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Topic: Keely Information
Section: Lux Naturae part 8
Table of Contents to this Topic
The mechanical world is not an automaton‹A healthy body, intellect, etc., must work‹Religion, Science and Philosophy hand in hand.
THE whole creation is one vast system of machinery with the least possible number of complications: machinery far from being understood by man, although nothing short of the complete understanding of it will ever reach the final goal, the attainment of which is the resultant of all component processes and progresses of civilization‹the inevitable evolution of humanity and creation. This machinery has been in full operation from the first of time, and will for ever continue to be. Every cog, wheel, spring, etc., of the great engine was properly made and fitted at the beginning; there is nothing new except the knowledge about it. The sun, moon, and stars move in their adjusted spheres, and produce the vast results that are their proper work. Men may not understand this work, but it is done all the same. If a locomotive did not move until all the passengers in the train understood it, how far would it go ? Ignorance about the world's construction and governing laws has no effect whatever on its progressive movement or on the law of inevitable evolution. Heat, light, air and water are all important parts of the universal machine, and they would never cease to do their work, even if it were utterly beyond our ken. To think or feel assured we know their uses does not limit their uses; for our knowledge may end when we only step inward on the fringe of universal truth. The region of psychics is only another part of the machinery. All the elements that work in the different departments of the mind-world are material parts of the universal material machine. Mind and matter are indubitably connected. All light, all life, every emotion, every atom, and every element, are connections of this great mechanical contrivance, and so, too, are all mental and spiritual emotions. Every thought and inspiration is a mechanical operation, just as the growth of a blade of grass is, or as is the evolution through foetus, childhood, manhood, and old age. Yet the essence of life is not materialism. This vast machine never ceases to do its work, and yet it is no automaton. We men, in souls and bodies, are machines, or parts of the vast machinery of creation; but the work we do as machines depends on the motive power applied to the machinery and the carrying out of instructions. That motive power is under our own control, and ought never to be used in violation of the laws in Nature. Man is not turned out at birth as a wound-up machine, warranted to go through all the chances and changes of this mortal world. He is turned out as a completed machine which must go, but whither he goes depends on himself. He cannot avoid his natural existence any more than a fish out of water can avoid death. His whole life is part of the universal gear, and as such he must work in accord with the engine of which he forms a part. That engine ‹ independent of the motive power that drives it ‹ is governed and controlled by fixed law, and wherever there is opposition to that law there is friction. Friction may be in a part or in the whole. Opposition to this law causes all the friction of life, and that friction is oftener than not caused by the ignorance of there being any opposition. When a child kicks a stone and hurts his foot, he believes wrongly that the stone hit him. The Deity Himself does not cause one atom of unhappiness to any one of His creatures, for any purpose whatever. All unhappiness is caused by this friction against the laws of Nature. To our finite minds friction seems universal, and as if all the machinery were wrongly made or managed by fate. Naturally, we are more attracted by the immense friction which affects us individually than by the accumulated and progressive work done which concerns the collective race and creation. Of this lamentable friction in the world the Deity is cognizant, and permits it even to the injury of the individual, but He does not create it. If He loves all, why does He even permit it ? All progress and civilization tend to one grand goal of human happiness: why does the almighty Deity not make this goal a condition of instantaneous possession ? Why does He not cause us, as He easily could, to wake up to-morrow morning participants of the universal brotherhood stage, at which we shall all ultimately arrive ? Why not avoid the innumerable multitude of intermediate miseries by bringing about a state of immediate knowledge and bliss ? To Him all things are possible. What is possible is not necessarily expedient. Besides, to bring about such a condition would be to act in contradiction to His own system. He works by fixed laws, which He has Himself established, and for Him to bring about an immediate change of the whole human condition of misery to happiness would be to violate His own laws. His way is to gradually educate men to understand the law. The law is, that conditions from a higher to a lower, or from a lower to a higher, must be brought about by natural evolution. No sinner becomes a saint by instantaneous conversion, for the very same reason. The habits formed by sin go on working long after the sinner is pardoned. Justification by another does not preclude the working of contrary habits. Without violating law, and not by miracle, the Deity works out the results of friction against the law. If we understood the laws of Nature as He does, nothing that ever He has done would seem to us a miracle or supernatural work; for what we recognise as miracles are no miracles to Him. If we knew the laws of Nature as Christ, who was God, knew them, we could do what He did, and 'greater works than these' could we do.
Nature abhors idleness. Everything made has work to do, duty to perform, the neglect of which deteriorates the created thing. Even grandeur and insignificance have work to perform. Of the duties of the universe as a whole we know little; of the duties of planets and stars we have but a limited and superficial knowledge; of the duties of the laws in Nature we only know sufficient to give us an unbounded admiration of their immense possible capabilities. The duties of worlds are bound up in the duties of atoms. Worlds are believed too vast and atoms too minute to be completely comprehended by man's finite powers, and yet he has comprehended sufficient to satisfy him that he comes infinitely short of comprehending all, for the more true knowledge he gets the more he knows how little he knows compared with what is knowable. This he knows by intuition, that it is natural to work. A working engine is never eaten up by rust, and a watch that goes is in far better condition than one that is permanently stopped. It is unnatural for anything in Nature to have nothing to do; even a blade of grass, among its other duties, has to absorb the surrounding carbon, or wither and die. Everything that is idle decays, rots, dies. If a healthy limb of the human body be unnaturally bound up for a lengthened time it will become useless and practically dead. If any faculty of the mind be left unexercised, its disuse will give it the natural appearance of uselessness. If any moral power be discarded it will be feeble when called into play. If any innate knowledge be buried in habit or prejudice, its smothered voice must be dulled or deadened when heard at all. If fire have no air it will go out. If flowers have no heat they will die, and if they have no light they will be colourless. If metal be left in the damp it will rust. The greater part of man's powers is concerned with what he shall eat and drink and get carnal pleasure from; can it, then, be wondered at that those higher powers of his that are given to discern the concerns of his more particularly extra-mundane condition should be stifled by his indifference or blasted by his neglect ? Man's indifference about his true position in creation is the more remarkable inasmuch as he is thoroughly dissatisfied with his condition as it is. It may be true that fools rush in where angels fear to tread, but unreasonable timidity is not justifiable. What can be the use of reason to man if it be Divinely forbidden to use it in his highest interests? Why should this honourable distinction of reason in man be forbidden to be thus used by him, when every faculty, power and quality of everything else in creation is not only made use of, but is compelled to do duty ? Why should the otherwise universal law of utility place its barriers on the reason of man ? All other laws of Nature are illimitable; then, why should this one have boundaries, and that at the very place beyond which man's highest interests lie ? It would be worse than the cruelty of placing a hungry man before a dainty dish and forbidding him to eat. Yet nowhere else is there any cruelty in creation or Divine organization. To debar reasoning man from reasoning about his real condition would be the consummation of supreme atrocity, and this philosophy contends that it is the design of omniscience that man should think, decide, and do in strict accordance with his intuitive knowledge of laws that govern the whole creation, and that man himself has strangled those psychic abilities that are by Nature more infallible than his human senses.
Schismatic disputes about truth take place in a kind of regular periodicity. The same objections to prevalent beliefs arise, grow up, die out and revive with a persistency that defies annihilation, and thus shows their origin to have connection with the mainsprings of life. It is as impossible as it is undesirable to keep a reasoning and thinking man from thinking; and ideas that have been looked upon as the wildest theories in the region of thoughtful philosophy have had justifiable and natural grounds for their origin. New doctrines are not necessarily bad doctrines, and many excellent ones, that have certainly deserved a better or more generous fate, have come to untimely ends because of established prejudices, superstitions, and even from a reverent fear of Offending the Deity. Heretics have even gladly borne testimony at the stake for their convictions, and yet the truth they have proclaimed has failed for the time because the people have not been fit to receive it. Had the philosophic Greeks been practical scientists, the advance in their day of human knowledge would have been marvelous, for their philosophy is full of doctrines that science alone could practically establish. Science has done much to rend the veil from the dark existence of ignorance, and the people at large are now more liberally disposed and better fitted by education than ever they were to inquire into the truth and to stand by their convictions. Religion of late has received far more substantial assistance from Science than from Philosophy, but now, as it ought to be, like three modern graces they seek, hand-in-hand, the consummation of the highest interests of mankind. With united efforts they now unfold the truth with daring humility, and lay it bare with irresistible lucidity. There is no halting over barriers with mere delusive screens. Every obstacle is levelled and analyzed in their united presence, and their decisions are given without faintheartedness. There is no mock-modesty in their endeavours. Their earnestness is real, and their efforts are as genuine as they are noble. With a complete sacrifice of selfishness they seek the truth and nothing but the truth, discarding everything that will not bear the light of reason and reasonable faith, and assuredly their efforts will be crowned with that knowledge which maketh not ashamed, but maketh glad the heart of man.
Miracles‹Nature never forgives‹Nature's antidotes‹ Man's laws and Nature's‹The world is man's inheritance.
BY understanding the laws that control this ether, much that now seems marvellous and miraculous will stand out in beautiful simplicity. If miracles are works that require supernatural powers to perform them, we are constantly surrounded by miraculous deeds performed by the laws of Nature, which are supernatural powers. According to the generally accepted belief, the working of a miracle necessitates the violation of a law of Nature, but every such law is inviolable. The Deity alone is supposed to be able to do miracles, but Christ Himself has put it on record that this is not so, for He declared, ' Greater works than these shall ye do.' For the working of a miracle the Deity is supposed to call into use some idle or latent power or to create some new power.
Now, there are no idle reserves in Nature, no dormant powers, and no new creations. Everything is made, and everything made has work to do, and is constantly doing that work. The whole universe is in constant and regulated commotion; every atom is ever performing its allotted work, and no law of Nature ever ceases to execute the minutest details of its duty. There is absolutely no idleness in Nature ‹ no standstill ‹ not even in the character of any created thing. Creation is perfect; therefore the creation of anything more must cause imperfection. What can be done by one law is never delegated to another superfluous law. There is no superfluity of law in Nature, but simply and sufficiently enough. There are many ' miracles ' that cannot be explained until the laws of Nature are understood, but these ' miracles ' are not therefore inexplicable. All miracles are works done in perfect accordance with fixed laws of Nature, and all these laws are capable of being understood and used by man. By them he, too, can work miracles. It is possible for man to work so-called miracles. An ignorant man may stand by and see a skilful surgeon perform a wonderful operation that might well seem a miracle to his ignorance. Yet the beholder could do exactly the same thing if he were trained to do it, which he is capable of being. It is his removable ignorance that makes the work an impossibility to him. A skilled mechanic could put together machinery which to a common labourer might seem a work of impossibility, yet which even he could do if he were trained to do it. If the laws of Nature were understood and rightly used, many things and conditions that now seem mysteries and miracles would be beautiful simplicities.
There is no impunity to the breaker of a law of Nature, nor are any extenuating circumstances recognised. Ignorance, wisdom, inadvertence are unconsidered by Nature. If a man take poison wilfully, the result is exactly the same as if taken unwilfully. If a man throw himself from a height, he will fall, although he fully believes he can fly. Breaking Nature's laws brings its inevitable effect. It is different with the law of man; yet no one considers the unswerving rectitude of Nature a harshness. If an alien were to come into this country and ignorantly break our civil law, the transgression would be looked upon with leniency. Man may forgive; Nature never forgives transgression. The inevitable results of breaking her laws cannot justly be called evils, misfortunes, or calamities, since they so naturally result. By the wilful breaking of these laws, evils and misfortunes, as they are called, are invited with open eyes and understood expectation. But there are laws of Nature still unknown, ignorance about which does not hinder punishment for violation of them. When all the laws of Nature are known and obeyed by all, calamities and miseries will cease, life will be prolonged, and end naturally in decay. Perfection of human happiness is attainable in this world, but it will never be attained in the face of violated Nature.
Notwithstanding the inflexible severity towards law-breakers, Nature is too sympathetic with mankind to be even apparently cruel, and so wherever any of her laws can be violated, there she provides her antidote. The natural result of breaking a law must ensue, but it can be cured ‹ cured, not averted ‹ and the cure is as truly existent as the law is simple, although ignorance of the cure may be as great as the ignorance about the existence of the law. There is an antidote to every poison, physical and moral; a cure for every disease, corporal and mental. Death is no disease. but a natural transition.
Man's world is only a corner of the universe or one atom among created worlds, but he has made of that a counterfeit sphere differing from the entire natural world. There his discordant ways seem dominant; hence living strictly in accordance with the laws of Nature one naturally comes into collision with the laws of man, which are only powerful in his own little realm. So, in acting in accordance with the little laws of man, which are so limited, there is constant collision with the great laws of Nature, which are universal. These laws of man are not in agreement or harmony. The whole natural life of man can be comfortably lived in accordance with the laws of Nature, but not so in accordance with his own self-made laws. The laws of Nature are dominant over the whole universe, of which man's portion is but a part, whereas man's laws are not truly dominant, even in his own dominions, and in many instances they are utterly at variance with the laws of Nature. The constant war between these laws is both unequal and unnatural, and consequently man has ever the worst of the contest. The greater laws are inviolable and unalterable, whereas man's systems of government are simply successions of failures of experimenting with human life. Man is constantly, and honourably enough, according to his false premisses, trying to find out whether this way or that way be the true way of life, and all his political attempts to solve the question are failures that only darken the mystery of life, and will be so until he governs strictly in accordance with the fixed laws of Nature.
This world was made for the good of man, and the goodness comes, as all true life comes, by sympathetic vibrations. The glory of the heavens, the grandeur of Nature, the beauty of the earth, the submission and affection of animals, everything grand and good, everything pure and noble, have for their highest end in this life the administration of comfort or sympathy, the mystic motive power of life. Man is the primary object for which all this special sphere was created, just as the Deity is the primary Object to be glorified by the whole universe. This planet is peculiarly man's inheritance, although it is only a province of the great hierarchy. Man holds his government as tributary, not to fate or chance, but to the Deity, who is the Law-giver.
Youth and Nature‹Unnatural manhood‹Poetry of life
‹Progressive civilization‹Revelation of peace.
How different the world seems to real life as seen in the boyhood of man from what it does to the wise old man of the world whose acquired worldly habit has innocently made him a success ! Gray-headed men of worldly wisdom do not pity but envy youth this innocent simplicity as his calm head lies on his snowy pillow. The natural youth's dreams are as enviable as his life is pure. The sounds he hears are harmonies that vibrate in soothing sympathy with his natural feelings, and bring a flush of pleasure to his healthy countenance. No nightmare nor troubling fears disturb him as they do wise old men of the world who are not, as he is,
in close touch with Nature. Like a giant refreshed, he smilingly wakes and looks with pleasure on the dawning day that smiles on him. The singing of birds finds a ready echo in his breast. The dewy meadows, dotted with their myriads of opening petals, gladly meet his smiling countenance. The Æolian breezes in the leafy trees are accompaniments to the music of his happy heart. The unveiling sky, like his own opening life, looks brighter as he observes it. The air grows warmer like his own young bosom. Everything becomes more lovely and sympathetic like his own desires to be up and doing. His pets frisk at his ubiquitous presence. Old and young are infected by his joyful appearance. All is hope, confidence and poetry. He rejoices in his youth, and all this simply because he is natural. To him the world is as it was meant to be, and so he is to it.
The wise and acute man of the world, far astray from the simple ways of Nature, who daily accumulates wealth through agonizing worries of inexplicable mysteries, lays his restless head upon his pillow and works again the turmoils of the day. If insomnia, the natural disease of this fast age, permits sleep at all, it is amid dreams of fear that twitch his limbs, and with nightmare that makes his rest more laborious than his work. With yawning gloom he wakes to face the dawn that ushers in new doubts and cares. The rising sun is less in sympathy with him than morning clouds that beget more gloomy thoughts. The singing of birds is an elegy in the churchyard of his buried dreams of youth. The dewdrops on the flowers are reminders to him of the tears he knows the mysteries of life cause daily to be shed; the flowers seem to open lazily before a world from which they expect no welcome. The breeze is but the melancholy moan in sympathy with the never-ending groans of humanity. The beauty of Nature is a chimera, and the gaiety of life a mockery. Everything is as unreal as it was never meant to be, but the fact is, that it is he himself who is unreal, because he is unnatural. The world is in mournful sympathy with his acquired habitual life, and consequently in antipathy with what he feels it ought not to be.
The most bigoted religionist cannot denounce the naturalness of youth. Can the same be said of manhood, and if not, why not ? There is but the very thinnest veneer of naturalness in the ordinarily successful man. He is not, like youth, in unqualified sympathy with anything in Nature. There must be something wrong either with him or with Nature; but Nature¹s laws are infallible.
As youth grows sharp in the world's ways he is steadily blunting the keen edge of his real nature. As water is squeezed out of a sponge when taken out of its natural element, so the innate and intuitive aspirations of youth are expunged as he becomes more and more a man of the world, until, like the sponge, it seems as if he were really more useful in his new sphere than he would have been in his former. As the great demonstrative sympathy in young pet animals leaves them as they mature, so the natural poetry of life departs from the youth who assimilates himself with the hard logic of unsympathetic life, which is less and less in touch with the source of all life and sympathy.
Every age and nation has, wittingly or unwittingly, contributed to the high ideal-goal for which humanity is destined. Idolatry, Buddism, Mohammedanism, Christianity, and every conceivable form of religion ever practised, have helped to pave the way to the highest civilization. The devastations of warlike nations have opened the way quite as much as peaceful realms have paved it. Every form of Christianity has added its quota to the grand inevitable advancement. The prophets of all times and nations have been labourers in the common work. Iconoclasts have done their share. Every discoverer and inventor who has added to knowledge, every poet who has increased the love of ideal beauty, every scientist even when fighting against religion, every enthusiast in any cause of human interest has beaten music to which the human race has kept step in its forward march. The dust raised at any particular period, seeming to darken the air, has silently fallen by the wayside, while the main impression has been left. The seed lives, but the husk dies. Both the rise and fall of great nations have been incentives to human progress. Forward ! Onward ! Upward ! have been the audible orders to the race through persecution, peace and darkness, and on it marches as inevitably as the river flows down its course, unhindered, though apparently delayed by the temporary obstructions of quasi-religions, philosophies and political convulsions, all-heedless of the croakings of pessimists, alarmists and dogmatists. Admiration for the palatial structure of the architect obliterates all thoughts of the toiling quarrymen, and of lives that may have been lost in the course of the work. By progressive evolution, nearer and nearer, though still far distant, comes the time when, by knowledge of and submission to the laws in Nature, which will ultimately all become his servants, as some of them are now, man, knowing himself and his Creator, will live in a recognised brotherhood becoming the sons of God.
At the end of this nineteenth century we stand on the threshold of a new story of the grand architectural structure of evolutionary civilization, whose door has been thrown wide open by that Science which narrow-minded religionists have denounced as the greatest iconoclast of Time, although, in reality, the best servant Religion ever had. Through the windows of heaven, ever open, men, with the assistance of Science, see more clearly into the arcana of truth. The fascinating intuitive truths hitherto unprovable, that have ever clung to man like inherited superstitions, now stand in bold relief among recognised facts. The hitherto unaccountable whisperings in the soul are now as explicable ‹ being similar ‹ as the transmissions of conversations by the now common telephone. The mysterious intercommunications between mind and matter, soul and soul, man and God, are conducted by means of the material connecting-rod ‹ ether. The Deity has made the fixed laws
of Nature for His service: He uses them as a workman does his tools, and we intelligently ascribe to Him the power when any work is actually done by the law, just as to a sculptor, and not to the chisel, we give praise on beholding his work of art. These servants of His are faithful, and although they cannot be swerved from their duty, they are at the service of those who work with them, and no opposition can successfully stand in their way. To know them and oppose them is madness: standing against them in ignorance produces all the miseries and mysteries of life: to work hand-in-hand with them is to bring man into full sympathy with all that is good, pure, noble, and true, and is the only perfect proof of the perfection and glory of human existence.
The great revelation has been made, is being proclaimed, and will be universally received. Is it strange that this, like all revelations; should be a revelation of peace ? Is the world at peace ready to receive peace ? On the contrary, it never was so troubled in its intellect. There have been times of war and rumours of war, when countries and homes were desolated by an apparently inhuman desire for shedding of blood in the interests of some supposed or real principle. Kings and heroes have fought, made history and died, still making history by their death. Nations that have led the way in civilization have tottered and tumbled in overwhelming ruin. Never, as now, has society in the whole civilized world been so convulsed, and that in every individual breast with one unanimous although indescribable yearning for a new state of affairs, which it neither fully understands nor knows how to attain, because it is not itself but Nature working in it, with its mysterious determination to bring about the inevitable reception of the revealed truth. Kings tremble on their thrones; the wealthy classes are being weighed in the balance and threatened with universal equality; the masses of working classes are moving heaven and earth to better themselves and rise higher in the social sphere; education is bewildered, and ignorance is making flights of superstitious fancy; but what men are wishing for or attempting will not be the true issue, for Nature herself is the great active evolutionary power which is producing the commotion, and the results will be such as Nature, and not man, is striving to attain. The darkest hour is that before the dawn, calm precedes the storm, and the widespread social commotion now evident is the natural antecedent of the advent of peace which the law of man can neither hasten nor impede. Man works in the dark and gets credit for his work, but the law of Nature knows neither darkness nor cessation of evolution.