The Goal of Life, by Hiram Butler, , at sacred-texts.com
A subject of so vast proportions as the title of this chapter indicates, naturally suggests exhaustive study of the investigations of scientists, ancient and modern; but for the sake of brevity, and because the conclusions of ancient philosophy are not accepted in our time, we omit its consideration and confine ourselves to an examination of a small portion of modern investigation.
The unity of opinion, however, on the part of our modern scientists and the fact that their investigations are accessible to every one, make it unnecessary to quote from them, more than just enough to show that the truths we are about to present are in trend with the scientific mind of the day.
It seems that the only objection science has to offer to the theory that the planets are inhabited is that the conditions existing upon them make life, as we know it, impossible. They object that upon certain of the planets, and especially upon the sun, there is an absence of the conditions that make life possible upon our own earth. But what do we
mean by the terms life, living matter, and so on? In their investigations, physicists have reached the point where matter is reduced to a mere center of force, and where heat is only the rate of speed of motion in matter. In the light of these facts, can the line between living and non-living matter be drawn? It has never been drawn, and we are prepared to say that it never will be.
Professor Bose in his book entitled "Response in the Living and Non-Living," claims to have scientifically demonstrated that there is no essential difference between animal, vegetable, or mineral life. He shows also that metals, like the animal organism, can be put to sleep, poisoned, revived, and finally killed.
Thus we are forced to the conclusion that what we call matter is a living organism.
It should be remembered that iron is purified by fire, as in fact are all the metals. It does not kill the life of iron or steel to put it into the furnace and melt it, on the contrary, it seems to bring it into a condition where the life-qualities are more perfectly manifested. And our earth, science tells us, has come from a state of incandescence. Intense heat has prepared it to bring forth living organisms. Yes, morethe heat is absolutely essential to the perpetuation of these organisms.
It is true that our own life requires what we call a moderate amount of heat, but it is well known that there are microbes that subjected to a very
intense heat still live. If life in its diminutive forms exists under such conditions, may not the same possibility for life exist in more highly organized forms? May there not be organisms of intelligence, great and mighty minds, whose natural element is a heat transcending our imagination?
The Biblical account states that the three Hebrew children were thrown into a furnace heated seven times hotter than it was wont, that Nebuchadnezzar looking in saw a fourth form like unto a son of man, and that the three Hebrews came out unharmed. The Bible also declares that God is a "consuming fire;" and while such quotations may have no scientific bearing, they at least show that Revelation seeks to impress upon our minds not only that the cause of all life and being is fire, but that fire in itself is more like God than anything else that we know.
This is in harmony with the scientific conclusion that every substance originated in firethe incandescent gas from which worlds were madeand may not the Christ have announced a law when he said, "I came out from God, and I return to God"? If the planets came out from fire, may they not return to fire? If God, the Source of all mind, of all life, of all actionin short, of all there isis a consuming fire and if the highest angels that the earth's inhabitants have ever seen appear as flaming fire, is it not reasonable to believe that those blazing suns that illuminate the heavens are the
abodes of high and holy beings whose very substance is a flame of fire.
When we say their very substance is a "flame of fire," do not allow your mind to think of fire from the standpoint of a child. Science has demonstrated that fire is nothing more or less than what is called matter in great activity, the atoms of which are in violent vibration, and there are evidences in human life that the higher the organism the more rapid are the vibrations of the life-currents in the organism. So that if we allow our reason full scope in connection with what has already been accepted as Divine Revelation and as the truths of science, we may believe, with good reason, that all the heavenly bodies are inhabited.
While inquiring into the facts relative to the universe, the reader should remember that the search is not merely for the wonderful, but for the purpose of confirming and enlarging our conception of God. The answer to the question:
ARE THE PLANETS AND SUNS INHABITED?
that naturally arises in the mind, necessarily reveals the wonders and greatness of the mind, the consciousness, the intelligence that we call Spirit, God, the Cause of all things.
Astronomers, in their investigation of the solar system, perceive that the larger planets lying beyond our own are less dense and, to a certain degree, self-luminous, and they inquire, "Is it Possible for life to exist upon these worlds?" Such
a question can be answered only by logical deduction.
The best intellects will say, "If we have to consider these things at all, we must search for the most logical hypotheses, and there wait until evidences multiply to assure us of their correctness or incorrectness."
In the absence of inspiration, if men cannot trust their reason, there is nothing that they can trust; therefore, very little is accepted as fact in regard to the systems of the universe. In order to reach conclusions by means of the reason, we must first examine facts upon our own planet and from these facts draw inferences as to what exists upon other worlds.
Turning our attention to our own world and traversing the extreme north among icebergs and perpetual snows, we find there the Eskimos and many forms of animal life; going to the hottest part of our globe we find that inhabited; in fact we find no place too hot, no place too cold, no place too barrenin short, no conditions existing on our globe which make life impossible.
Furthermore, the geologist has been able to turn a few pages of Nature's past history, and he has discovered the remains of weird and strange creaturesindeed it is impossible to picture the great diversity of vegetable and animal life which has been found to exist on this globelife which it would be unable to support under the present
terrestial conditions. He has been able to turn pages that extend over millions of years; but he has found no period that does not give evidence of life.
Finally, it has been proved that the earth itself is a body of life, its very substance is life. Sometime we shall know that there is no such thing as dead matter, that all is mind, spirit, or soul-substance.
We believe that the majority of those who have studied our system and the universe in general, agree with the astronomer Proctor in "Other Worlds Than Ours" when he says, concerning the habitability of planets and systems of worlds:
I have already spoken of the conclusions to be drawn from the existence of the same materials in the substance of the sun that exist around us on this earth. I have shown that we are compelled to regard this general resemblance of structure as sufficient to prove that the other planets resemble the earth, since we have no reason to believe that our earth bears an exceptionally close resemblance to the sun as respects the elements of which she is composed.
Since, then, we have reason to believe that all the planets which circle around the sun are constituted of the same materials which exist in his substance, though these materials are not necessarily nor probably combined in the same proportions throughout the solar system, we have every reason which analogy can give us for believing that the
planets circling around Betelgeux or Aldebaran are constituted of the same materials which exist in the substance of their central luminary.
Thus we are led to a number of interesting conclusions even respecting orbs which no telescope that man can construct is likely to reveal to his scrutiny. The existence of such elements as sodium or calcium in those other worlds suggests the probable existence of the familiar compounds of these metalssoda, salt, lime, and so on. Again, the existence of iron and other metals of the same class carries our minds to the various useful purposes which these metals are made to subserve on the earth. We are at once invited to recognize that the orbs circling around those distant suns are not meant merely to be the abode of life, but that intelligent creatures, capable of applying these metals to useful purposes, must exist in those worlds. We need not conclude, indeed, that at the present moment every one of those worlds is peopled with intelligent beings, because we have good reason for believing that throughout an enormous proportion of the time during which our earth has existed as a world no intelligent use has been made of the supplies of metal existing in her substance. But that at some time or other those worlds have been or will be the abode of intelligent creatures seems to be a conclusion very fairly deducible from what we now know of their probable structure. * * *
Thus the fact, that the stars send forth heat to the worlds which circle around them, suggests at once the thought that on those worlds there must
exist vegetable and animal forms of life; that natural phenomena, such as we are familiar with as due to the solar heat, must be produced in those worlds by the heat of their central sun; and that works such as those which man undertakes on earthworks in which intelligent creatures use Nature's powers to master Nature to their purposesmust go on in the worlds which circle around Aldebaran and Betelgeux, around Vega, Capella, and the blazing Sirius.
Professor Proctor's reasoning here is good so far as it goes, and we believe meets with general approval. His reasoning, that the fact that these instrumentalities of use exist is in itself an evidence that there are intelligences to use them, is good, because all who have given thought to Nature's methods see that use determines all qualities, whether good or evil, and that nothing exists in this world that has not a use; and if there is an intelligent Creator it certainly would impeach his intelligenceit even impeaches the intelligence of a manto be constantly producing useless things; only an idiot would sit and work continuously when no object or use could be accomplished.
When an intelligent man is employed in work he seeks to serve a use. Is God less intelligent than man? Has he created millions, untold millions of worlds and systems of worlds, that have no use? Can we imagine that these untold millions of worlds exist only to beautify our little grain of
sand? Such thoughts are unworthy of intelligent beings.
No doubt the present theorythat the sun is an incandescent mass, because the solar rays on striking the earth generate heatis destined soon to be superceded by one more worthy of the intelligence of our day. Professor Proctor says:
"We know that the sun is the sole source whence light and heat are plentifully supplied to the worlds that circle around him. The question immediately suggests itself: Whence does the sun derive those amazing stores from whence he is continually supplying his dependent worlds? We know that, were the sun a mass of burning matter, he would be consumed in a few thousand years. We know that were he simply a heated body, radiating heat and light continually into space, he would in like manner have exhausted all his energies in a few thousand yearsa mere day in the history of his system. Whence, then, comes the enormous supply of force which he has afforded for millions on millions of years, and which also our reason tells us he will continue to afford while the worlds which circle around him have need of itin other words, for countless ages yet to come?"
The recent discovery of radium has already suggested to many astronomers, that our sun and all the suns of the universe, may be luminous from another cause than fireas fire is generally knownthat there is a light that has the appearance of fire, like the burning bush that burned, but was
not consumed, which Moses saw when he was commissioned to deliver Israel from bondage.
That which is called fire has been a mystery through all time, and is as much a mystery to-day as it was in the days of the fire worshipers, yea, more of a mystery to-day, for the child-race lived so near to nature that the thought formed in its brain was by virtue of the Universal Mind, and came nearer the truth, in many respects, than the mind that has shut itself against everything that cannot be demonstrated in the physical.
When our philosophers have fully accepted the fact that the so-called blazing suns are not blazing with consuming fire, but with an illuminating property which perhaps will always be beyond the power of the deepest research to fathom, then their theories will be reversed. Revelation says that "God is a consuming fire," so that until they are able to comprehend something of God, they can never fully comprehend the cause of light.
We repeat, when philosophers are able to grasp this thought they will find that in reasoning from analogy concerning nature's methods they will need make no leaps. Evolution is generally accepted as the universal law. It is certainly the law of all things that we know on earth. Gradual development seems to characterize everything that exists. It is said that, "Every generation becomes weaker and wiser." As mind develops in the man the physical strength and avoirdupois lessen.
Everything points to the truth of the statement in Revelation that all growthevolutionary processesis carrying "the whole creation" onward and upward toward the likeness of its Cause, and if the first Cause of all things is Spirit, and the tendency of all things is toward Spirit, then it follows that the avoirdupois, the density of substance, must decrease, as, not man only, but worlds go on in their process of refinement and spiritualization.
There is a marked difference between the organisms of the lower races and the organisms of the higher; and we know too that there is a marked difference in the light that shines from the face of one of a highly intellectual organismespecially when the mind is clear and active and everything in the body is at its bestand in the light from the face of a lower type. A natural light shines forth from a highly spiritualized face, a light that is not imaginary but real, a light that anybody that is in the habit of observing can see even from a distance.
Some years ago I called on a friend who, on my arrival, was not at home, but soon after he came in and stepped from the hall into the back parlor. I was sitting in the front parlor by the window and, as he looked in while taking off his overcoat, I said to his wife: "What is the matter with Mr. B?" She inquired why I asked, and I replied; "His face is so dark." She then informed me that he had been out on business in which there
was much trouble and anxiety. All this had cast over his face a shadow, a darkness so marked that it could be seen the length of the room. Probably all who are observant have noticed that a condition of anxiety or disappointment throws a shadow over the face, making the countenance actually shadowy and dark.
If, then, in ordinary life, a state of mind illuminates or darkens the countenanceand many readers will bear witness to this statementis not this fact at least a suggestion that the more highly developed the soul, the greater the luminosity that emanates from the body?
We are told many times in sacred history that celestial visitants were shining as the light, in some cases so bright that they could not be looked upon. Development means the increasing and the intensifying of the life energy, which beyond a certain point reaches luminosity. The fact that development and spiritualization are always accompanied by illumination has been accepted by all spiritually developed men, and by those who know something of mature souls that have passed into the spirit-world; and from the evidence that we have been able to gather we have come to the conclusion that as worlds age and develop, they, as well as their inhabitants, become more spiritualized and luminous.
We reason that there can be nothing born, nothing come into manifestation without a parent, let it
be plant, animal, or man. In continuing the analogy we are forced to the conclusion that there is a parental source for every world, and if worlds have a parentage, then we necessarily reject the "Nebular Hypothesis" so far as it relates to the formation of worlds independent of the sun around which they revolve. If worlds form from nebulæ in space without any parental agency, then we conclude that life may be born on our planet without the agency of parentage; in fact we are left open to accept almost any theory. It is not so unreasonable to suppose that a mother could bring forth a child without a father as to believe that a world can be formed without a father or a mother.
On the other hand, it is evident that worlds are ruled by the same law that governs individuals, that our sun has brought fourth and thrown into space a system of worlds, and that some of these worlds have begun to have a family of their own. It is not known if the younger planetsthat is, Venus and Mercuryhave moons. But Earth has one child, the moon; Mars has two; Jupiter, seven; and Saturn, ten. So we conclude that as worlds are born from their parent-suns they are less in size, denser, and more opaque, and need the more direct rays of their parent-sun for growth and maturity. But as ages roll on, these worlds grow and become more self-existent, more refined and luminous, and organize for themselves a family of worlds, shedding their light upon their children's life.
Thus is carried forward the work of birth and development in all systems of suns and worlds, and if it is a law that the progress of every world is from density and opacity to refinement and luminosity, then the astronomical observations that many of the suns floating in space are less dense than our sun, and that the outermost planets of our solar system are less dense than the inner planets, are undoubtedly correct and substantiate our conclusion.
We believe it is generally accepted that light is due to a certain speed of electric vibrations. We have been led to say that light is life in motion, and light on one plane of existence is darkness to another.
For instance, we have animals and birds on our planet at the present time that evidently never saw the sun. The light of the sun to them is darkness. A good illustration of this is the owl. The owl may be sitting upon a fence or the limb of a tree and if the sun is shining brightly you may approach him and he is apparently blind, but as the shadows begin to deepen he begins to see a little, and when total darkness reigns he sees plainly. This is not only true of the owl but of many insects, birds and animals.
This is at least a suggestion of the following general law; namely, that when a world is born from its central sun it receives its light and heat from that center and that it cannot even see light
emanating from a higher center, nor feel the heat from a higher center, for the vibrations of that higher center cannot touch it. We believe that if there are inhabitants on our moon that the earth would be to them a sun and that they would have no consciousness of our sun.
The same would be true of all the satellites of Mars, Jupiter, and the other planets. We see the sun and feel its light and are dependent upon its emanating life for our existence, because it is our parent, and we believe that when the inhabitants of the earth have developed to a higher plane of existence they will begin to see shining worlds in space that now are entirely invisible to us; suns and systems so glorious and bright, so refined and ethereal that their emanations do not touch anything that belongs to us and therefore we know nothing of their existence. So that there may be suns immensely greater and brighter than our sun even nearer to us than our sun and yet we know nothing about them.
Again we quote from Professor Proctor's book entitled "Other Worlds Than Ours:"
Or if we estimate Jupiter rather by the forces inherent in his system, if we contemplate the enormous rapidity with which his vast bulk whirls round upon his axis, or trace the stately motion with which he sweeps onward on his orbit, or measure the influences by which he sways his noble family of satellites, we are equally impressed with
the feeling that here we have the prince of all the planets, the orb which, of all others in the solar scheme, suggests to us conceptions of the noblest forms of life. The very symmetry and perfection of the system which circles around Jupiter have led many to believe that he must be inhabited by races superior in intelligence to any which people our earth. The motions of these bodies afford indeed to our astronomers a noble subject of study.
If the course of all worlds, as well as the course of their inhabitants, is from the grosser to the finer, then the inevitable conclusion is, that the sun, our parent world, must be a planet in a state of development so far beyond, so much more spiritualized than our world, that its light is spiritual fire, and if our central luminary has been born from another world, we may expect that the parent of our sun is as much beyond our sun in luminosity, refinement and spirituality, as our sun is more luminous than our earth. Following the same analogy leads us to say that the parent of our sun must have a parent from which it was born and that it is also transcendently more refined and spiritualized than its child. If worlds are born from their parents and become luminous suns, their density decreasing, or, in other words, if they become more refined, then, by an ever increasing ratio we may trace on, on, infinitely on, from child to parent in world-life, until worlds become so refined and attenuated that they are, so far as we are able to discern, immaterial.
It also follows from the mutual relation of a planet and its people that, as those luminous worlds unfold and develop, so their inhabitants unfold and develop, becoming together more refined and luminous; and as this refinement and spiritualization is the law of growth, there necessarily is a point where these immense worlds, with their inhabitants, become invisibleeven spirit-substance to our comprehension.
And if worlds have existed from all eternity, then it necessarily follows that all space thruout the immensity of the universe is filled and inter-filled with worlds and systems of worlds, each governed by its own law, and each becoming higher, and still higher, more spiritual, and yet more spiritual, fine and etherial, so that our solar system may be floating through a body of immense worlds, so refined, so spiritualized, that we have no consciousness of their presence, nor they of ours.
Thus the manifestations of God, Spirit, are without limit, as to extent and planes of existence. Here our finite thought ends, but we see that there is no place where there is not an expression of God, a body formed by that Spirit that is omnipresent, who is the formless mind and will of all universes: formless, yet forming all things; expressionless, yet organizing forms to become the expression of his own great mind; and thus we find ourselves thinking of God, Spirit, Formless-Substance, continually
forming and expressing himself through the forms that he has made.
We quote from the Literary Digest (N. Y. Nov. 10, 1906) the following excerpts from the work of Prof. Kirschmann and comments, as they furnish interesting thought on the line of the foregoing chapter.
"LIFE IN OTHER WORLDS."
"The probability, or even the possibility, of life in other worlds than our own is denied by the veteran English scientist, Dr. Alfred Russel Wallace, in his book on "Man's Place In The Universe." This opinion is vigorously combated in a pamphlet reprinted from the Transactions of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (Toronto, 1906), by Dr. A. Kirschmann, professor of philosophy in the University of Toronto. Space forbids allusion to all of Dr. Kirschmann's arguments, but he makes, in particular, an ingenious use of the hypothesis of the relativity of things, which is worthy of notice. To the relativity of magnitudes, for instance, he will admit absolutely no limit, and he therefore maintains the possibility of living beings so huge that every molecule of their bodies is as great as our solar system, or so small that countless hosts of them may dwell together on one of our molecules. 'Perhaps,' he says, 'the whole galactic system is nothing but one cell of an immense organism.' To one who holds this view of matter
and life, argument designed to show that there are no human beings on Venus or Mars, are evidently inadequate. Says Professor Kirschmann:
We must not forget that the greatness of the universe known to us is only relative. The law of relativity of all magnitudes is not a speculation, but a fact which is given with every experience, and which can be verified at any moment. But we have become accustomed to close our eyes to it. There is absolutely nothing great or small in the world; and the mathematical conception, so much indulged in, of the approximation to zero is one of the worst fictions which human intelligence ever invented. There can be no part of substance or of empty space though ever so small, which, regarded from another standpoint, is not a large part of matter or of space. Consequently, a single molecule of chalk with its atoms of calcium and oxygen and carbonthese again consisting of millions of ions, and these again of sub-ions, and so on ad infinitummay be a whole solar system again with a central body, and planets and satellites, containing life in many forms, but for our measure too small to be ever perceived. And, on the other hand, the whole universe as far as we can fathom it may be only a small aggregation of particles or cells of a greater and higher organism absolutely unfathomable by us.
Somewhat similar to this infinity of magnitudes is the infinity of physical conditions which the writer invokes as another argument in favor of the
possibility of life in other worlds. The laws of nature, it is true, may be constant thruout all space and all timethough Professor Kirschmann reminds us that even this is not susceptible of proofbut the variation of conditions may still be infinite. We have no reason to believe that life may not be possible under all these variations, for all conditions are relative just as magnitude is. For every change in temperature, in the intensity of gravity, and in the chemical composition of atmospheres, and for every possible combination of these three, there may be a specially adapted organism somewhere. Says the writer:
Physically there is no such thing as cold. The transformation of the uniform series of possible physical temperatures from zero to infinite, different only in intensity, into a manifoldness of two antagonistic qualities, heat and cold, with even a changeable zero-point between, is purely physical. If this zero-point can vary for us in the different seasonsor on account of after-effects and contrastwe should assume that it can vary considerably more under other conditions of gravity and pressure. It is said that life could not exist on Jupiter because its surface is still red-hot. But if the zero-point of the sense of temperature of the Jovians is shifted for a few hundred degrees they will have as pleasant a walk on that red surface as we do on the green grass.
After all, the ordinary notions of physical temperature as used in cosmology are rather vague and
misleading If temperature consists in time and space relations of the kinetic or dynamic elements of matter, or in changes of those relations, then it is clear that the elements themselves no matter whether they are atoms, centers of force, ions, or electrons, can not have any temperature at all.
Even Wallace's contention that life is dependent on the presence of carbon, nitrogen, and water is not admitted by Professor Kirschmann. Under present conditions other elements enter into organic combination, and he sees no reason why the relative importance of these should not be vastly greater in other places and at other times. He would admit, perhaps, the possibility of a man made out of iron, bisulfid of carbon, and chlorin. He says:
To say that life is dependent on the prevalence of the four organogens on the surface of a planet is again incorrect. They are only the organogens under the conditions of heat, gravity and pressure as they prevail on our earth. Under other conditions of heat and pressure, other substances, iron, gold, silicon, may play the role of organogens and form compounds with similar characteristics as those very complex and changeable chemical (organic) combinations which respond with partial or complete decomposition to slight stimulation. The neglect of this circumstance is the greatest mistake all those have made who have hitherto written on the subject.
To cap the climax, our knowledge of our own
relationship to the external world is only relative. Professor Kirschmann says of this:
There is one more point which should make us modest with regard to our statements about what is possible in other worlds. We are accustomed to think that we are a part of this worldan item in space and time. But this is a matter of belief, not of knowledge or science. On closer examination we find that what we can say with certainty is that the whole world as we know it is a part of usof our consciousness. Not that we are in space and timebut space and time are in us. They are the glasses through which alone we can see. We can look through them, but not at them. If we attempt to take them off to look at them, we are totally blind. What they are objectively we do not know. They are the tools with which consciousness works. . . . . Time and space are for us the instruments with which we grasp the world. We have a lease of these instruments, and usually a lease for less than ninety-nine years. Whether with different mental instruments other worlds may be opened to us, whether the evil in this world is real or is only a distortion produced by the inadequacy of the tools or the imperfection of us who handle them, we cannot know in this life. We may discover when the lease runs out.