The Goal of Life, by Hiram Butler, , at sacred-texts.com
In the preceding chapter we considered the great name "Yahveh," "I will be what I will to be," from its historic point of view. We will now endeavor to consider it in its manifestation in, and in its relation to mind exhibited in the human organism; and also in its great, general manifestation throughout the known and the unknown universe.
It is manifested in the human organism as will. In the wilt of man resides his only power, and may we not ask: Is there any known power in the whole universe that is not will-power? What means this wondrous activity in everything?in the small and in the great, in the telescopic and in the microscopic, in what is infinitely beyond the microscopic as well as what is infinitely beyond the telescopic?
We quote the following from Camille Flammarion:
Thus stars, suns, planets, worlds, comets, shooting stars, aerolitesall the bodies that compose this vast universe, in a wordare resting, not on solid bases, as seemed to be demanded by the primitive and childish conceptions of our ancestors,
but on the invisible and immaterial forces which rule and direct their motions. These millions and millions of heavenly bodies are endowed with their respective motions for the sake of stability and are mutually supported by each other across the gulf that separates them
In fact, the entire cortege is moving, flying, falling, rolling, rushing through space, but at such relative distances that all appear to be at rest. . .
Now the constitution of the sidereal universe is formed on the same model as that of bodies which we designate as material. All bodies, organic or inorganic, man, animal, plant, stone, iron, bronze, are composed of molecules that are perpetually in motion and never touch. These molecules are themselves composed of atoms which do not touch. Each of these atoms is infinitely small and invisible, not only to the eye, not only to the microscope, but even to the thought, since it is possible that these atoms may be nothing more than centers of force. The calculation has been made that in the head of a pin there are no less than eight sextillions of atoms, or eight thousand times a thousand millions multiplied by a thousand million, and that in a cubic centimeter of air there is a sextillion of molecules. All these atoms, all these molecules, are in motion under the influence of directing forces, and, relatively to their dimensions, are separated from each other by wide distances. We may even believe that there is in principle but one description of atoms, and that it is the number of primitive atoms, essentially simple and homogeneous,
their manner of arrangement and their motion which determine the diversity of molecules; a molecule of gold or iron differing from a molecule of sulphur, of oxygen, of hydrogen, etc., only in the number, the disposition and the motion of the primitive atoms of which it is composed; each molecule being a system, a microcosm.
Whatever idea we may adopt, however, of the essential constitution of bodies, the truth that is recognized to-day and cannot henceforth be contested is, that the motionless point that our imagination has been seeking has no existence anywhere. Archimedes may vainly clamor for a place to stand so that he may move the world. Worlds, like atoms, repose on the invisible, on immaterial force; everything is in motion, solicited by the force of attraction and as if in search of that motionless point which flies from us as we pursue it and which has no existence, since in the infinite the center is everywhere and nowhere. The so-called positivists, who declare with so much assurance that 'Matter alone reigns with its properties,' and who smile with disdain upon the researches of thinking men, should first tell us what they mean by that famous word 'matter.' If they did not stop at the surface of things, if they had any idea that appearances may serve as a cloak for intangible realities, they would doubtless be a little more modest.
As for ourselves, who seek the truth with no preconceived ideas and unbiased in favor of any system, it seems to us that the essence of matter
remains to us as mysterious as the essence of force, the visible universe being something entirely different from the form under which it presents itself to our senses. In fact, this visible universe is composed of invisible atoms; it rests in apparently void space and the forces which guide and direct it are themselves immaterial and invisible. It would be a less daring speculation to affirm that matter has no existence, that all is dynamism, than to pretend to declare the existence of a universe that is exclusively material. As to the material support of the world, it is a sufficiently piquant remark to make that it disappeared at exactly the same time that the science of mechanics gained its victories proclaiming the triumph of the invisible. . . . . the highest effort of our intelligence has for its last resting place, for its supreme reality, the Infinite!"
When Flammarion wrote this it was considered very fanciful, but physicists by experimenting with radio-active substances have discovered many things concerning the atom which less than thirty years ago they were unable to prove by a single scientific experiment.
The atom has always been considered indestructible and indivisible, using Flammarion's language, "too small for thought," but the doctrine of the immutability of the atom, which has held sway for almost two thousand years, has ceased to exist.
Sir Oliver Lodge says:
. . . . it is noteworthy how very small these electrical particles [particles smaller than atoms, called 'electrons'] are compared with the atoms of matter to which they are attached. If an electron is represented by a sphere an inch in diameter, the diameter of an atom of matter on the same scale is a mile and a half. . . . An atom is not a large thing, but if composed of electrons, the spaces between them are enormous compared with their sizeas great relatively as the spaces between the planets in the solar system And it becomes a reasonable hypothesis to surmise that the whole of the atom may be built up of positive and negative electrons interleaved together . . . . The oppositely charged electrons are to be thought of in this hypothesis as flying about inside the atom, as a few thousand specks like full stops [periods] might fly about inside this hall forming a kind of cosmic system under their strong mutual forces, and occupying the otherwise empty region of space which we call the atomoccupying it in the same sense that a few scattered but armed soldiers can occupy a territoryoccupying it by forceful activity, not by bodily bulk, or according to Lord Kelvin, rotating with inconceivable velocity.
The hypothesis of Flammarion and many other eminent scientists, that "the atom may be nothing but a center of force," seems to have been proved by Professor Rutherford of Montreal. He has shown that the main fact of radio-activity consists
in the throwing away with great violence actual atoms of matter, such as may be stopped by a thin sheet of paper; of this Sir Oliver Lodge says:
"Their speed, indeed, far exceeds that of any cannon ball that ever existed, being as much faster than a cannon ball as that is faster than a snail's crawl; a hundred times faster than the fastest flying star, these atomic projectiles constitute the fastest moving matter known There is every reason to believe that a minute scrap of radium, scarcely perceptible to the eye may go on emitting these energetic projectiles for hundreds of years."
And our experience coincides with Sir Oliver's:
"That whatever hypothesis and speculation we may frame, we cannot exceed the reality in genuine wonder; and believe that the simplicity and beauty of the truth concerning even the material universe, when we know it, will be such as to elicit feelings of reverent awe and adoration."
Using a very different process of investigation from what these noted physicists have used, we have reached the same conclusion, namely, that, what we call matter is in reality composed of invisible substance, and what we call the atom is only a tremendous reservoir of energy.
Even as far back as the time of Descartes we find that he "rejected the atomic hypothesis, holding that there could be no vacuum in the universe,
and making matter essentially synonymous with extension." The most illustrious of our modern physicists, Lord Kelvin, considers ether as "an elastic solid filling all space."
If the huge cables that hold up the East River bridge in New York are composed of atoms each revolving in its sphere as the planets and suns of the universe, and each atom in itself is a minute solar system comprising a central part, around which a thousand or many more particles revolve, then the questions arise: What is the great strength holding up that mighty structure? What is the power that holds those cables together? What is this apparently "solid substance" composing the bridge? Why do these electrons always hold their orderly positions? What is this invisible ether through which they fly with such inconceivable velocity? To answer, we are thrown back upon the revelation of that great name, namely, the power of the great namethe will, the I will be what I will to be.
The same question may be asked concerning all material substances, but there is no response from modern research but the echoing question"What is it?"
If we take the Bible Revelation, namely, that God, in the beginning, created the heaven and the earth, and again that God created these things by a word, we then conclude that all is mind, spirit.
[paragraph continues] We know that a "word" is the expression of a thought sent out by the will, endowed with the potentiality of the will. In the creation of the world this Word must have been endowed with the potentiality of the Spiritthe Will, "Yahveh." The Word had the power in itself to make a world make itself; for, from scientific investigation, it has been shown that there is a general trend to the formative-processes in all nature. For example, the tiny seed-germ in the earth has in it the power to gather to itself material to construct a body according to its kind, character, and quality, and this body, like all other bodies, has the power to hold its own structural integrity. The body of man, which is constantly undergoing a material change, still holds its form until the will fails, or is overcome by a stronger force, then death comes.
What is death?We say it is the absence of life.Yes.What is life?This has been the question of all the ages, and the answer has never been found.Why?-Because there is no comparison. Life is, and there is nothing like it. In the Scriptures God said, "I am, and there is none like unto me," and if God, the Soul of the universe, is life, life is, and there is nothing like it; and since we can know the qualities of things only by comparison and there is nothing with which to compare life, it is impossible to answer the question: What is life?
Tennyson realized this truth when he wrote these beautiful lines:
In trying to answer the question, What is life? we cannot stop with organized life as we know it, for there is abundant evidence that all space and all substance is filled with quivering, dancing, sparkling life. "Inanimate matter," a phrase much used twenty-five years ago, has now given place to "the life of matter." M. Bose, whose ingenious experiments we have before mentioned, has shown that matter reveals more and more the qualities which were formerly attributed to living beings only.
Gustave Le Bon says:
"Physiologists measure, as is well known, the sensitiveness of a being by the degree of excitation necessary in order to obtain from it a reaction. The being is considered very sensitive, when it acts under slight stimuli. Applying similar tests to brute matter we can show that the most rigid substance and the least sensitive in appearance, a bar of metal, for example, is really incredibly sensitive."
We know that when the body dies something leaves it. The materialists say that the life dies, but whom shall we believe, the materialists, who are few in number compared with those who believe
in spirit, or the great majority of mankind that believe in the existence of the soul after the dissolution of the body?
"The very scientific materialism of our day," writes Professor Hyslop, in The North American Review, "points definitely to the possibility, or at least the rationality of supposing the possibility, of a future life. . . ."
"Physical science admits the existence of a supersensible world of reality which had not been suspected or proved until within recent years. We may instance Roentgen rays, the various forms of radio-active energy whose whole gamut is not yet known, and the speculations about ions and electrons that take us far beyond the world of Lucretian atoms into the measureless ether, whose properties make it impossible to apply the term 'matter' to it, without removing the antagonism of matter to the spiritual. All these discoveries represent realities quite as supersensible as the Christian conception of the immaterial, and we escape calling them spiritual only because the development of human thought has come to confine the connotation of 'spirit' to implications of consciousness as its necessary and only function. It is this and this alone that prevents us from claiming that the outcome of physical science is the proof of a spiritual world. We have so defined the nature and problem of spirit as implicative of personal consciousness that there can be no proof of its reality apart from the animal organism and its functions until we show that consciousness
and personal identity can survive death. All that the discovery of supersensible forms of energy proves is that the limitations of reality are not confined to the material world as we directly know it, but that there may be vast regions of energy which can be inferred or known only by its effects in the physical cosmos."
I am satisfied that more than three-fourths of all men and women have had positive proof, if they would accept it, of the existence of spirit. I say positive proof if they would accept it, because skepticism has become so popular and universal that men have been taught to deny their own senses, but among those that are not ready to deny the evidence of their own senses are a great majority who in their hearts can say, "I know there is such a thing as spirit existence," and even those who claim to be the strongest materialists have evidence within themselves that they are wrong.
Yes, everything has life. All life is motion, and it is the life in the body that keeps the body intact, supports it, and maintains it; and if we examine carefully this life, not only in our body, but in everything that is, we find even the smallest insect and plant acting according to the law of mind, evidencing that it thinks or that thought is active in it. If this be true then can we help concluding that all is mind? Then we justify the Scriptural declaration that God by mind, by a word, created the world.
In examining our own minds we find we have reasons for action, but however powerful the thoughts or reasons may be, unless we will to act, we remain motionless. Then the will to act seems to be another quality in us, which quality, when called into action by the other faculties of the mind, tenses the muscles, and causes motion.We will to act. This again brings us to the revelation of the name of the Infinite, Yahveh, the "I will be what I will to be," or the will of the universe.
Since we are dependent upon our own will for the power to act, then is not actionno matter in what form it may be foundthe result of the power of will? Again, according to the strength of a man's will is the strength of his body. Let a man become angry, see how the red blood obeys the mandates of his will. Men have often been heard to say, "When I am angry I am stronger than under any other circumstances." What is anger?It is the excitement of the will. In the ordinary individual the will may be excited to such an extent that it actually controls the intellect, and when this power is sufficiently excited to take control of the reasoning powers then we say the individual has lost his reason, or he is mad.
It is the function of all will-power to obey the intellect, in other words, to be a servant, but when the understanding is set aside by the will, then evil is manifest. Since these things are true, is there
any evil in the world except that resulting from the will dominating the intellect?We believe not.
Let us return to the potentiality of the will. We have seen that the strength of man depends upon the strength of will, and if Yahveh is the Will of the universe, then He or It is the strength of all that is. We know that when the mind leaves the body, the body rapidly disintegrates, that so long as the will and all the faculties of the mind are kept active, the body is healthy, strong, and vigorous.
What is it that holds together the atoms or centers of force in the body of man, in the mighty cable, in the great beam, in the keen edge of the sword? As we look at these objects and examine them with our senses we cannot but believe that they are dense, hard, and solid. Since they are not, what is it that appears dense, hard, and solid in this seething, moving mass?Is it not the same power that enables you to reach out your arm and lay hold of a weight of twenty-five, fifty or a hundred pounds and lift it by bending your arm?You will, and the arm moves and lifts ponderable objects, then it is the will that moves the arm, is it not? Since God is the creator of all things, the Power of the universe, and his name is Yahveh, "I will be what I will to be," and since all is life and that life is served by the will, then the strength of your arm, of that piece of steel, of that beam, of that mighty cable, is the strength of the will of the
Infinite. It is the manifestation of the WillYahveh. From the solution of the infinitely small may we not arrive at the solution of the infinitely great? In the limitless universe the same Will holds all worlds, suns, and systems in their place.
Since all is life, boundless, quivering, moving, active life; and since what we call individualized substancesa piece of steel, a crystal, a plant, an animal, a manare individualized centers of thought; and since all these centers of thought and forces unite to make up one grand body that we call our planet; and since our planet earth is only one "electron," as it were, of our solar system, which is a great, grand atom, and since our universe is made up of multitudes of these atoms, then is it not possible that multitudes of universes make one great body? We are told that there are no bounds to space, that there is no limit to God's universe, so we may reasonably conclude that all these universes are molecules, as it were, making up one grand body, and this body is the life, the substance of Divinity, that all these universes are governed by the indwelling mind which we call God, that all the movements of the heavenly bodies, as well as earthly bodies, telescopic as well as microscopic, are by virtue of the Infinite Will?
The strength in the cable is the strength of the Almighty will, the strength, the power, that gives to everything its bounds. "He gave to the sea its bound, that the waters should not pass his commandment." (Prov. viii. 29. R. V.)
[paragraph continues] Therefore the revelation that the name of the Almighty is Yahveh, the "I will be what I will to be" has furnished a conception by which we may form at least an idea of the all-pervading mind and executive will of the God of all systems, if not universes.
We know something of the actions of will in the body. Is something the matter with the foot, the mind takes cognizance of it and sends to the foot will-power. How does it send that will from the head to the extremities of the body? Can you tell us?Ah, we may talk of nerve force, of electric currents, and so on, but how little we know of that which we call electricity! We see a man who lives a highly moral life, so filled with electricity that by a little friction he can light the gas with his fingers, and this force * seems to be the same that has been harnessed to run our railroads, and to serve in our various industries, and this Will, Yahveh, the God of the universe, may express
[paragraph continues] Himself, Itself, from one end of the universe to the other, by the agency that we call electricity, or some element to us more subtile, and cause to be or not to be according to Infinite Law, in the same way that we take charge of and control our own bodies.
Thus, in considering Yahveh to be the God and Power of the universe, we may safely say that as in the minute, man, the microcosm, so in God the macrocosmthe mind that fills all space, all worlds, all systems, the one God, the one mind, the one force, making up all that we call separate individuals, or universes.
The quotations in this chapter come from the ablest minds of our time and they unite in proving that the best thoughts of the age come to about the same conclusions that Revelation came to centuries ago, and they thus give circumstantial proof of the truth of Revelation. They also give evidence that the human mind, if left free to act from its higher self is led by that higher and spiritual individuality to the same conclusions that were announced by prophets and seers in the ages past. The only thing that now remains is for the scientists to recognize the language. For now "Science" and "Revelation" meet as strangers from a far country, but one day they will meet as friends, then they will see eye to eye and rejoice in the mutual light of each other's mentalitya light which neither can claim as all his own.
111:* There is another force in nature that acts very much like electricity; it will give a spark of light, but has in it no heat. This is as yet a comparatively unknown force. It acts quicker than electricity and is as much stronger and as much more potential than electricity as electricity is more potential than water. This marvelous force is interior to all the forces that we thus far know and utilize, and is waiting the higher development of our race for its discovery and utilization. It fills all space, and is next beyond electricity in ethereality and is the most potent of any element that can be made sensible to the human consciousness. As it evidently governs the action of electricity we have given it the name of electro-archon in order that the thought of it may have a standing in the minds of the people.