Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 124
Publication Date: 1906
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From the Foreword: 'This is a queer book. It is a marriage of the Ancient Occult Teachings to the latest and most advanced conceptions of Modern Science—an odd union, for the parties thereto are of entirely different temperaments. The marriage might be expected to result disastrously, were it not for the fact that a connecting link has been found that gives them a bond of common interest.'
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THIS book will deal with Life. It holds that Life is Universal—that it is inherent in, and manifests (in different degrees) in every part, particle, phase, aspect, condition, place, or relationship, in the World of Things that we call the Universe.
It holds that Life manifests in two aspects or forms, which are generally found by us in connection and co-operation with each other, but which are both, probably, an expression of some One Thing higher than either. These two aspects or forms, which together go to make up or produce that which we know as "Life," are known as (1) Substance or Matter; and (2) Mind. In this book the term "Substance" is used in preference to "Matter," owing to the fact that the term "Matter" has become closely identified with certain ideas of the Materialistic school of thought, and has generally been regarded by the public in the light of "dead matter," whereas this book holds that all Substance is Alive. The term "Mind" is used in the sense of "Mind, as we know it," rather than as "Mind, as it is"—or, as "The Cosmic Mind." In some places the term "Mind-principle" is used to convey the idea of "a portion of the Great Principle of Mind, of which that which we call 'Mind' is but a small and but partially expressed portion." These terms are explained and illustrated as we proceed. The aspect of "Energy or Force" is not treated as a separate aspect or form of Life, in this book, for the reason that it is regarded as merely a manifestation of Mind, as will appear as we proceed. We have much to say regarding Motion, but the writer has tried to explain and prove that, at the last, all Motion results from Mental Action, and that all Force and Energy is Vital-Mental Force and Energy.
This book is not intended to run along metaphysical or theological lines—its field is different. And so, while it recognizes the importance of these branches of human thought, still, it finds that its own particular field is sufficient to engross its entire attention, for the moment, and, consequently the aforesaid subjects shall not be touched upon except incidentally, in connection with the subject matter of the book.
This being the case, there will be no discussion of the "origin of Life"—the question of "creation"—the problems of theology and metaphysics—the riddle of the "Why and Wherefore" of Life and the Universe. The writer has his own opinions upon these questions, but feels that this is not the place in which to air the same. For the purposes of the book, he prefers to leave every reader to his own favorite views and conceptions regarding these great subjects, feeling that the views regarding Life, Mind, Motion and Substance, that are advanced in this book, may be accepted by any intelligent reader, without prejudice to his, or her, accepted religious or philosophical views.
The writer sees that this something called "Life" exists—he finds it in evidence everywhere. And he sees it always in its aspects of Substance and Mind. And he feels justified in regarding "Life" as always existing in, and manifesting in these aspects—always in conjunction—at least, Life "as we know it."
And he finds certain apparent Laws of Life in operation in the Universe to which all Life, in all of its aspects, is apparently amenable. And he feels justified in considering these Laws constant, and invariable, and unchangeable so long as the Universe, as it now is, exists.
And with the above views in mind, this book will proceed to a consideration of its subject, without attempting to peer behind the veil separating the Universe from its Causer—Life from its Source.
But in justice to reader, subject and writer, the latter has thought it well to state that he does recognize, not only the veil, but That-which-is-behind-the-Veil. To proceed without this statement would be unfair and misleading. The writer wishes to be understood positively upon this point, even though the declaration may bring forth the derisive jeer of those who feel that they "have outgrown" this conception; or else the calm, superior, pitying smile of those who feel that the Universe is its own Cause and Effect. By "Universe," the writer means "The whole body of Things" (Webster). His declaration means that he believes in "That-which-is-above-Things."
The writer prefers not to attempt to "define" THAT which he calls "The Infinite." The word "Infinite" means "without limit in time, space, power, capacity, knowledge or excellence" (Webster). And to "define" is to "limit"; "mark the limits of"; "mark the end of," etc. The term "define," as applied to "The Infinite," is ridiculous—an absurd paradox. The writer echoes Spinoza's statement: "To define God is to deny Him." And so there shall be no attempt at definition or limitation.
But the human mind, in considering the subject, is bound by its own laws to think of "The Infinite" as Real, and actually being and existent, if it thinks of It at all. And if it thinks of It as "Infinite," it must, by its own laws, think of It as Causeless; Eternal; Absolute; Everywhere-present; All-Powerful; All-Wise. The human mind is compelled to so consider The Infinite, if it thinks of It at all. But even in so thinking of It as "being" these things, it is doing something like "defining" or "limiting" It, for The Infinite must not only "be" those things, but it must "be" so much more, that "those things" are but as a grain of dust on the desert as compared to the real "Being" of The Infinite. For the "things" mentioned are but "finite" or "defined" things—things possessed by the Finite Things—and, at the best can be but symbols of the attributes or qualities of The Infinite; even the words "attributes" or "qualities" being an absurdity as applied to The Infinite. This view, also, must be reported by the human reason, if it thinks about the matter at all.