of the unseen and cause world; but, as we have said, the incapacity of the brain correctly to interpret causation made it necessary to take the race into the external activities, and round out to completeness the capacities of the gray matter in its relation to the physical world.
These capacities have been developed, and does
not the time, the stage of development, the need of the people, cause the crying demand of the day for other and higher revelation?a demand that we go back, pick up, and carry forward that faculty of instinct that lies at the very foundation of our being, that we take hold upon it by the matured brain-power, and develop in the race the intuitional power that will enable man to become more like his Creatorwith a right hand to grasp the material universe and its workings and a left hand to grasp the spiritual forces and laws of causation, and thus blend his spiritual nature into a well-rounded and complete manhood.
2:* As the terms "instinct" and "intuition" have been confused, it may be well to state briefly their relative meanings. Instinct is the impulse produced upon an organism by the Universal Mind. It becomes intuition when the brain-power is sufficiently unfolded correctly to understand and to define the thought embodied in the impulse, and the use to be served by the act which is the result of the impulse.