Life and Its Mysteries, by Frank L. Hammer, , at sacred-texts.com
There is a story told about an old Spanish peasant who for years had heard people talk about equality, but in the village where he lived he never saw any evidence of it. Nevertheless, he was confident that something of which so much was said must have existence somewhere, so he went in search of it in other provinces and countries. He traveled extensively but was unable to find any more equality elsewhere than he had at home. So he finally came to the conclusion that those who spoke of equality had reference to the Other World.
Many people are of similar opinion, that so far as this life is concerned equality is either a myth or a vague ideal. However, opinions and appearances to the contrary, equality is neither a myth nor a hazy ideal, but a reality here and now. The divine truth of man's equality has been taught by the loftiest souls in every age, but God decreed it long before they ever expressed it. And we know of nothing which conflicts with the sublime axiom of equality except theories of men, some of which are entitled to respect, but are incapable of bearing the test of reason.
You ask: "Where is there any equality between rich and poor? Illiterate and educated? Fool and philosopher? Mediocre and talented? Servant and master? Subject and king? Saint and sinner? Man and angel? These all stand upon one common ground and form one eternal chain extending to the throne of the Most High. And no one has ever been able to prove, with any authority other than egotism and ignorance, that some links in this chain are unequal or inferior, although in this artificial state of society many labor under this delusion.
The first major source of the delusion of inequality is due to people confounding it with inequity. These are, however, as far apart as the poles, and resemble each other no more than do justice and injustice. Men have unequal opportunities for earning a livelihood, obtaining life's necessities, acquiring an education, culture and leisure, making provision for their families, illness, unemployment and old age; but inequity does not presuppose inequality, for equality is a law of Nature analogous to equilibrium and can neither be disturbed nor destroyed by any act or invention of man, although selfish interests may temporarily conflict and interfere with justice.
Then, from whence arise the vast disparities seen among menthe tremendous differences in ability, intelligence and morality? The answer is soul age. Men are on different rungs of life's evolutionary ladder, manifesting diverse degrees of unfoldment, and never on earth or elsewhere will all men be on
the same level of mental, moral and spiritual development.
It is commonly believed that the "Fall of Man" was a completed and collective process. But, instead, souls are continually "falling" into materiality, imperfection and error; and, through a series of migrations, gradually reach earth and become clothed in the terrestrial bodies they attracted.
While evolution is now an accepted fact for all thinking people, involution, however, is regarded with considerable incredulity. Yet of necessity there can be no evolution without involution; therefore, souls involve before they evolve. Nature's Author being no respecter of persons, creates all men equal and unlike, and men's differences date from the time of their involutionary pilgrimage into matter, not from the time of physical birth. At this time souls already are endowed with definite personalities, marked characteristics, developed talents and pronounced sympathies and antipathies. Moreover, immense gulfs often separate their moral, mental and spiritual acquirements. As all men are dissimilarly but equally endowed, what is possible for one is possible for all; not contemporaneously, but eventually. Inasmuch as human nature is constant, no two men will ever be, or can be exactly alike.
Homogeneity prevails among unevolved people, while heterogeneity distinguishes the advanced; for the more highly developed a man becomes, the more unlike he is from the mass group. Man's differences and individualities unfold until perfection has been
attained, at which time he returns to the Father, becoming one with Him. But oneness with the Divine does not imply annihilation or absorption, but a merging of consciousness and capabilities.
There is still another cause for men's disparity, other than difference in their soul age, and that is determined by themselves. We know that all souls do not make equal progress. Every sphere of life has its loiterers, shirkers, the "clever" who think they can get something for nothing; and the weaklings whose main ambition is to shift responsibility on others. Then there are the diligent, conscientious, ambitious, who utilize time and opportunity for advancement, forging ahead through labor and service. Naturally, in the next expression of life, the disparity between them will be even more apparent.
Inequality and inferiority are delusions afflicting juvenile minds and, in the higher realms of thought, none of this nonsense persists. Humbleness replaces haughtiness. Men of high moral and spiritual development know it is ridiculous to consider their younger brothers as unequals, and they extend a helping hand, just as those above them also render their aid. There is no pinnacle so high but that loftier ones are yet to be attained. No man is on the last lap of the evolutionary process, but is united to a larger whole. The saint in his infancy may have been a sinner, and the savage may one day become a philosopher. Evolution is a continuous and not a completed process.
Inequity, the product of undeveloped minds, has filled the world with untold sorrow and suffering. It has brought penury, poverty, privation, destitution, hunger, distress and anguish to millions of people, whose daily life is a crucifixion and a martyrdom of a struggle for existence. For this is an age of avaricious rapacity and sordid covetousness; an age of hypocrisy and commercial traffic, where the great ambition of men and nations is to try to overreach and rob the other half. On every side are avarice, lust, greed, selfishness, unkindness, mercenary cupidity, and the iron hand of insatiable power, which, under the mask of principles, commit all manner of atrocities. Human life has no more sanctity than that of insects. Wholesale slaughter has become the outstanding profession, and wholesale killers the outstanding personalities.
Yet, strangely, there are those who believe such an order of life is worthy of perpetuation. Recently, a shortsighted editorialist in his defense of this system opined: "What will happen to the institutions for the poor, if the rich, through excessive and unjust taxation, will no longer be able to contribute to their maintenance?" We ask: "Why continue their maintenance? Why not abolish them by eradicating their cause? Why are these monuments of man's degradation of man necessary or even tolerable? Are there different creations of men requiring different methods of treatment?"
Thoughtful and spiritual men well know why our prisons, almshouses and insane asylums are overflowing,
and also well know it will never cease to be until the race is dominated by other motives than selfish profit. There is something radically wrong with a civilization that measures a man's equality by the size of his pocketbook. We can have no ideal society or better world until men are governed by brotherly love instead of selfishness and greed.
Just as Nature's ways are equal, so must become the ways of men. Political equality was the first step in this direction, and this is being followed by more economic equality. Most men are beginning to doubt that God created this world and everything in it for the private property and the enjoyment of a few, but to be equally shared by all. And, in the new order dawning upon the horizon, man will have to do something more besides accumulate wealth to be an object of respect and admiration.
Service will be the future badge of distinction. Contributing to the enlightenment and enrichment of other lives will be the hallmark of greatness. Recognition will be determined by the achievements advancing civilization. Cooperation and not competition will prevail.
The heartless desire to outsmart the other fellow exists only on the earthplane where material things are concerned. Nor is there any competition in spiritual things where service to humanity is involved. Motives actuated by a soul urge are in harmony, but, when it comes to money and material possessions, just the reverse condition is true. When two men
love the same gold mine or oil well, entirely different feelings ensue, and it has not been unknown for one of them to dispatch the other into eternity.
The world's masterpieces of literature, art, science and music were not created through the force of competition. It was the love of the work the artist was doing, or the desire to benefit humanity. Milton, Dante, Shakespeare, Emerson, Plato, Wagner, Brahms, Beethoven, Michelangelo and a host of other great men were not trying to compete, and whether or not they accumulated wealth was a matter of minor concern. We know some of them died in poverty and yet, today, are immortal. Who ever achieved lasting fame because he monopolized a large portion of the world's money? If such a one is remembered at all, it is with thoughts of pity and contempt for his greed and avarice.
Who ever heard of a scientist discovering a cure for a dread disease or alleviation of pain and then locking it in a vault? Who ever heard of an inventor keeping his invention for himself and members of his family? They give them to the world and share them with all humanity. They know that what benefits one benefits all, for all the human race is one large family indissolubly linked together.
While the greatest of contests is life, the greatest of clarifiers is death, for on the threshold of eternity all men realize that equality is a law of Divine Justice. King and subject, prince and peasant, high and low, rich and poor, stand before the same tribunal
and are judged according to their intrinsic worth and the service they rendered on earth. Rank, position, power and possessions count for naught; only spiritual riches enter the kingdom of God. For equality, like all natural laws, is constant, uniform and universal, and cannot be abrogated or suspended during earthly existence.
People do not change their character when they change their address.