The Evolution of Human Thought

The lecture series, "The Evolution of Human Thought," is one of many that Dr. Boyd and Dr. Lister shared and taught during their active partnership (1925-1936). We present Dr. Boyd's work here as an introduction and commentary on the philosophers whose works we have highlighted as seminal to Western and Christian thinking.

I. The Oriental Foundation of Thought

A study of the work of the Indo-European mind reveals its tendency was toward the "other" side of life. The sources of all philosophical principles are found there. India has had hundreds of schools, all teaching the way of the one idea, Brahm, or "That," or God, and other terms for the Absolute Being. Most of these schools owe their existence to the various ways of explaining the phenomenal world in its relation to the "noumenon" or "That."

India, the fountainhead of philosophical thought, contains the whole history of philosophy in brief. The Vedas and Upanishads reference every philosophical conception that the Western mind has evolved.

Spinoza reproduced almost exactly the conception of Hindu philosophy. They had worked out his ideas 2,000 years before him. They taught evolution more than 2,500 years before Darwin.

Pythagoras, a father of philosophy, sojourned in India, and based his whole scheme of thought upon their system. Plato, having studied with the Pythagoreans, was full of Eastern thought, while Neo-Platonism and Christian Gnosticism owe much to India. The great thinkers of the past twenty-five centuries have gone over the same ground the Hindu thinkers canvassed more than thirty centuries ago.

The Great Divide in the Eastern and Western Views

To understand Eastern philosophical thinking, one must remember that much of their thought exists only in oral teaching, and "reading between the lines" in printed books, which contain fundamental oppositions between the basic Hindu conceptions and those of the Christian theologian.

To the Eastern mind, "Creation" is unthinkable, since it involves the making of something out of nothing, and to them nothing comes from nothing. Everything that is, is either an eternal thing, or else it is a form, manifestation, appearance, emanation or phase of some eternal thing. Therefore, they could see evolution as the only method of bringing the universe into appearance, because everything evolved was first involved.

Again, a mortal thing can never become immortal by any means. An immortal thing must have always been immortal, or it can never become so. So that which begins must end. That which is born must die sometime, and everything that dies has been born sometime.

Eternity must exist on both sides of the now. In fact, now is but a point in eternity. So the Hindu concedes immortality to the soul only when he concedes previous immortality.

The Western tendency is to publish abroad every detail of its thought, even before leading minds accept them. The Eastern tendency is exactly opposite, and the sage or wise man reserved for himself and his close circle of students and followers the cream of the idea, judging it too important to broadcast to an unthinking, unappreciative public. Their great body of inner teachings has grown in this way.

The Western mind tends to take philosophy as a matter of an intellectual diversion, which he does not bother to live up to, while the Easterner takes philosophy in the sense of religion itself, which he must live out in everyday life.

East and West: Each a One-Sided View

The Hindu confines his speculation to the "other side of life," deeming it the only real one, while the physical and material world is essentially illusion, a thing of a moment, which begins to pass away while it is being formed. The Western mind tends to emphasize the material side of life, to promote material advancement and prosperity.

In other words, the tendency of each is to be one-sided. The East leans to the I AM side, ignoring the "I DO" side. The West depends on the "I DO" side, almost entirely ignoring the I AM phase. The one regards the side of Being and ignores the side of Action. The other regards Action as the essential thing, ignoring the vital importance of Being.

In India, the veil between the visible and the invisible is much thinner than in Western lands. The consequent mental and psychic atmosphere produces all sorts of growth, good and bad. The best philosophy and spiritual unfoldment dwells side by side with superstition, credulity, devil worship and frightful debasement of thought and practice. The noxious weeds grow in a tropical climate with fruits and flowers.

The Stuff of Legends

Surprise and wonder fills us at the speculative achievement of those people, running back 100 centuries. Unquestionably they are the progenitors of the Aryan or Indo-European race, but legend shrouds their origin. One is that they are remnants of a high civilization in the region of the North pole, from where a cataclysm drove them, which changed it from a tropical to a polar climate.

Another legend is that they are remnants of a high civilization in the great continent of Lemuria, now sunk in the Pacific Ocean. The legend states that many of them, under prophetic direction, took refuge in the higher altitudes, which in the cataclysm became islands, where they lived for centuries before finally migrating to the mainland. They found India inhabited by another people, also driven there by earth's upheaval.

Through all the centuries these people have survived. In this new world, like all pioneers, they lost much of the veneer of the old civilization. The old truths and knowledge were largely lost, and in its place tradition, legends they handed down, as vague memories of the old teachings from one generation to another.

They had gods and demigods, etc., but they never entirely lost the main idea of their philosophy: A great Universal One Absolute Being from whom all else emanated, and from whom the individual souls proceeded "as sparks rising from the blazing fire." They taught the immortality of the soul, which was never born, which could never die, which was subject to rebirth, under a universal law of cause and effect.

Even the idea of the One was at times dimmed under the conception of a great Nature Spirit, of which they were a part in some mysterious way. In spite of the variations, we are indebted to them for the master key to all philosophy, namely: The Reality and Being of One Universal Spirit Principle, from which all other life, being and principles were manifested by emanation, reflection or otherwise, which manifestations had their only Real Being in the One Source.

The Hindu Philosophy of Pure Reason

Some 5,000 years before the Christian era, philosophical thought in India underwent a great revival of interest, under the leadership of really great thinkers of the time, called sages, or wise men. The Hindus claim that these were the reincarnations of ancient Masters. They laid the foundation for a philosophy of pure reason.

They did their work so well that while many philosophies have come and gone, the foundation of the sages remains, sound and unhurt, and is still the base upon which we build all philosophy, ancient or modern. The outline of their work follows:

First, the sages bade their students to observe that nothing is constant, abiding, fixed or imperishable in the phenomenal aspect of nature and the universe. That is, it was not "real" in the sense we use the word, as in "real estate, real property" or "realty." The phenomenal universe is not "real" in the philosophical sense of the word.

Second, they bid the students recognize that something real and substantial must lie underneath all the changing manifestations of the phenomenal universe, below the face or surface of that which occurred — the constant play of nature, force, and life, as the clouds passed before the blue sky or the wave upon the face of the ocean. They held that pure reason must convince any rational mind that something real and substantial must be under and behind the phenomenal universe, else the latter could not exist, even in appearance.

A background of reality or a foundation of substance must exist. They did not speak or think of this substance as matter, but as the underlying or existing essence. This universal substance must be real, and in its totality, it was necessarily the only reality.

Third, they recognized that this substantiality must be but One in its essential being, otherwise that continuity and orderly trend of manifestation as seen in the phenomenal universe could not exist. "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is ONE Lord."

Fourth, in logical reasoning, this ultimate reality must be above all phenomenal attributes and qualities, including those of man. Consequently, its inner nature as essential Being was beyond the cognition, knowledge, or even the imagination of man, and was beyond definition or name. The sages styled this ultimate reality by the Sanscrit word "TAT" or That, referring to something understood, but having no qualities, attributes or name. Similar terms are "Brahman," the "Absolute," "That," as in "I AM THAT I AM."

Fifth, they applied the Hindu axiom, "Something can never be caused by, or proceed from nothing" [Latin: creation ex nihilo]. Since nothing other than That is in real existence, or which could have caused it, and since reality could not have been self-created from nothing, it follows that TAT must always have existed and must be eternal. Since "Something cannot be dissolved into nothing," TAT cannot cease to be, and must be everlasting.

Sixth, since there was nothing outside of TAT with which or by which it could be defined, bounded, determined, affected, caused or influenced, it must be held that That is infinite.

Seventh, since That was the only reality, nothing else could act as a cause in the phenomenal universe. That must be its only official and sufficient cause — the causeless Cause, the only real cause, from which proceeds the cause and effect in the phenomenal world, in which each object or event is both a cause and an effect. Working by this law, the movements of the phenomenal universe are continuous, regular, uniform, arising from That, the only real Cause.

Eighth, the next step was to recognize that That was necessarily unchangeable, there being nothing to change it, nothing into which it could be changed, nothing it could change itself into, and even That could not change itself into any reality other than that which it is. By the same reasoning, That was not divisible and is essentially One. Therefore, they held that That was unchangeable and indivisible.

Ninth, the next step was the truth that as all that truly is, must be real, and that as That, being all that is real, must be all that is, therefore it follows that other than That, there can be nothing that is.

Creating Something From Something

We must base all truth regarding the universe upon this basic proposition. That could not have created the phenomenal universe or the undivided souls from nothing, nor could That have "created" anything from its own substance or essence, nor was there anything outside of itself that That could have used to create anything.

It therefore follows that nothing had been or could have been really "created," so the phenomenal universe and all that it contained, including individual souls, must have "emanated from," or been "manifested by" That, in some manner or by means of processes beyond the mind of men to determine, although not beyond his power to imagine.

This was the sum of their reasoning. And it is the basis of all Hindu philosophy. These are the basic principles of all Hindu philosophy. Upon them they have constructed several great systems of philosophy.

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II. The Greek Masters

The Greek Masters were among the first and most ancient schools of Western thinkers. They include the Milesian physicists, the Eleatic philosophers, the Pythagoreans, the Pluralists, the Atomists, the Sophists, Socrates and the Platonists, the Cynics, the Peripatetics, the Epicurians, the Stoics, and the Skeptics.

The Milesian (Ionian) Physicists

The Ionian school (named Milesian because they originated in Miletus) made the first, and radical step from mythological to scientific explanation of natural phenomena. They discovered the scientific principles of the permanence of substance, the natural evolution of the world, and the reduction of quality to quantity. These philosophers sought the one, unchanging material principle of all things, and evolved physical theories to explain all existence in terms of primary matter.

Thales of Miletus (624-547 B.C.) is considered the founder of Greek philosophy. Among the first teachers of mathematics in Hellas, he disputed the attribution of all phenomena to the activities of gods and goddesses, and contended that some fundamental principle must be behind all the flux and change about us, some single primitive substance from which all reality has sprung. Having observed that moisture is necessary to life and motion and that "water is the essential principle whereby moist is moist," he concluded that all things, even the gods, consist of water.

Thales' thought marks the first attempt to separate science and theology, and to explain the world without reference to myth or religion. It is the first statement of the view that natural phenomena are not the products of divine caprice, but are referable to a material principle, the fundamental postulate upon which we base all modern science.

Anaximander (611-547 B.C.) was a mathematician who first calculated the size and distance of various planets, wrote a book on geometry, and invented the sundial. He also thought of life as always and inseparably connected with matter. He traced the universe's origin to an infinite and indeterminate material called the Boundless, "which surrounds all things and animates all things."

Anaximander taught that the world is a vast cylinder and was originally in a fluid state. All life was generated in sea-slime, and all animals, including man, descended from the fishes. All things at last return to that origin.

Anaximenes (550-528 B.C.) was the third great Milesian. He taught that all substances consist of air, and differ only in the degree of their condensation. The human soul is composed of highly rarified air, and life consists simply in inhaling and exhaling. When this movement ceases, death ensues. The same idea holds concerning the world.

Anaximenes held that air "differs in essence in accordance with its rarity or density. When it is thinned, it becomes fire, while when it is condensed it becomes wind, then cloud, when still more condensed it becomes water, then earth, then stones. Everything else comes from these."

Diogenes of Sinope (412-323 B.C.), a Cynic, taught that an underlying unity must exist in all matter, else how is it that plants convert water into plant tissue, while animals eat the plants and turn them into flesh and bone. He regarded air as the primal element of all things, and the universe as issuing from an intelligent principle, which gave it life and order, a rational, sensitive soul. Yet he did not recognize any distinction between matter and mind. At last, all things return to air or vapor, from which all things arise by condensation and rarefaction.

The Eleatics: The Philosophers of Elea

As a reflection of the Upanishads, the Eleatics held that the true explanation of things lies in the conception of a universal Unity of Being. It is by thought alone that we can pass beyond the false appearances of sense and arrive at the knowledge of Being, at the fundamental truth that "the All is One." There can be no creation, for being cannot come from not-being; a thing cannot arise from that which is different from it. The Eleatics, being concerned with the problem of logical consistency, laid the basis for the development of the science of logic.

Xenophanes (570-480 B.C.) ridiculed the popular religion and said that man created God in his own image. "Each man represents God as he himself is. The Ethiopian as black and snub nosed, the Thracian as red-haired and blue-eyed, and if horses and oxen could paint, they would no doubt depict the gods as horses and oxen." He reduced the gods of mythology to meteorological phenomena, and especially to clouds.

He was the father of pantheism and doctrine of the One. He maintained there was only one god, namely, the world. God is one incorporeal eternal being, and like the universe, spherical in form, "a vast unchanging, all-embracing sphere, all eye, all ear, all understanding." God is of the same nature with the universe, comprehending all things within himself, is intelligent, pervades all things, but bears no resemblance to human nature either in body or mind. He regarded petrified marine animals found in the mines in Syracuse as evidence that the sea once covered the land, and from this fact evolved the theory that alternate mixtures and separations of water and earth produced the whole visible universe.

Parmenides (540-480 B.C.) developed the idea of the unity of God into a systematic philosophy, contending that reality or Being is one, immutable and eternal, in the form of a well-rounded sphere, and that the notions of plurality, motion and change are illusions of the senses. He reasoned that since Being is, and non-being is not, Being is necessarily a unity. Being is eternal, for how could it have a beginning? It certainly was not produced by the nonexistent, nor by the existent, because Being itself is the existent. Parmenides' famous argument against motion goes something like this: Empty space is simply nothing and as nothing can be said to exist, space is an illusion. An object could not move without occupying first one space and then another, therefore since there is no space for it to occupy, there is no such thing as motion.

Zeno of Elea (488‑425 B.C.) held the same philosophy, and devoted himself to refuting the views of the opponents of Parmenides. He used the reduction ad absurdum, which means tentatively using the opposing thesis, then draws some preposterous conclusions from it. The flying arrow, said he, does not really move at all, because at any particular moment it must be in one particular place. Now if an arrow is in one particular place, it is at rest, and if an arrow is at rest during each moment of its flight, when does it move?[1]

Melissus of Samos (490-430 B.C.) used the idea that nothing comes from nothing. In the beginning he said, everybody must admit either that things exist or they do not exist. If they do not exist, further argument is profitless, but if they do exist, we may proceed to the conclusion that they always existed or else contend that they have been produced. If things have been produced, then they must have come from being or non-being. Nothing can possibly come from non-being, and if we say that being arose from being, we must admit that being was before being came to be, which is nonsense. Therefore we must conclude that all being is eternal — everything that it has always been and always will be. Being is also infinite, changeless, immovable unity. All else is foolishness.

The Pythagoreans

Pythagoras and his disciples comprised an eclectic blend of philosophy, mathematic and religious mysticism. The Pythagoreans believed that the soul is a prisoner of the body; that it is released from the body at death, and reincarnated in a higher or lower form of life, depending on the degree of virtue achieved.

Pythagoras of Samos (569-475 B.C.) was semi-mythical, viewed as a philosopher, mathematician and mystic. It was said that he studied in Egypt and in India, worked miracles, and claimed to remember several previous incarnations or lives. Pythagoras coined the term philosophia, Greek for "love of wisdom." He discovered the relation between the length of a string and the tone it produces, which led to the discovery of the musical scale. He was the first to postulate that earth was a sphere orbiting around a "central fire." He taught that the natural order could be expressed in numbers, and is known for the Pythagorean theorem.

He wrote nothing, nor did any of his immediate disciples. Theirs was a secret teaching and was memorized by each initiate. All order and system was based upon numbers and vibration, and nothing else existed. They talked about the "music of the spheres" and thought the universe was a sort of lyre, each planet strung on a different length of string, and the swing of the planets on the different lengths or intervals produced the music of the spheres.

Philolaus (480-? B.C.), a contemporary of Socrates, first published an exposition of the sacred doctrines of Pythagoras. Everything is number, and we may reduce all natural laws to numerical relations. God is the Unity that rules the world. From the Unity sprang arithmetical numbers, then geometrical magnitudes, then material objects and finally life, love and intelligence. The world soul comes from the Central Fire around which the earth revolves daily, and spreads everywhere, and invented the concept of a counter-earth for numerological reasons.

Heraclitus of Ephesus (536-470 B.C.) taught that there is no such thing as a changeless motionless Being. The world is a perpetual flux and reflux. Every particle of matter is in constant motion. Nothing is, but all is becoming. Nothing is permanent but the law of change. Fire is the fundamental pattern of existence. Everything comes from fire by a process of condensation and returns to fire by a process of rarefaction. Earth, air and water, are but fire in different forms. Heraclitus taught that man himself is "kindled and put out like a candle in the nighttime." Fire and heat are always associated with life. Fire is the basis of virtue. The drunkard is wicked because his soul is too moist; warm, dry souls are the best. Everywhere there is duality, being and not-being, truth and falseness, good and evil. It is the conflict of the opposites that brings always into existence. Nothing is permanent.

The Pluralists

The Pluralists developed a philosophy that replaced the assumption of a single primary substance with a plurality of such substances.

Empedocles (492-432 B.C.) believed that all things are composed of four immortal elements, earth, air, fire, and water. A uniting force, called love or attraction, builds up combinations of these elements, and a disintegrating force, called hate or repulsion, breaks them down. Originally the elements were all mixed together in a gigantic sphere in which love and hate did not operate. Finally love and hate entered and the elements became separated and the conflict between the two forces brought individual things into existence. Empedocles taught that the first living thing to spring from the earth were plants, then animals in monstrous forms incapable of surviving. Those now existing are the descendants of those that did survive because of their fitness and adaptability (including men), which is Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest, taught 2,000 years earlier. Thought was a recent development generated by the blood's activity.

Anaxagoras (500-430 B.C.) was the first teleologist.[2] There are not merely four elements but an unlimited number. All substances, except mind, are mixtures containing all sorts of atoms, or "elementary seeds." Mind is unmixed passionless matter, the thinnest and purest of things, which gives motion and order to all other material. Faith or chance does not govern the world, but divine reason, and according to intelligent purpose or design.

The Atomists

Atomism is a theory which proposed that all matter is composed of tiny, indivisible particles differing only in simple physical properties.[3]

Leucippus of Elea (480-420 B.C.) formulated the philosophy of Atomism. He stated that atoms are "imperceptible, individual particles that differ only in shape and position." The mixing of these particles produces the world we experience. He was the first philosopher to affirm the existence of empty space, really a vacuum. The solitary fragment of Leucippus that remains, says, "Naught happens for nothing, but all things from a ground (logos) and of necessity."

Democritus of Abdera (460-362 B.C.) was a bald materialist. Nothing exists but matter and space. The full is no more real than the empty. The world is made up of atoms and the void and there is no third thing. Atoms are eternal and uncaused and differ only in size, shape and arrangement. As to quality, they are alike. Atoms are brought together not by fortune or divine intelligence but by natural necessity.

Democritus taught that there is no free will in man, and no plan or purpose in the universe. Everything happens through a cause and of necessity. The human soul consists of very small, smooth, round atoms, like those in fire, and are distributed to every part of the body. Rational thought is a higher kind of perception and is sealed in the brain. Anger is located in the heart, while desire is a function of the liver. All knowledge comes to use through the senses and these are a modification of the sense of touch. Death is a scattering of the soul atoms.

The Sophists

Specializing in rhetoric, the Sophists were more professional educators than philosophers. The whole Sophistic tendency of thought, which identifies knowledge with sense-perception, ignores the rational element. They acquired a reputation for deceit, insincerity, and demagoguery. Thus, the word sophistry has come to signify these moral faults.

Protagoras of Abdera (490-420 B.C.) was a dialectician, the first to distinguish between the different modes of the verb. He held that logic was the right use of words. Later (425 B.C.) he was condemned for impiety and banished from Athens.

A true agnostic, Protagoras[4] taught that man is the measure of all things, and denied the existence of any absolute or objective truth or absolute standards of value. His teaching that all depends on the viewpoint, led to the position that knowledge is relative to the knower. Expediency is the only factor to be considered in belief or conduct. Metaphysics, to him, was a total failure, and logic a collection of theoretical tricks.

Gorgias (483-375 B.C.) His philosophical studies ended in nihilism, the denial of all existence. All statements are equally false and differ only in plausibility. We can sum his position up in three propositions: (1) Nothing exists; (2) If anything existed, it could not be known; (3) If anything did exit, and could be known, it could not be communicated.

Hippias, Prodicus and Critias were all famous Sophists, contemporaneous with Socrates. Plato wrote of them in several of his dialogies.

The Philosophy of Socrates

Socrates (354-399 B.C.) believed himself appointed of the gods to expose ignorance and pretension wherever found, and to awaken in his followers desire for genuine knowledge. So he gave up stone cutting and devoted his time to heckling teachers and orators. So great was his skill that he discomfitted them all. He wrote nothing and did not fit his doctrines into a definite philosophical system. To him, ethics was the only subject worth studying. The supreme good for humanity is happiness, the only way to be happy is to be virtuous, and the only way to be virtuous is to be wise.

Virtue is identical unto knowledge and ignorance is the only vice. Virtue is not innate but must be taught like arithmetic, etc. To be happy, one must become relatively independent of physical needs. Happiness is not found in the mere possession of worldly goods. It is best for a man to worship the gods of his own city. Polytheistic, he regarded the phenomenon of adaptation in animal life, and the intricate harmony of the physical universe, as evidence that some sort of Divine Intelligence governs the world.

Euclides of Megara (430-360 B.C.) held that mind and not matter is the ultimate reality, which makes his system the connecting link between Socrates and Plato.

Plato (427-348) was a pupil of Socrates, and the founder of Idealism. He believed that general concepts or ideas are more real and true than anything else in the world. All changing things exist only as they resemble Ideas. (His contributions are discussed more fully elsewhere.)

Aristippus (435-390 B.C.), a pupil of Socrates, carried Socrates' idea that happiness is the supreme good to the idea that it is the only good possible for mankind. In fact, he builds his whole philosophy upon hedonism, the gospel of pleasure.

Theodorus (465-398 B.C.) carried out the gospel of pleasure to its limit; that to avoid the ills of life one should commit suicide and obtain peace.

The Cynics

Following Socrates and his pupils, the Cynic School arose.

Antisthenes (441-371 B.C.) and Diogenes of Sinope (404-323 B.C.): The essence of their teaching was that virtue is the only thing that matters, and the virtuous man is always happy because he cares for nothing and fears nobody. The philosopher should reduce the number of his desires as far as possible because the less a man wants, the more apt he is to get it.

The Peripatetics

The Peripatetics were Greek philosophers who followed the principles of Aristotle, and so-named because they learned from him while strolling (Greek peripate) about in the covered walkways of the Lyceum.

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) condemned Plato's subjectivism and based his philosophy on sensation rather than reason or intuition. He believed that one must proceed from the particular to the general (which is the modern scientific method). He believed that the general truth of Idea exists in the particular object and not apart from it. Each individual thing is a combination of form (the Idea), and matter, except God who is pure form (or Idea). He summarized the scientific knowledge of his time, pointed out the importance of observation and inductive reasoning versus the introspective method of Socrates and Plato.

He covered the whole range of human thought, yet crudities fill his astronomy, logic, biology, botany, and metaphysics, which we could not understand unless we know the limitations under which he lived and worked. Of all our mathematical, optical and physical instruments, he possessed only the rule and compass and a few imperfect substitutes for others. Chemical analysis, correct measurements and weights, and a thorough application of mathematics to physics, were unknown.

Aristotle held that man, the individual, was the Idea embodied, and that man, the universal, was a handy mental abstraction. Plato loved the universal to such an extent that in his "Republic" he destroyed the individual to make a perfect state. Aristotle held that individual quality, privacy and liberty are above social efficiency and power. He would not care to call every contemporary, "brother or sister," nor every elderly person, "father or mother."

Aristotle was the creator of the syllogism. A trio of propositions of which the third (the conclusion) follows from the conceded truth of the other two; e.g., man is a rational animal. Socrates is a man; therefore, Socrates is a rational animal. Things equal to the same thing are equal to each other.

In his Metaphysics, Divine Providence coincides completely with the operation of natural causes. Development is not accidental or haphazard, but everything is guided in a certain direction from within by its structure, nature and inner purpose. The egg of the hen is internally designed or destined to become not a duck but a chick. The acorn becomes not a willow but an oak. The design is internal and arises from the type, function and purpose of the thing.

God does not create, but He moves the world, moves it not as a mechanical force, but as the total motive of all operations in the world. God moves the world as the beloved object moves the lover. He is the final cause of nature, the drive and purpose of things, the form of the world, the principle of its life, the sum of its vital processes and powers, the inherent goal of its growth, the energizing purpose of the whole.

His psychology is fascinating. We cannot directly will to be different from what we are, but we can choose what we shall be, by choosing now the environment that shall mold us, so we are free in the sense that we mold our own characters by our choice of friends, books, occupations and amusements.

The Doctrine of the Mean: Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics seem as fresh as if thought out yesterday. The best in life consists in happiness through fulfillment. The chief condition of happiness is the life of reason. Virtue or excellence will depend on clear judgment, self-control, symmetry of desire, artistry of means. Life's best is found in the means and not the extremes. Between cowardice and rashness is courage, between stinginess and extravagance is liberality, between sloth and greed is ambition, between humility and pride is modesty, between secrecy and loquacity is honesty, between moroseness and buffoonery is good humor, between quarrelsomeness and flattery is friendship. Between Hamlet's indecisiveness and Quixote's impulsiveness, is self-control.

Right in the ethical sense is the same as right in mathematics. We do not act right because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have these because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Virtue is not then an act but a habit. It is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day, or act, or short time that makes a man blessed and happy.

Aristotle's Ideal Man does not expose himself needlessly to danger, since he cares for few things sufficiently. Yet he is willing in a great crisis to give his life, knowing that under certain circumstances it is not worthwhile to live. He is disposed to do men service, though he is ashamed to have a service done him. To confer a kindness is a mark of superiority, to receive one is a mark of subordination. He does not take part in public displays, he is open in his likes and dislikes, he talks and acts frankly because of his contempt for men and things. He is never fired with admiration, since there is nothing great in his eyes. He cannot live in complaisance with others, except it be a friend, for complaisance is the characteristic of slaves. He never feels malice and always forgets and passes over injuries. He is not fond of talking.

It is no concern of his that he should be praised or that others should be blamed. He does not speak evil of others, even his enemies, unless it be to themselves. His carriage is sedate, his voice deep, his speech measured. He is not given to hurry, for he is concerned only about a few things. He is not prone to vehemence, for he thinks nothing very important. A shrill voice and hasty steps come to a man through care. He bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of his circumstances. He is his own best friend and takes delight in privacy whereas the man of no virtue or ability is his own worst enemy and is afraid of solitude. This is the superman of Aristotle.

Aristotle's creation of a true discipline of thought and his firm establishment of its essential lines, remain among the lasting achievements of mind. His categories or metaphysical classifications, somewhat worked over by Kant, are still the standards of human thinking.

Theoprastus (373-287 B.C.) held fast to the teachings of Aristotle, but placed a greater emphasis on the natural sciences, particularly botany. He also softened Aristotle's rigid moral code, conceding that violating the laws of the land may be right at times.

Strato of Lampsacus (340-270 B.C.) succeeded Theophrastus and laid the emphasis on materialistic science. There is no mind or intelligence apart from the body. He was the first to note that falling bodies accelerate. His main interest was physics, and he described methods for forming a vacuum.

The Epicureans

The Epicureans, like the Stoics, recognized only that knowledge which originates and stops in the senses as valid. All other cognition is only the result of sensations and combinations of many sensations.

Epicurus (342-270 B.C.) His ethical doctrines were those of Aristippus: Pleasure, and he adopted the physical science of the Atomists. There is no plan or purpose behind the world. Science is valuable only as it makes people happier by destroying their fear of death and the gods. Virtue is an asset only as far as it is pleasure to be virtuous. Honesty is the best policy, not because stealing is wrong, but because punishment is painful. He did not favor marriage or the rearing of children.

Lucretius (98-55 B.C.) was a Roman Epicurean who taught that religion is the cause of all human suffering, and the only fight worthwhile is the struggle against fear of the gods.

Horace (65 B.C.), a Roman poet, was also an Epicurean. His was a philosophy of "take things as they come." Don't worry about tomorrow, be happy, young or old. Death is the ultimate boundary of our woes, and a man can die whenever he pleases.

The Stoics

Stoicism is essentially a system of ethics, guided by a logic as theory of method, and rests upon physics as foundation. Their view of morality is stern, living a life in accord with nature and controlled by virtue. It is an ascetic system, teaching perfect indifference to everything external, for nothing external could be either good or evil. Both pain and pleasure, poverty and riches, sickness and health, were equally unimportant.

Zeno (340-265 B.C.) was a Jewish merchant from Cyprus, founder of the school that met in the Stoa or porch in the marketplace in Athens. He was a materialist. The world is a rational animal and God is the soul or reason of the world. What is to be, will be. Everything is ordained by fate or the Divine Reason that knows all things. He was succeeded by

Cleanthes (300-225 B.C.) was an ex-pugilist, who sought to rationalize Ethics. All individual acts are sinful. To move a finger without sufficient reason is as wicked as murder.

Chrysippus (282-209 B.C.) was a dialectic and logician, who refined and restated the precepts of Zeno.

Panaetus (180-111 B.C.) abandoned many philosophical doctrines and moral precepts of the earlier Stoics.

Seneca (3 B.C.-A.D. 65) His philosophy was a system of moral maxims, such as "There is but one way of getting into this world, but many ways of getting out of it."

Epictetus (AD 55?-135?) was a Phrygian-born philosopher who popularized the Stoic ethical doctrine of limiting one's desires, believing that one should act in life as at a banquet by taking a polite portion of all that is offered.

Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 121-180) was a Roman Emperor, the last of the great Stoics, and a man of sterling character, intent on leading a good life and trying to live up to his position. He loved a quiet and studious career, but couldn't follow it. His view in his Meditations was rather pessimistic.

The Skeptics

Skepticism maintains that human being can never arrive at a certain knowledge, because there is no such thing as certainty in knowledge, and that most knowledge is only probably true. The modern word for this is agnosticism.

Pyrrho of Elis (360-270 B.C.), according to his disciple Timon, declared that "(1) things are equally indifferent, unmeasurable and inarbitrable. For this reason (2) neither our sensations nor our opinions tell us truths or falsehoods. Therefore, for this reason we should not put our trust in them, but we should be unopinionated, uncommitted and unwavering, saying concerning each individual thing that it no more is than is not, or it both is and is not, or it neither is nor is not. (3) The outcome for those who actually adopt this attitude will be first speechlessness, and then freedom from disturbance."

Timon of Philas (325-235 B.C.) showed his agnosticism by saying that people need only know three things: What is the nature of things, how we are related to them, and what we can gain from them. However, since our knowledge of things must always be subjective and unreal, we can only live in a state of suspended judgment.

Arcesilaus (318-243 B.C.) who was the sixth head of Plato's Academy, was responsible for turning it into a form of skepticism.

Carneades of Cyrene (213-129 B.C.) developed a wider array of skeptical arguments against any possible dogmatic position.

The Skeptical movement killed rational philosophy in Greece. Men began to suspect that some unseen spiritual world might be just as real and true as anything else, so they abandoned reason, and took up Neo-Platonism or one of the new Christian cults. Faith alone ruled for 1,000 years of darkness.

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III. The Patristic Masters of Thought

When Greek speculative philosophy died under the knife of the Skeptics, various efforts followed it to revive the old teachings under such schools as Greco-Judaic, Neo-Pythagoreans, Neo-Platonists and others. These were at best short-lived and limited. The only two of the old schools of Greek thought that survived and held a place in the Christian period were the Epicureans and Stoics.

The Epicureans were called the "Philosophers of the Garden" because they met in the garden of Epicurus in Athens, regarded pleasure as the absolute good. While this led to the charge of sensuality, it was not true because Epicurus advocated and aimed at the happiness of a tranquil life, as free from pain as possible, undisturbed by social conventions or political excitement or superstitious fears.

Epicurus did not deny the existence of the gods, but taught that if we knew and lived according to our knowledge of the physical world, there was no place for the interference of the gods. He relegated them to a realm of their own. It was a negative system, but its founder's personal charm and the conditions of the time made it run parallel with Christianity for several centuries.

The Stoics: Stoicism was at full-tide when Paul spoke at Athens. He quoted from their philosophy when he said, "we also are His offspring," for the Stoics conceived a sort of world spirit as an all-pervading essence, forming and animating the whole, and the soul of man. Stoic morality was rigid and cold but insistent. Its moral earnestness made it run long parallel with Christianity. Yet it lacked an element of power in its teaching of God. Its ethics were lame, so that it finally dissipated and was lost.

The Greco-Judaic school arose out of the effort to combine the philosophical ideas of the Hebrews and the Greeks. It centered around the Logos. The Hebrews conceived the Logos as the divine self-revelation by the personified Wisdom or Word of Jehovah, while to the Greek the Logos was the Divine Reason and Idea. The two were near enough together to offer a strong resistance to the Christian teaching of the Logos that Jesus Christ was the divine revealing Word of God. After a time the three merged into what we call Gnosticism.

Gnosticism, as a school, busied itself with such problems as (1) how to reconcile the creation of the world by a perfectly good God, with the presence of evil. (2) How the human spirit became imprisoned in matter, and how it was to be emancipated.

They solved the first problem by assuming a series of emanations starting from a perfectly good supreme God, and coming down in stages to a world spirit, an imperfect being who created the world with its evils. They solved the second problem by advocating a life of asceticism in which everything material was avoided as far as possible, or else a licentious life in which everything that was material was used indiscriminately. In other words, all was good. A strain of Gnosticism runs throughout the Epistles, although it was essentially a Christian view of it.

Patristic or Systematic Theology

Meanwhile a system of thought was arising, formulated by the great Church teachers, and culminating in the speculations of the schoolmen of the Church, called Patristic, and classed as Systematic Theology.

To illustrate the method of thought of this school's adherents, at the Great Ecumenical or Universal Church Council at Nicea, 325 A.D., a debate was held between two of the giants of that day. Athenaeus and Arius battled on the question of whether the Creed should say that Jesus Christ was "one substance" with the Father or of "like substance" with the Father.

Arius contended that the creed should say, "homoousion" or "like substance," while Athenaeus contended for "homoiousion," meaning "one substance." The latter won, and from that time was laid the modern metaphysical contention that the substance of Being is undivided, and that we are all of the one substance. That was the origin of the phrase, "an iota's difference."

In the year 529 A.D., the Emperor Justinian closed Plato's great school in Athens, and from that time pagan philosophy, as a system, ceased to interfere with the speculations of the Fathers of the Church. Yet such writers as Celsus, Porphyry, and Julian (called the Apostate, because he had once espoused the Christian faith), were active, and interjected questions that drove the Catholic theologians to an extreme position. So much so that the Catholic Church claimed their great body of doctrine to be the absolute and unmixed Truth of God. They stamped out all dissent to this fixed standard of belief with the most terrible intolerance.

The Scholastics

From that started the Scholastic reaction, which commenced with Porphyry's Introduction and restatement of Aristotle's Categories. The battle raged furiously for two hundred years. Then arose Scotus Erigina, who died in 880 A.D. He resurrected Plato's Idealism, and the old battle was on again between the two forms of Realism. This ran for nearly two centuries.

In about 1085 A.D., Roscelenus, canon of Compiegne, originated or promulgated a doctrine called Extreme Nominalism, the essence of which was that everything is but an empty name, having no reality whatever. However, when he applied it to the interpretation of the Trinity, Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, forced him to recant. This was a mental battleground for two centuries.

Then arose Peter Abelard (1079-1142 A.D.) and William of Occam (1285-1349 A.D.), who originated Moderate Nominalism, modifying the extreme form by providing for an inner meaning for names. Moderate Nominalism was as unworkable as its predecessor, Extreme Nominalism.

Albert Magnus (1206-1280 A.D.), Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 A.D.), and Duns Scotus (1270-1308 A.D.) during the same period, fused all these differing points into one system of thought. The entire conflict was on the question of Universals and particulars, Genera and species, such as appears in Causation and all appearances, Reality and all manifestation, the predicate and the subject.

Realism maintained the objective reality of universals and particulars, Genera and species, while nominalism maintained that they were mere names having no reality at all. Duns Scotus and his associates affirmed that universals exist in a threefold manner: First, as things in the Mind of God, second, as the essence of things, and third, as concepts in the mind.

Nominalism is essentially the philosophy of the Catholic Church of today. Nominalists taught that universals have no substantive existence, i.e., in objective form, but they exist subjectively as concepts in the mind, of which words are the vocal symbols. This is the prevalent idea of the Protestant world until today.

For purposes of contrast, let me state the purely scientific formula, that universal, or Genera and species are: First, subjective relations of resemblance among objectively existing things. Second, they are subjective concepts of these relations, determined in the mind by the relations themselves. Third, names are representations of both the relations and concepts, and are applicable to both.

This view is logically implied in all scientific classifications of mutual objects or subjects of scientific research, and if generalized will apply equally well to all questions of thought. This scientific form of Relationism gathers up every element of truth, eliminates every element of error, and accounts for all the facts of knowing or the origin of knowledge. However, this Scientific Realism had not yet been born.

The Age of Reason, the Enlightenment

Three great streams of thought, set in to solve the old conflict. Voltaire inaugurated the Age of Reason, the Enlightenment, in which faith in anything unseen was viewed as practically wicked. Such thinkers as Sir Francis Bacon, Nicolas de Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet, Christian Wolff, Gotthold Lessing, Bernard Spinoza, Claude Helvetius, Thomas Hobbes and David Hume, prepared the way for a Master of the Art of Reason, found in Immanuel Kant.

John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume prepared another road for such a giant. The essence of Locke's philosophy was that at birth the mind is a clean sheet, and there are no inherent ideas. The stimulus of things through our senses produces all our ideas. Therefore, we can know nothing but matter.

Berkeley refuted the whole of Locke's scheme by showing that because we derive all our knowledge of matter through our sensation of it, and the ideas arising from sensation, all material things are a bundle of sensations and matter has no reality, save as a condition of mind.

After Berkeley had destroyed matter, arose David Hume, who proceeded to wipe mind from the slate. We know the mind only as we know matter. We never perceive such an entity as mind. We merely perceive separate ideas, memories, feelings. The mind is not a substance or organ that has ideas. It is an abstract name for a series of ideas. In other words, sensations, perceptions, memories and feelings are the mind. There is no observable soul behind ideas, and Hume has as effectively destroyed mind, as Berkeley had destroyed matter. One wit advised that the whole controversy be abandoned, saying, "No matter, never mind." Hume likewise assaulted the idea of law and laws. We never perceive causes or laws. We only perceive events and sequences, and infer causation and necessity.

Law is our observed custom in the sequence of events. There is no necessity in custom, only mathematical formulas have necessity. They are inherently true, because the subject already contains the predicate. 3 x 3 = 9 is an eternal and necessary truth because they are the same thing, differently expressed.

When Kant read Hume, he was shocked out of his "dogmatic slumbers."

Rousseau blazed the second great path. He declared that reason was no final test. There are some theoretical conclusions against which our whole being revolts. We have no right to presume to stifle the demand of our nature at the dictates of logic. How often our instincts and feelings push aside the little syllogisms that would like us to behave like geometrical figures and make love with mathematical precision.

Sometimes in the complexities of material existence, reason is the better guide. Yet in the great crises, of life and in the great problems of conduct and belief, we trust our feelings rather than to logic. Thus, Rousseau fought the materialism and atheism of the Enlightenment started by Voltaire.

Abandoning our overly rapid development of the intellect and aiming at training the heart and the affections would be better. Education does not make a man good, it only makes him clever, usually for mischief. Instinct and feeling are more trustworthy than reason. Though reason might be against belief in God and immortality, feeling was overwhelmingly in their favor.

When Kant read Rousseau's Epochal Essay on Education, he omitted his daily walk to finish his book, then began the thirteen years of study to save religion from reason, and to save science from scepticism.

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IV. The Philosophy of Jesus

The student is apt to think that the teachings of Jesus are in some way exempted from analysis, that we should accept them without even trying them out by the approved standards of thought of today. Maybe we fear that they might not stand the acid test of today's knowledge.

In fact, Jesus' teachings submit themselves to analysis without the slightest chance of detracting from their value. His whole teaching was purely philosophical in its character. The two great divisions of philosophical speculation embrace all that he ever said. First, he was concerned with the comprehension of being, second, with the interpretation of experience.

God Is Unity of Being

The basic idea of his philosophy was the Unity of Being. I and my Father are one. That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me and I am in thee; that they also may be one in us. At that day ye shall know that I am in the Father and ye in me, and I in you. I pray that they may be one as we are one. – John 10:30. The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord. – Mark 12:29.

These and many of his other statements tell us that the Unity of Being was the basic idea in his teaching, and that Unity was one of essence. It was and is an eternal fact. The Atonement [at-one-ment] was not something taking place external to ourselves by some power or agent apart from us, but was forever a fact. He came to restore to us the awareness of that fact and to show us the way of life and salvation. This is a process of the mind and spirit within us.

God Is Spirit

That brings us to the second of the purely metaphysical concepts Jesus taught. God is Spirit. Spirit is beyond analysis. It is the ultimate essence of Being. There is a Spirit in man and the inspiration of the Almighty gives him understanding. – Job 32:8.

That which is born of the spirit is spirit. – John 3:6. God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship in spirit. John 4:24. Thus, the Spirit is the only life, intelligence, substance — hence, Spirit is my life intelligence, substance.

When the Master sought to explain his ministry, he said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." – Luke 4:18.

As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. – Romans 8:14. Nothing can be clearer than that while there was a marvelous human knowledge of human life and the effects of various ways of living, the real source of his wonderful teaching was the teaching of the Spirit. He listened to his intuition and knew how to correlate it with mundane affairs.

God Is Omnipresent

The third element was the omnipresence of God. The Jewish people then thought that Jerusalem or Samaria was the only place where God could be found. He said the time has come when neither in Jerusalem nor Samaria but wherever men are they shall worship "in spirit and in truth" (see John 4:23).

This accords with the psalmist's statement, "Whither shall I flee from Thy spirit? If I ascend into heaven, Thou art there, if I make my bed in Sheol, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning and fly to the uttermost parts of the sea, Thou art with me and Thy right hand shall hold me." – Psalm 139:7-10.

This is not the beginning of that conception of Being, for the masters and the sages of long ago held the same idea. God is everywhere, evenly present. The Master found Him present in the desert, on the mountain, on the sea, in the garden, and in every possible place where His life was placed, the Spirit was consciously there.

Power is essentially spiritual. It is Spirit in action, and Spirit is omni-active. All the action there is, is that of Spirit. Neither is he that plants anything nor he that waters, but God that gives the increase. – 1 Corinthians 3:7.

The Father that dwells in me, He does the works. – John 14:10. Give us each day our daily bread. – Matthew 6:11. Thy will is done in earth as it is in heaven. Work out your own salvation, For it is God that works in you both to will and to do. – Philippians 2:13.

God Is Omnipotent

The next great metaphysical factor in his teaching was the omnipotence of God.

All power in heaven and earth is given me. – Matthew 28:18. Know ye not that I can ask my Father and presently He will give me more than twelve legions of angels. – Matthew 26:53. You would have no power against me, except it were given you from above. – John 19:11. My Father works hitherto, and I work. – John 5:17. That is, I work in the seen and my Father works in the unseen.

All the way through his teachings runs this golden thread of Power as the prerogative of the Most High alone. No man has any Power of himself. Even the Son of man is receiving Power from the Father. In other words, there is a fundamental principle of Power, whose nature is eternal action, and there is no other power. Yet its direction and effect is committed to us.

The power in electricity ran wild for ages, terrifying people as if it were the finger of an angry god, until man learned how to harness it and make it do his will. The waterfalls of earth thundered their anthem of power for countless years in a splendor of waste until man found a way to harness them for his use.

The power inherent in man's mind ran to waste for ages, doing nothing more than devising ways for the most primitive expression of man's impulses. Only when we found out how to develop these mental powers and harness them for progress did we find a new world of enjoyment and efficiency.

Occasionally a seer or prophet caught a glimpse of the higher powers available and used them and became a seven-day wonder. Yet we waited for the Son of Man to declare that this Power, directly from the powerhouse of omnipotence, was available for mankind.

One has only to be still and meditate on the fact that the Power that operates in his functional activities, and carries on the metabolism in his body, is not a human but a divine thing — and he multiplies its efficiency a thousandfold.

God Is Omniscient

The next great metaphysical factor in his teaching was the omniscience of God. He knows the end from the beginning. There must be some method of knowing that is different from ours. It is a knowing apart from the necessary time and space factors that enter into our thinking. "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Peter 3:8) is a figurative way of putting it.

We cannot consciously think without the time factor, which is essential to our objective thinking. Sometimes one can catch a hint of omniscience when Jesus' intuitive power goes into action and he sees and knows things in a way not analyzable by the reasoning mind. "Of that hour knows no man, nor the Son, but the Father only" (Matthew 24:36), meaning the end of the ages and the consummation of the earthly order.

When the brothers Zebedee asked to sit on the Master's right hand and on the left, he said, "It is not mine to give, but is reserved for them for whom it is prepared." – Mark 10:40. In other words, such privilege could not be had by any personal or political pull, but had to be earned, and who would earn it, God alone could know.

The Problem of Evil

The idea of omniscience and the presence of evil has been the greatest problem with which thinking minds have wrestled. They have met it in various ways. One way is the idea that the prescience of future contingencies is impossible. Every action has two or more possible outcomes. When you know that outcome, several contingencies immediately arise as to the next step, and so on until the final action.

From this fact they argue that God Himself cannot know the outcome of individual action, especially where the factor of human choice enters. Therefore, infallible principles carry on the Divine Rule, operating by what we know as laws. The causal results are unimportant when compared with the final outcome, the soul's realignment with God.

The explanation also calls for the statement that our ideas of good and bad, right and wrong, are criteria of purely human making. The things we esteem as badly wrong are really only negative good. God Himself sees nothing of what we call evil.

A second view is that God might have been chosen other methods that would have made it impossible for man to err. However, that is at once ruled out by the simple observation that such a status would have made man an automaton, and would not in any sense have answered the need of the Divine Nature to have beings like Himself who were good because they chose to be so. The fact that Infinite Wisdom chose the way of self-determinism for the individual indicates that it was the best or only way in which God could work out the Divine Purpose — God sovereign and man free.

Another view holds that the earth life is the one and only chance for man's unfolding. Failing here, he has no further opportunity or chance or hope.

All these ideas are archaic, and beg a more rational view of human life as the individualized life of God to supersede them. Being born is not primarily to make life a probationary period but to give an individualized spirit the human form divine and by that achieve the chief end of incarnation, learning to be like the Creator.

Length of life, whether one lives a day or a hundred years, is immaterial to the intended outcome, which is to attain Godlikeness. This view is born out in the simple fact that a small percentage do manage to master material conditions and attain high spiritual consciousness and character, even while the vast mass stand still and material ills of one sort and another swamp the multitudes.

The mind attains knowledge by the apprehension of the truth, which does not depend primarily upon material conditions. So, the divine intelligence in us can apprehend truth in a realm devoid of material conditions and in that action may grow and unfold without the hindering elements of materialism. That life is not one stage or a return to repeat the one stage with probably as little hope of success as the preceding one, but that life moves from one realm of existence or consciousness to another as it receives and digests truth.

In this study, we have learned that within us is a power to assimilate and to hold secure the results of our knowing, which are available for our next stage of existence in whatever form it may follow. This metaphysical factor was a fundamental in the teaching of Jesus, and no conflict seems to have existed in his mind between the all-knowing of God and the freedom of the individual.

God Is the Only Reality

Jesus lived, taught and acted as if the material life was temporal, changing and passing, a shadow of the unseen reality whose order material things imperfectly reflected. Man was to do the will of God in earth as it is in heaven, yet Jesus could not fail to see that men did the divine will very imperfectly. God's will is the ideal for the earth because it is the actual in the world of reality.

The activities of spiritual reality comprise the kingdom of heaven, and even in that realm tradition tells us that Lucifer, an archangel, fell from his high state through ambition to rival God. In any event, many limitations beset the kingdom of heaven on earth, and it falls far short of its heavenly pattern.

Reality predicates an intelligence of infinite activity, whose nature is to create and/or to become. It suggests that innumerable universes have risen and disappeared, and probably will continue to do so.

Reality is the infinite changeless principle of Being, which abides invariable and constant, preceding and surviving all changes and conditions. Reality is infinite substance, energy, life, law, mind. It is the unconditioned ground of all that exists conditionally. It is the support and background of all that appears. Reality, in its creation, is all that appears.

Reality, considered as infinite Mind, creates the universe and all that it contains. All creation exists in the idea of reality. The will of reality is universal energy. The pure logic of reality is universal law. The being of reality is universal life. The substance of reality is universal substance. The infinite Mind of reality, in its ideative and volitional activities, is the creative and striving Power of the universe. Reality is immanent in its creation.

In the character of its conscious creations, reality manifests itself does as the artist in his work. The created universe is the cosmic dramatization of the ideas of reality, through which it lives and plays its infinitude of parts.

Reality, being indivisible and immutable, is immanent in its creations in the totality of Being. In and back of each conscious being is the presence and power of reality. Reality is immanent in you. You are identical with it in the totality of its nature, essence and substance.

Man's recognition of this identity by the intellect constitutes the perception of truth or initiation. Man's realization of this identity by the intuition constitutes illumination. Man's manifestation of this identity by choice or volition constitutes mastery.

This outline is necessary to understand the teachings of Jesus.

We turn now to the interpretation of experience in the light of this metaphysical truth — the study of man's relationship to God and the universe, and his experiences as he becomes conscious of who and what he is.

The role of Divine Offspring is stated as the prerogative of the Master and implied as the privilege of all men and women. Because we are what we are in the nature and essence of Being, we cannot be made into the sons or daughters of God, for we are that already and have been eternally. However, we may become conscious of the fact and enter a state of living accordingly.

The prodigal son was his father's boy, no matter his prodigality. We are His sons and daughters, even if we never become aware of it in this world. Yet, working out this relationship is really our task here, and certain attitudes of mind are essential.

The Doctrine of Nonresistance

The Master has told us not to resist nor to strive nor to emulate those who do so. If thy enemy hungers, feed him. – Romans 12:20. If any man takes thy coat, give him thy cloak also. If he compels thee to go a mile, go with him twain. If he smites thy cheek turn the other one. – Matthew 5. He that taketh the sword shall perish by the sword. – Matthew 26:52. His followers put it into practice and the invincible Roman Empire crumbled to dust.

Naturally, every movement toward world disarmament is in substance a gesture toward fulfillment of this teaching of the Master. Its effectiveness depends on disarming the heart of humanity first.

The forgetfulness of self is the submerging of self-interest in the larger welfare overall. When you have done all, count yourselves as unprofitable servants. – Luke 17:10. It almost seems a contradiction to say that our chief purpose here is to magnify the life of God in each of us, then to say "forgetfulness of self." Yet the Master himself interpreted it in his own life. With all his attainments he said, "I am among you as he that serveth." – Luke 22:27. Altruism is the only possible cure for fatty enlargement of the ego.

Blessed are you when men shall persecute and revile you and say all manner of things against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad. – Matthew 5:11-12. We resort to law, then place ourselves in line with human law and practice. We resort to armed conflict, then we expose ourselves to all the dread results of such resort. (However, I doubt if he meant literally that we should not defend our personal or national life when endangered by others.)

Non-attachment to results is exemplified in the following: Rejoice not that devils are subject unto you, but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven. – Luke 10:20. Paul may plant and Apollos may water but God gives the increase. So he that plants is nothing and he that waters is nothing, but God who gives the increase. – 1 Corinthians 3:6.

His disciples were never held responsible for results. "As ye go, preach, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand and the King is coming. If they receive you, enter in. If not, shake off the dust of your feet, but leave the results to God" (see Matthew 10).

Aspects of Loving

Strangely enough, we are never commanded not to love ourselves, but to make our self-love the measure and standard of our love for our neighbor. We can each measure the love we have by how much service we are willing to give, for the language of loving is giving. James asked, "If you see a man hungry or naked and say to him, be clothed or be ye fed, yet give him none of those things, how dwells the love of God in that man?" (See James 2.)

One of his parables (see Luke 11:5-13) told of a man who would not arise and give three loaves, although it was his friend who asked, but finally did because his friend kept knocking. This implies that the right motive for the action was lacking, but like many other situations in human life, taking the easiest way is more attractive.

The story of the unjust judge (see Luke 18:1-8) illustrates the same idea. These two stories really emphasize the love of a friend or neighbor, which was a vital factor in Jesus' teaching. The story of the Good Samaritan (see Luke 10:25-37) was also to the point. The true neighbor was he who showed compassion and put it into action.

Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and do good to them that despitefully use you. – Matthew 5:44. This teaching contrasts with the old idea of poetic justice, "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." Yet humanity has proven a thousand times that while force and combat will not win, kindness will end the conflict between people who are at enmity. Try it sometime by sitting in the silence and inviting love in, and treating him or her with the same consideration that you would a friend. That is the test, and it will work inevitably.

We are personally responsible for the investment of our influence. The Parable of the Talents (see Matthew 25:14-30) makes clear the obligation to use sensible means that will assure success. The man who failed to invest his talent was condemned for his failure. However, it was not punitive justice but the simple operation of the law of cause and effect.


Open-mindedness toward the spiritual universe was last but most vital of all principles Jesus taught. He held and taught the habitual frame of mind that looked toward the unseen realities instead of the appearance of things.

The fact is that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without your Father taking notice of it (see Matthew 1-:29). The feeding of the fowls of the air was his declaration that as for the supply, there was no failure. Of course the birds had to get out and hustle for it. That law has never changed.

God's supply is unlimited. The economies of the universe have never failed, and we cannot question the objectification in material form. Never has such great potential abundance existed, even in the present Depression.

The same principle is true regarding health. The spiritual attitude of mind opens us to the operation of the spiritual forces, which are always healing and constructive. To keep our minds open to the healing power and action of the unseen forces will turn the tide when everything else has failed.

Jesus referred to this attitude of mind when he said, "I ascend to my Father and your Father." – John 20:17. It was an ascension in thought.

Living in full obedience to the laws of material life, but in full consciousness of the presence and power of the spiritual forces that play upon us and in us: This is the philosophy of Jesus. It embraces the tried and proved principles of metaphysics and interprets human experiences in the light of those principles and the facts of experience.

These principles work, and a thing that works can be set down as at least having much truth in it. This phrase is, in essence, the philosophy of Pragmatism, formulated by Professor William James (published 1907).

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V. Immanuel Kant

All philosophers take themselves seriously, too much so. They talk as if the Almighty were waiting breathlessly while they decide whether He exists. The seriousness with which they take themselves is as amusing as the rooster who believed that the sun could not rise without the magic of his lusty crowing.

Philosophy has degenerated into a sort of indoor sport, a parlor game, but unlike most parlor games designed to give the thinking faculties a rest, such as bridge clubs, the country club and others, it tends to awaken the thinking powers. Few philosophers are concerned about whether you accept their thinking and its results. They are concerned with making you think and think for yourself.

You enter a museum or a library or other place of gathered values, then come out again. However, you bring something with you. No one can walk down the stately cathedral aisles of philosophy and ever be the same again. He loses something of life's littleness and gains a new vista of its greatness.

Kant Asked, How Do You Know?

The real purpose of philosophy is not to prove a thing true, but rather to find out by correct methods of thinking whether it is true or not. Kant's famous question with which he confounded the thinkers of his time was, "How do you know?"

To facilitate this proposal to test their thinking, he formulated the "Theory of Knowledge." To facilitate correct thinking further, so that we may know that what we think is correct, he presented the famous Categories by which we may test our thought processes.

For example, no one who had ever read and grasped his category of Relation, whose first section deals with substance and attribute, would ever be guilty of saying, "God is Love and Love is God," or "God is Good and Good is God."

God is good, but good is not God, it is a quality of His character. Or those who stretch the Master's words, "I and my Father are one," until they say, "I am God." True each of us is God, individualized, but none of us can truly say in the light of correct thinking, "I am God."

I recommend my students to read Professor William James, the chapter, "The Will," in his Talks to Teachers, and his book, Pragmatism.

Kant: Father of Modern Philosophy

All philosophical roads lead to Kant, and we may truly say that all modern streams of philosophical thought are traceable back to Kant. He was an adventurer in thinking, a knight of mental combat. His work was a rampart against the advance of materialism on one hand and atheism and pessimism on the other.

True, we have traveled far since The Critique of Pure Reason, and Kant's other writings called a halt to the wild speculation of his day. Yet the presence of his three immortal questions and his answers are in every modern philosophical work. His questions involving the whole interest of philosophy were:

What can I know?
What must I do?
What may I hope?

The old method of metaphysics was dogmatic. It started with the observation that when the mind starts to investigate its own contents, it discovers within itself the presence of certain necessary ideas. It has concepts of space, time, matter, movement, unity, plurality, substance, cause and effect, reciprocal action, reality, possibility, actuality and necessity, all of which relate the mind to the outside world. The mind has a consciousness of itself and from that forms the conception of a soul, which it would like to know to be immortal.

Kant on A Priori Knowledge

From the ideas of cause and effect, the mind ascends until it comes to rest in the idea of a first cause of the necessary and most real being, and so it gets the idea of God, Creation, Infinity, and Eternity. All this thinking proceeded on the assumption that whatever the mind thinks clearly and as necessary, must be real irrespective of whether we can verify it in experience.

It was this proposition that Kant tested by his criticism. His proceeds that the mind can know its own ideas, irrespective of their truth or error, was not questioned. Such knowledge is purely a priori that is, independent of objective experience.

Kant sought to find how far the concepts that are true of the mind are also true of things. Nor does this content of the mind have any external validity for objects.

The essence of his answer was that time and space with their derivatives, although brought forth by the mind, have an objective validity because the space and time within us are identical with the space and time without us. Our intuitive knowledge has objective validity because our function of intuition brings forth the objects of our intuition. Such ideas as the categories or forms of the logical faculty have objective validity, because the self-activity of the understanding brings forth their objects.

When Kant comes to treat of the concepts of the pure reason in theology, soul, immortality, God, etc., he finds that these ideas have no objective validity because they are not treated as ideas brought forth by the reason, but are realities having an existence independent of thought. So that a science of mathematics was possible, and a science of physics was possible because their concepts can be tested by objective experience, while a science of metaphysics was not possible, because our concepts of God, etc., cannot be tested by objective experience. Kant, however, covered that point by declaring that if it is possible to form synthetic judgments or universal and necessary judgements, i.e., if we can form rational conclusions in their realm of knowing, without the help of sense-experience, we have in fact a science of metaphysics.

In unfolding the principles of our intuitive faculty, he says there are two elements, namely, the matter and the form. (He uses the term matter in the sense of the subjective matter of a book or the substance of a line of thought.) The matter is what is perceived. The form is that which reduces the varied reports of appearance to order, and that which gives order to our sensations does not belong to the phenomena, but are the pure forms belonging to the mind.

Kant on Space and Time

The inherent forms of sense perception are space and time. Both space and time are pure intuition, by which the mind presents to us objects outside ourselves. Abstract all that belongs to the matter of sensation, yet space and time remain. The space that the object occupied still remains in its relation to all other space. Likewise the time element of the experience remains in its relation to the timing of all other experiences.

Space and time are the indispensable factors in all our perceptions. Things can only be known to us through the forms of space and time. Space is the form of all outer sense perception while time is the form of all inner experience. No outer object nor state of feeling can become a part of consciousness unless it is either localized or timed. The interval between two experiences produces the idea of time, while the succession of experiences produces the sense of time.

It follows that we do not see things as they are but only as they appear to us through time and space. Kant concedes that phenomena may have realities behind them, but we cannot get at the reality because we cannot get outside our own minds.

That is true but it also is true that we can get outside our previous reports to find other facts which alter the reports. For instance, we see a blue, inverted bowl when we look upward to the sky, but further investigation shows us that there is no bowl up there and there is nothing blue. Or we see our image in a mirror, and it reports as a three dimensional object. Reasoning shows us that it in fact is only a two dimensional object, and that the mind furnishes the third.

To constitute our knowledge, the mind must not only be able by its two forms, space and time, to receive outward objects, but it must have power to coordinate them and give them intelligibility. This power is understanding, which unifies the objects of sense. It is the business of logic to exhibit the special form in which this general intellectual synthesis is exercised and to exhibit these forms in their application to the elements of sense.

Kant takes the four traditional classifications of logic — Quantity, Quality, Relation, and Modality — and from them deduces twelve categories:

Every judgment in reference to Quantity is universal, particular, or singular.

Every judgment in reference to Quality is affirmative or negative.

Every judgment in reference to Relation is categorical, hypothetical, or disjunctive.

Every judgment in reference to Modality is problematic, assertive or apodictic [incontrovertible].

To these judgments there correspond an equal number of categories from which all their pure principles may be derived. They are:

Quantity, embracing unity, plurality, totality.

Quality, embracing reality, negation, limitation.

Relation, embracing substance and attribute, cause and effect, action and reaction.

Modality, embracing possibility, actuality, necessity.

It is by means of these thought forms that we are enabled to think of objects as thought in a proper manner. Experience of any sort presupposes a formal unity of consciousness, and the categories express the special rules under which this Primal Unity presents itself for the guidance of the imagination. Each category has a time element of its own through which the matter of sensation is taken up and transformed into thought.

The time scheme for Quantity is succession of units.

That of Quality is the contents of time.

That of Reality is that which fills time. The negative is empty time.

That of Relation is the order of time.

That of Substantiality is permanence in time.

That of Reciprocity is co-existence in time.

That of Modality sets forth the relation of objects to time as a whole.

That of Possibility is agreement with the conditions of time generally.

That of Actuality is existence in a particular time.

That of Necessity is existence in all time.

Kant's Analysis of Principles

In his formula showing how experience results from the categories, Kant enumerates certain principles by which all our perceptions are raised to cognition (or things known). They are four in number.

Axioms of Intuition, which unite in the general principle that an object of perception is always recognizable as an extensive magnitude, and is known by its quantity.

Anticipations of Perceptions are based upon the view that every sensation is an intensive magnitude or is known by its quality. These two principles (quantity and quality) show that every object of perception, whether it is physical or mental, must be thought in terms of number or degree.

Analogies of Experience presenting the relation of things after the analogies of thought. As in judgement there is an antecedent and a consequent, so in our experience of things there is a physical cause and a physical effect. By this means Kant treats of substance, causality, reciprocity.

(A) In all changes of phenomena, the substance is not permanent. Unless thought supplied this persistent background, realizing the relations of succession and simultaneity would not be possible for us.

(B) Every event is connected or follows after another event. In other words, all changes take place according to the law of cause and effect. The objective coexistence is only conceivable on the assumption that as parts of a community they act and react upon each other.

Postulates of Experimental Thought. That which agrees with the formal conditions of experience is possible. That which coheres with the material conditions of things is actual. Existence is said to be necessary in the sense that everything that occurs is regarded as determined by a cause that preceded it and on which it must follow. These are regulative principles by which the mind is guided in its aspiration to complete an absolute unity. Reason is the faculty of the Absolute.

Hypothetical reasoning implies supposition which embraces the whole of the conditions of phenomena or the universe.

Categorical reasoning presupposes a subject that is not itself an attribute.

Disjunctive reasoning assumes the ultimate ground of totality, vis., the supreme Being, God.

This is the essence of the Critique of Pure Reason. Upon it Kant built his Critique of Practical Reason, developing a moral philosophy, setting forth man's duties to the laws and constitution of the State and his duties to himself and to others. These constitute his Theory of Virtue. Kant first clearly formulated the idea of morality as "duty for duty's sake," similar to Spinoza's "intellectual love of God."

The distinctive feature of Kant's moral theory was his statement of the Categorical Imperative, the absolute obligation of every man to live up to the highest reason within himself.

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VI. An Outline for Right Thinking

Many things may be true for cosmic thought that are not true for our human understanding. The mental life, considered as fact, belongs to psychology, but considered as apprehending truth, it belongs to logic. Thought may signify mental activity, or the contents grasped through that activity.

The human mind never rests in the impressions of the sensibility, but reworks them into forms inherent in its own nature. Mind transcends sense entirely. For instance, I am struck by a stone. The sense fact is simply certain visual, tactile and painful sensations.

If I say, "The stone hit me," I have transcended the sensual experience and attributed objective existence and causal efficiency to a stone. Yet, the mind does not stop there. It knows that a stone has no power to throw itself, so it brings in the man who threw the stone. However, men are not around just throwing stones promiscuously, so mind begins to search for a motive.

In other words, these ideas are not sensations, nor any possible modifications of them. They belong to the unpicturable notions of intelligence. Yet the sensations become an intelligible object of thought when we super-induce these ideas upon them by the action of the understanding.

The Necessities for Right Thinking

This gives us a starting point for the lesson. Without any arguing, the mind holds certain essential necessities for thinking. First, the mind holds the necessary idea of an ultimate Source of thought, beyond which we cannot go and do not need to go. Names for this ultimate Something are immaterial.

Certain thought forms in the mind are inherent. That is, they are native to the mind. Some of these are Time, Space, Number, Motion, Quantity. Whether we will or no, they are present in all our objective thought.

We often meet with the statement that there is no time or space in mind. That is true in cosmic or universal Mind, but it is not true in our objective power of thinking. Thought has no form or significance apart from these ideas in this material and objective world.

Likewise, we have certain fundamental categories or classifications for any intelligent understanding of God and the economies of the universe. When we think of God, such thought forms as Unity, Quality, Relation and Modality are always present. The very thought of God, the Absolute, calls up the form of Unity or One.

Then comes the idea of Quality. He is perfect, yet in a world of imperfect appearances, the mind naturally holds the two ideas of Reality, and Negation and Limitation.

The moment we turn to the material world and its processes, the idea of Relation enters the mind, Substance and Attribute, Cause and Effect, Action and Reaction. Then, naturally, the fourth form of thought appears, Modality, or the method of our thought about the movements of the universe, Possibility, Actuality, and Necessity.

Another apparently inherent tendency of the mind is to generalize, to think that what is true in the individual is true overall. For instance, the instinct of direction in the homing pigeon, is attributed to all homing pigeons, and in some degree to all living things.

Think for Yourself

These inherent thought forms are universal, not given to just a few. Therefore, the first step to right thinking is to accept your right, and the power to think for yourself. Any quality of mind that is apparent in any individual must, of necessity, be in all individuals of that species, in some degree.

The second step in right thinking is to test your thought by the thoughts of others on the same subject. In this way you can check anything that may be lacking in your thought processes.

Next, realize the immanence of mind. It is present and identical in all living forms. In all rational life, mind follows certain methods. In irrational life, mind is also present in a manner suited to that life. Thus, you may frame a clear idea of the Power of Mind.

No particle of matter has any power to act. No bit of muscle, bone, or nerve has any power to grow a lump, produce a pain, have an inflammation, or any other kind of invasion. Matter can act only as the life forces act upon it, and Mind controls these. Therefore Mind is the only power there is. This of course means Mind in the general sense and in the particular. The forces of nature are the operation of the Cosmic Mind through nature.

Now we outline the whole process: First, a dynamic Power exists, universal, omnipotent, whose nature is to act. We do not have to try to make it work. Its nature is action.

Second, a universal Substance exists, primordial, unseen, of a molding, plastic nature, of which all things are made. It is limitless, and so there is never any less or any more of it.

Third is the inevitable plan, pattern, or mold, fashioned as Idea, into which the dynamic Power forms the unseen Substance. We do not have to concern ourselves about the Power or Substance of the Power. Our sole part is to furnish the idea as a mold into which Power fashions Substance and brings our idea into form.

This is not just a metaphysical notion. It is based upon and borne out by the facts of life everywhere.

The Mimetic Power of Nature

Science knows what it calls the mimetic power of nature, a remarkable power in life to take on the form and color of surroundings. Little insects, bugs, animals, take on the form of the leaves and bark on which they live. They also take on the color, so that often you look right at them without seeing them.

The larger forms of life also use this mimetic power. The polar bear is white as to skin and hair because that is the color scheme his environment always presents to him. Some deer are white in winter and brown in summer, adjusting to the color scheme prevailing. Jacob used striped rods and produced a preponderance of ring-streaked and striped calves. This action is automatic.

This is all unconscious action. However, when we come to human life, it is not conscious and unconscious. The power of a child to mimic has passed into a proverb, "Monkey see, monkey do." The power of association is based on the operation of the mimetic power. Good or bad examples owe their influence over us to the presence of this power.

We take on other people's ills, aches, and complaints. We take on the apparent qualities of those with whom we associate, their voices, their mannerisms, and actual physical resemblance.

These all show that the formula that we have learned is based upon the presence and operation of a principle of life that is universal. It follows that since we solely relate to the idea or picture, that the more perfect and constant that picture, the more definite will be the coming into form that which we have pictured. This depends on our practice and power of concentration, or the ability to hold the mind to a single thing and shut out everything else.

Picturing the Divine Ideal

Here is a little drill in concentration that will help you if you will practice it. Use the fingers. Laying the back of the hand flat on the knee, close first the thumb, then each finger, making all the others lay still.

Do not practice denying the reality of anything that may be bothering you. Denial only tends to emphasize the thing. Turn the mind away from that which reports, to the Divine Ideal and focus your attention on that.

Remember that the organic mind within you is the agent that puts things into operation. It is the sole officer in charge of all your functional activities, and superintends all the metabolism or changes that are forever taking place in the body. It does the work according to the plan it has in hand. If years of wrong thinking have changed the original Divine Plan for you, then you must change the plan to His Ideal.

A state of confidence is essential. That confidence must rest upon the knowledge not only that your body responds to your mind, but also that the organic mind never fails to carry out what you steadily hold before it. It is a faithful servant in the house, which only needs to know the will of the Master of the house, to carry it out. If you add to this the fact that the organic mind is the agent of the Eternal Creative Mind, you have laid a foundation for greater confidence.

This confidence is identical with the "belief" that Jesus accounted so important. It really means the steadfast confidence in the means you are using, and the power that works through them. It is well to remember that belief is always associated with the conscious or objective mind, while faith properly applies to the action of the superconscious. Faith is the knowing of our intuition, which does not depend on any apparent material agencies. It looks steadfastly to the Unseen.

When once you have fully and clearly given the perfect idea to the inner builder, count on its fidelity to what you have given it. Once clearly grasping the idea, it continues to work it out whether you repeat it or not.

If you have given the inner builder a perfect idea, it will give you immediate results. If the picture is dim or hesitant and wandering, then you may need to repeat it often and many days. This explains why one person will get healing at a single treatment while another must treat or be treated often.

Having given the idea clearly, then leave it there for the builder to work out, and busy yourself giving thanks for what it is doing. I do not know anything more helpful than the steady giving thanks for the finished work. For when it is finished in your mind, it will be finished in your body and affairs.

Steps to Right Thinking

Develop the habit of thinking constructively. Avoid negative thoughts and statements or negative pictures.

Cultivate the right mental habit by reading books that have an uplifting tendency. It is not worth your while to spend your time reading trash, except for a diversion.

Daily reading a chapter from some author of standing, will soon get the mind in the habit of right thought and correct expression. Such books as the Bible, especially the Psalms and the Gospels, saturate the mind with the substance of the truth in correct literary form and the right metaphysical outlook.

The daily habit of entering the Silence is invaluable. It is an inner experience. It consists in getting your objective mind still while you contemplate things of high spiritual meaning.

While you are acquiring the habit, it is well to be alone, until you find the Silence within yourself. Then you can enter it anytime or anywhere. In fact, you can let the other person talk, and you can answer if needful, and carry on the inner activity.

The first step is to get still physically. Relax, let every part of your body be free from any stress. Then still your mind, not by trying to think of nothing, but turn it to the greatest idea that it can possibly grasp — the idea of God.

You must set your eye for the vanishing point on the horizon. When you want to rest your eyes, lift them to the farthest point away. So when you would bring the mind to rest, you get it as far from yourself as possible. When you have done this, take the attitude of listening. Listen for the still small voice. You may not hear it for a time, and it will not occur in the same way with all people.

To some, the still small voice will bring up some word or phrase you have read or heard. Maybe from the Bible or any of the sacred books, or from the poets. It may be something about which you have read nothing nor thought anything at all. Just let it stay in your mind and it will lead to other ideals of the inner spiritual life.

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VII. The Outline of Philosophical Attainment

The persistent effort of thinkers in all ages to find some rational solution to the mysteries of Being and its manifestation is impressive. The ancient thinkers posited the existence of an Absolute Being as a starting point. This was the finding of pure reason. They did not present the idea of a personal Being, but rather an intelligent impersonal force, passing through vast stages of emanation and subsidence, apparently in an effort to discover itself.

Their problem was how to make this Absolute intelligence available to the finite mind. The process consisted in studying the economies of the material universe, the creative processes of development, the action of mind, and other observable sources of information.

The first point in their thinking, which has survived all speculation, was the Unity of all spiritual existence. The second is the unity of all Substance, whatever its form might be. The use of the modern scientific method has confirmed these two concepts.

In wrestling with the problems of varieties in form and organization in material substance, the doctrine of evolution was announced some 2,500 years before the time of Darwin. They discovered the atomic nature of matter some 2,000 years before science announced the molecular theory of physics.

Another ancient conception was the atomic nature or structure of Spirit, the Essence of the Absolute. While overlooked, disregarded or forgotten, in many respects it furnishes a more rational view than that of Spirit en masse. Their ideas of uniting an atom of spirit and an atom of matter will hold a high place among thinkers, especially when science faces the fact that matter never acts of itself, and the organization of an atom can have no adequate explanation apart from the presence of mind as the crux determining its organization.

The Influence of Greek Philosophy

Coming down to a more modern period, in the Greek Age, we have the picture of mental giants seeking to explain the universe from observable phenomena. One sage contended that all things proceed from the eternal fire, and that fire was the one basic element. Another held that all things arise from air, and that air was the basic element. Another contended that all things came from water, and that water was the original basic element, while another declared that earth was the basic element.

Out of this contention, one arose who presented the idea that there was not just one basic element, but innumerable ones. It was a mighty advance in knowledge about the material world. Science today announces the discovery of ninety-six of these simple or basic elements, and they will discover others.

One of these thinkers was the first teleologist, arguing the presence of design and purpose in all creation, which presupposed an intelligent designer. Most of the Greek thinkers avoided the notion of a supreme directing intelligence in the universe, but some of them conceived a basic intelligence as a necessary part of the scheme of materialization.

The outstanding three among these giants of thought are Plato, Socrates and Aristotle, whose works have profoundly influenced the world's thought until today. The general trend of the later Greek thought was toward scepticism and downright atheism.

Two schools of Greek thought survived into the Christian era — the Epicureans and the Gnostics. The Epicureans owed their survival to their rigid moral code, while the Gnostics survived through their claim to positive knowledge. In fact both had something in common with Christian philosophy, enabling them to continue for centuries.

The Influence of Early Christian Philosophy

The early Christian philosophy differed from all others in that its central figure was the person of Jesus Christ. In their system he was the Logos, the incarnate Idea and Life of God. For many early centuries of Christian times, the Catholic theologians maintained this in the most rigorous manner, believing their own philosophy essentially right, but all others were essentially wrong.

In the 9th and 10th Centuries, their speculations led them far from their original ideas. They battled over such questions as "Nominalism" and "Realism." They debated such questions as whether names were things in themselves, or just the sign of things in reality. Meanwhile, the so-called "Dark Ages" came along, during which there was no positive declaration of truth.

Then a new school of thinkers arose, covering several centuries of time. Among these such names as Bergsen, Von Hartmann, Schopenhauer, Rousseau, Berkeley, Locke, Hume and others of equal attainment appeared. Some of them were constructive and some destructive, but they made definite contributions to the advancement of knowledge.

The Immortal Kant

Out of all this intellectual turmoil arose the immortal Kant, the knight of mental combat, who confronted them with the question, "How do you know that your thinking is correct?" He set about the task of clearing up the whole field of thought by analyzing the processes of mental life, and formulating the principles of correct thinking. Kant made what was probably the greatest contribution to knowledge, whose influence survives to this day.

With the birth of scientific method applied to thinking, many fallacies of philosophical thought were at once apparent. Since then the trend has been to make philosophy scientific while science has become more philosophical. Today any philosophical finding that does not accord with the facts, as found in scientific exactness, is subject to what is often a painful analysis. All this has resulted into a scientific philosophy, at least as far as it concerns the phenomenal world.

The Principle of Intelligence or Mind

The basic idea in modern procedure is that a system of intelligible relations is observable in the material world. There must be, therefore, a faculty of knowing, devising, and maintaining these relations. Since these marks of intelligence are everywhere, there must be a universal principle of Intelligence or Mind.

The new conception does not involve the direct and immediate action of this Universal Mind, in the ordinary processes of existence, but its intelligence and power are graduated to fit the needs of all forms and processes of life.

Every form is equipped with an intelligent, working dynamism, which has all power to work and perform within the radius of its existence. This dynamism, in producing any form, uses a plastic molding form of Substance out of which everything is made. The dynamism is subject to a central dominating idea, which acts as a plan, mold or pattern to determine the form that is to be produced.

It is true that the central dynamism, the universal substance, and the dominant idea are all forms of the infinite intelligence, but they are antonymous in their action. Being elements of the Creative Being, they need no special supervision, but do their creative producing work by virtue of the powers inherent within them.

Thus has the mind wrestled with the problems of existence, discarding outworn notions, and establishing other more rational ideas until at last we have a rather complete philosophical outline of truth as we have deduced it from the phenomenal world.

The Philosophy of Jesus

No study of philosophy can be complete without a careful analysis of the philosophy of Jesus. He did not build his system upon the indications of appearance in the observable phenomena of the objective world. To him these were but parables, similes, old symbols illustrating the world of noumena, the real world of Spirit.

He did not appear to use the usual processes of thinking from appearances back to fact, but from direct knowledge of Reality. His is the philosophy of Intuition paralleling that of Reason. Its basic ideas are directly discerned, not reasoned out. While his philosophy's principles are perfectly adapted to the needs of spiritual man, their application to everyday life does violence to all the native impulses in humanity's biological pattern.

Such an idea as the forgetfulness of self seemed to militate against the normal sense of self preservation. In fact, it was the only way to insure self-preservation. His teaching about nonresistance diametrically opposed the fighting instincts of that age or, for that matter, of any age.

The teaching that love is the universal solvent of all problems in respect to our brothers, neighbors, and enemies, did violence to an age taught to hate your enemies, and get an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. The sanctity of the body, the obligation to keep it in health, and to seek healing as the normal procedure ran squarely into the ingrained idea of neglect and punishing the body as a sinful thing, and the cause of all human ill-being.

His injunction to keep a receptive attitude toward the spiritual universe was unwelcome to people who centered their whole life upon appearances. In fact, his whole philosophy concerns itself with the welfare of the man within as the means of promoting his outward well being. It is wholly devoid of human wisdom, and contrary to the trend of human nature. Upon this tenuous and fragile base, he built a kingdom that has held the allegiance and challenged the imagination of men in every age since he announced it.

The Natural and the Spiritual Man

The two systems do not contradict each other, one is the philosophy of the natural man, and the world of phenomena, the other is the philosophy of the spiritual man and the world of noumena. We can trace the present state of philosophical development, step by step, in its evolution through the minds of the thinkers of every age.

Similarly, Jesus, in his life and teachings, organized the glimpses of reality by the prophets, seers, and illumined ones of all times and races as a complete spiritual philosophy. They are complementary, one dealing with the natural world, the other with the spiritual world, each supplementing the other, and together presenting a rational statement of spiritual reality and its manifestation.

We encourage you to review this course of lessons repeatedly until the outline is clearly fixed in mind. We further recommend reading some standard books on philosophy, and to become familiar with the full work of such men as those mentioned herein. We have given only the barest possible outline to show the path of the evolution of knowledge.

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1^ "The more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa." – Werner Heisenberg, The Uncertainty Principle, 1927, Center for History of Physics, American Institute of Physics.

2^ Teleology is a doctrine explaining phenomena by their ends or purposes.

3^ See Werner Heisenberg on "Quantum Theory and the Roots of Atomic Science," Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science, Lectures delivered at University of St. Andrews, Scotland, Winter 1955-56.

4^ Based on his beliefs and teaching, Protagoras is rightfully the father of modern secular humanism, a cult which has gone a long way in destroying humanity's sense of morality and exercise of personal responsibility and accountability. If you are the measure of all things, your desires are laws of the universe. Anarchy results.

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Thomas Parker Boyd, Jr.
Episcopalian theologian,
teacher, preacher and author

Edna Lister

Thomas Parker Boyd, D.D., PhD

Thomas Parker Boyd Jr. held a Doctorate in Divinity, and spent many years as rector of several Episcopalian churches in Oregon, Washington and California. While serving as Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in San Francisco, he studied psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, earning another Doctorate, under Dr. George M. Stratton, then Professor of Psychology, and later President of the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Boyd founded the Society of the Healing Christ to train people who wanted to be healers. Edna Miriam Lister met with Dr. Boyd December 5, 1925. After she completed the course of study he set for her, she started campaigning with him and his staff of twenty-six in January 1927. They traveled almost constantly, throughout North America, Canada, England and Scotland. In 1934, Dr. Boyd retired, naming Dr. Edna Lister his successor as head of the Society of the Healing Christ. Thomas Parker Boyd passed to the other side in 1936.

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