DESIRE: THE ORGANISING PRINCIPLE
SINCE the first two atoms came together under the Law of Attraction and produced the earliest specimen of individual life upon our planet, the vitality of the race has been slowly ripening up to the point where immortality in the flesh could become a possible thing. As the vital powers have ripened, conditions have also ripened, to meet the needs of more vital creatures, and thus the supply has been equal to the demand.
Indeed, the saying that the supply is equal to the demand is grounded in the Principle of Attraction. It is one of the absolute truths.
Whether what I call the life of immortality in the flesh is desirable or practical hinges on one point. If the substance all about us that we see in existing forms of life, the forms of minerals, plants and animals is dead matter, infused by living spirit, then our only hope of prolonging our lives will be by some method that will release the spirit from the matter.
And this position is accepted as the truth almost the whole world over.
Dead matter can never be permanently enlivened by spirit, nor is it desirable that spirit should load itself down with something that is forever dead. Moreover, if this is the true condition, it never has been necessary for spirit to be so loaded with the dead weight of matter; and the entire combination has been a very grave mistake, ruining, or, at least, deferring, the happiness of every spirit that ever entered the material life.
If I knew this to be the true situation, I would never move my hand to save my own life; I would look forward to the time when my spirit would drop its load of death, as the chained and barred prisoner looks forward to the hope of freedom.
Long and earnestly I pondered the subject of dead matter with its infusion of living spirit, and wondered why a union of two things so diametrically opposite to each other should be either-necessary or desirable. Presently I knew that it could not be; because, if matter is dead, then the Law of Attraction cannot exist in it, and it is absolutely immovable by any force whatever. It has no power to respond to anything; it is helpless; without the principle of cohesion; and entirely useless in the building of worlds or of men.
In this thought, which I knew to be correct, I touched the negative pole of the truth I was seeking.
If matter was a dead substance, it was dead, and there was no inherent power in it, and no latent life. It was simply dead, and had no place whatever in the universe of uses. That the substance called matter did exist there was no denying, even through the visionary process of Christian Science. The substance existed; it was an ever-present and an indispensable reality.
"Indispensable"—this was a fortunate word. Dead matter could not be indispensable; the sooner dead matter and every form of death should be dispensed with, the better.
What, then, was the substance called dead matter? Did it have life of itself? I answer—yes.
Then, if it has life of itself, what need has it of the infusing spirit which seems to be a different thing from it; the infusing spirit that only infuses it a few years and then deserts it, leaving it to be again infused by other spirits, or to remain forever helpless?
The more I pondered on this subject, the more I became convinced that matter had life of itself.
To have life is to be capable of thought. This proposition brought me face to face with the great truth that every atom in the universe had power to think. In other words, that every atom was transfused with the Principle of Attraction, and responsive to every other atom; and on this fact alone rested the possibility of organised forms.
By slow degrees and never-ceasing thought, I found myself in an immaterial universe; that is, in a universe where all is living, active, vital intelligence, or mind, or thought, or brain, or knowledge.
Each atom was not a dead thing infused by something else; it was not a dead thing that yet had the power to recognise the transfusing principle of life within it; if it were dead it could not recognise anything. But still it existed, and was responsive to other atoms; what, then, was it?
It was mind itself; and mind, which is the recognition of the Law of Attraction, or the law's recognition of itself—substance; actual substance, to be seen and handled; to express in its own appearance its own belief in the law, or as much of the law as it could comprehend.
Here, all in an hour, the whole system of evolution opened up to me. The external world, the world of mind, is in constant effort to express more and more of the law of being, the Law of Attraction, which is the principle of life; the unseen side of itself; the positive and unchangeable I AM; the constantly growing recognition of which gives ever-improving expressions of itself, from the smallest and weakest individualised life up to man; and from man as he now stands in his ignorance and helplessness, up through an unending process of improvement, by a constant acquisition of new truths, or an ever-widening recognition of the power of the Law.
The Law of Being, or of Attraction, is to the visible universe what heat is to light. It is the magnetism in the magnet. Every atom is a magnet, and the external or visible part of it is the magnet's recognition of itself, just as light is heat's recognition of itself.
All power is in the law.
By all power, I mean all power of organisation. In our first knowledge of the world, as stated before, the atoms were so widely diffused as to be almost beyond the reach of each other's attraction. Ages passed; and the law—always constant to itself in its drawing power—had condensed the fiery mass somewhat; had brought the atoms closer together, so that its drawing influence began to have a greater effect. Then, as the ages went by, the drawing power overcame the distances more and more, and masses began to assume form.
Through this same process, always increasing in strength, the world was brought to a condition where it became possible for higher conceptions of the Law to be formed. Rocks adhered; waters gathered themselves together; a blade of grass put up its daring head, and the first protest of intelligence against bulk and weight, the first rebellion against death, recorded its tiny oath.
But the poor baby life did die; recognising nothing but the first faint monition of endless individuality, its little effort lost itself to become merged in another and greater effort.
And so one species merged into a nobler one; one genus disappeared, because its power to recognise nothing farther of the possibilities of the Law became its environment; an environment that nothing but dissolution could break.
But always the power of the Law was drawing the atoms to closer cohesion; and the atoms thus cohering were, by their very existence, proving the greater potency of individuals to recognise the Law of Being or the Principle of Attraction.
And so the recognition of the Principle of Attraction or of Being has proceeded right through the ages ; and so it can continue to proceed.
And although recognition of the Principle of Attraction is the externalising power, the power that makes visible, or marks the showing forth of its capabilities, it is a fact that up to the present time, this recognition has been an unconscious recognition; by which I mean a recognition that has expressed itself in uses, and not a recognition that could give a logical account of itself, and thereby become a conscious recognition.
Life has heretofore proceeded entirely on the unconscious plane. It has proceeded in the individual by the individual's recognition of his own personal desires.
Desire is the organising principle; from first to last it has been so.
The recognition of desire is the recognition of the law as expressed individually. It is the individual's recognition of the magnetic or attracting power which he sees within himself. He recognises this attraction or magnetism in himself, and it becomes the law of his individual life. It is that unseen something within him that always cries out for something more than he already possesses. It is the Principle of Life; the growing principle; and his recognition of it has brought him steadily up through the centuries from the lowest condition imaginable to his present form, intelligence and strength.
In obedience to his unconscious recognition of this life-principle expressed individually as desire—he, as the tiny drop of protoplasm, acquired a digestive system and all the appendages necessary to supply it with food.
In obedience to his love of life, or his desire to have his life perpetuated, his organism produced a reproductive system; which as yet only serves a part of his purpose; since it is only far enough evolved to perpetuate his kind without perpetuating himself.
While generation proceeds in one unbroken stream on the unconscious plane of life, regeneration is not possible except upon the conscious plane; a plane that the race is now on the verge of reaching.
All growth depends upon the recognition of the law; but no thing, and no man, can recognise the law in its fulness. Man only recognises the law in himself, as it is expressed in his desire for something more than he possesses.
The recognition of my desires is the recognition of the Law of Attraction in my own life, as separate and apart from the Law of Attraction expressed in other lives.
The desires I see in myself are evidence of my own self-hood. They form my ego. That I am not in all particulars like my neighbour is because my desires differ from his; I recognise in the law more good than he does, and thereby show forth an organisation superior to his; or I recognise less good, and show forth an organisation inferior to his; or both of us may recognise an equal amount of good, but of different kinds, and may show forth organisations equally good, but different from each other.
And this has been the case all down the scale of being. A blade of grass shows forth as much good as it recognises; so does a tree, a horse, or an angle worm.
Our bodies are the records of our beliefs; and just to the extent that we have believed in our desires, which are of the Law, individualised within us, we have been true to the Law, or the principle of growth, and have manifested that which seemed good to us; therefore, I say that as much "good" as we have recognised in the Law, we have shown forth in our bodies; thus making our bodies the record of what we desired and believed in. The forms of life have been growing more complex from the first inception of the first form, which was nothing more than the cohesion through the Principle of Attraction of two or three of the primordial life-cells.
They have been growing more complex, because as they aggregated to themselves more and still more of the life-cells, their desires became more numerous. This increase in the number and character of their desires was all the time making more powerful magnets of them; and so evolution proceeded.
Every visible manifestation of life—mineral, plant and animal—is self-created.
Life may be called two-fold, even though it is a unit. It may be called two-fold because there is a seen and an unseen side to it. On the unseen side we have the Law of Being or the Principle of Life, which is the Law of Attraction. No man knows anything about it except that it exists. We see its effects in the magnet; we see that every life-cell is a magnet, and we know that it is both external and internal; both seen and unseen; both positive and negative. The positive side being the Law, which is unchanging; the negative side being the recognition of the Law, which is the external side, and which is constantly changing through the increasing or lessening power of individual recognition.
The more an individual recognises of the power of the Law, the more positive he becomes. Man, recognising more of the power of the Law than any other creature, is positive to all other creatures; and being positive to them, he is their master. They supply him in all his many wants. He cuts down the magnificent tree and holds its individuality in subservience to his needs; he kills the animal and eats its flesh in order to satisfy his desire for food; he becomes greater and stronger all the time by sacrificing lives that are negative to him.
These lower lives pass constantly into his life; his life would pass into some life higher than his own, but for the fact that his constantly growing brain renders unnecessary any life higher than his. If his brain found its limitation in serving a non-expanding range of uses, like those of the cow or the horse, then nature would beget an organisation superior to his, into which the increasing, knowledge of the growing race might extend.
But it is not necessary from the fact that man keeps growing and increasing in knowledge all the time; in this way proving that he has no limitation. In consequence of this fact there will be no higher organisation, except that into which his present organisation will expand by the farther expansion of his intelligence; or his farther recognition of still greater power existing in the Law.
Intelligence or mind is the visible substance of the universe; it is simply the recognition of the Law of Being, which is the Law of Attraction, or the Life-Principle.
Another statement of this idea would be that the words "love" and "intelligence" are an explanation of it all—love being the unseen principle of cohesion. The idea expressed in this manner is not new; it forms the basis of Swedenborg's theory, a theory that he fails to carry out into particulars in his very voluminous writings.
The entire trend of thought is from physical to metaphysical; and it cannot be otherwise, since race growth is in this direction.
A belief in the physical as dead matter is all that now holds the race back from the most rapid and startling growth. Freedom—the goal of the world's desire—lies just ahead, and here we remain, tethered to a mistake, a mistake that could not hold us one moment, but for the fact that we are all mind, and that our mistakes are our bodies. Our mistakes are our beliefs; they are our fixed modes of thought, therefore, they are our beliefs; and belief is the body of the individual. The body is not the record of our beliefs; it is our beliefs; it is the sum-total of all our beliefs; for belief, being a mental thing, is real substance; and, whether belief is true or false, it is a substantial thing so long as it lasts.
Believing ourselves living spirits chained to dead matter is a mistake as potent to hold us down to what we call the law of gravitation, as if matter really were a dead substance, instead of being what it really is—pure mind, the recognition of the Law of Being—from which it is inseparable.
In attempting to define the seeming difference between the law of gravitation and the Law of Attraction, I showed that this seeming difference was a difference in the degree of intelligence in the objects that were attracted. I showed how the words "death to death" would explain the law of gravitation, and "life to life" would explain the Law of Attraction; in short, that the law of gravitation was the negative pole of the Law of Attraction, since its effects were manifested in objects too ignorant of the Law of Attraction to be lifted by it.
I said that with the first awakening of intelligence, which in all objects, from a grain of sand up to a man, is the recognition of innate desire, the objects were lifted upward instead of being held downward.
The Law of Attraction is therefore the Law of Life in evolution; while the law of gravitation is the same law of life in latency. All is life either in action or with its powers of action latent.
Therefore, the law of gravitation is the Law of Attraction; but being the negative pole of the Law, it seems to be rather a denial of the Law than the Law itself.
The law of gravitation glides by imperceptible degrees into the Law of Attraction. They are the same Law, the seeming difference being the different degrees of intelligence that recognise it.
The speck of mould lies close to the earth. It does not recognise the principle of life within it. That principle of life is desire. The Law in individual expression is desire; and after a time the speck of mould feels the monitions of the law; recognises the desire—the law—and becomes what we call a living organism. It was alive before, but did not know it. That is, the Law of Attraction was in it because it is in all things; but the recognition was wanting; or, rather, the degree of recognition within it was too undeveloped for observation.
So long as the recognition was wanting, or too feeble for expression, the speck of mould was simply acted on. With stronger self-recognition came the power of independent action; and then it became obedient to the Law of Attraction within it as expressed in its own recognised desire; and with even this small amount of freedom it moved upward from the earth. The law of gravitation in it had developed into the Law of Attraction. In strict truth, it had always been the Law of Attraction, but was only the Law of Attraction to the intelligence that recognised it as such.
Thus it is seen that a recognition of the Law of Attraction emancipates from a belief in the law of gravitation, or from the non-belief in the Law of Attraction; and thus intelligence becomes master of death to the extent of its power to recognise the Law of Attraction.
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The inseparableness of substance from the Law that is its invisible partner, when once seen in its true light, immediately suggests the idea of immortality in the flesh; especially when taken in connection with the fact that man is self-creative.
Indeed, but for man's belief in the deadness of matter, and his still more foolish belief that a God made him, he would even at this time be diseaseless and deathless; he would, even now, be on the road of endless progression, led exclusively by his desires for happiness. He would be trusting the Law, and externalising his desire—which is the Law individualised in him; and his body would be showing forth greater power and beauty daily. He would be on that plane of thought where his body (which is the condensed form of his thought) would be growing each day into a new and ever-beautifying revision of his new and beautifying acquisition of intelligence.