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The Philosophy of History - Keely the Founder of a System


THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY.

KEELY THE FOUNDER OF A SYSTEM.


"Were half the power that fills the world with terror,
Were half the wealth bestowed on camps and courts,
Given to redeem the human mind from error,
There were no need of arsenals and forts."

"As long as men remain "demons of selfishness and ignorance," so long will they fight for their turn to tyrannize over their brother men. Instruction and education can alone prepare the way for a peaceful solution of the greatest problem that mankind has ever had to deal with; for, before we can hope to enter into a 'brotherhood of humanity,' the earth must be 'filled with the knowledge of the Lord.'" - H. O. Ward, in the Nationalization News.

"As for myself I hold the firm conviction that unflagging research will be rewarded by an insight into natural mysteries such as now can rarely be conceived." - Prof. Wm. Crookes.

"Though "it is the spirit that quickeneth, and the flesh profiteth nothing," the grand reign of the Spirit will not commence until the material world shall be completely under man's control." - Renan, Future of Science.

"If truth is to obtain a complete victory, if Christianity is ever really to triumph on the earth, then must the State become Christian and science become Christian. Such then is the two-fold problem which our age is called upon to solve." - Frederich von Schlegel.

"I come soon and will renew all things." - Scripture.

Frederich von Schlegel, in his Lecture "On the General Spirit of the Age," (1846) says, "There are in the history of the eighteenth century, many phenomena which occurred so suddenly, so instantaneously, that although on deeper consideration we may discover their efficient causes in the past, in the natural state of things, and in the general situation of the world, yet are there many circumstances which prove that there was a deliberate, though secret, preparation of events, as, indeed, in many instances has been actually demonstrated." In tracing the origin of this "secret and mysterious branch of illuminism," and its influence in regard to the true restoration of society founded on the basis of Christian justice, Schlegel gives it as his opinion that the order of Templars was the channel by which this esoteric influence was introduced into the West, handing down the Solomonian traditions connected with the very foundation of this order, and the religious masonic symbols which admit of a Christian interpretation: but, as he says, the idea of an esoteric society for the propagation of any secret doctrine is not compatible with the very principle of Christianity itself; for Christianity is a divine mystery which lies open to all.

Continuing from Schlegel's writings, the Christian faith has the living God and His revelation for its object, and is itself that revelation; hence every doctrine taken from this source is something real and positive, while, in science, the absolute is the idol of vain and empty systems, of dead and abstract reason. In the absolute spirit of our age, and in the absolute character of its factions, there is a deep-rooted intellectual pride, which is not so much personal or individual as social, for it refers to the historical destiny of mankind and of this age in particular. Actuated by this pride, a spirit exalted by moral energy, or invested with external power, fancies it can give a real existence to that which can only be the work of God; as from Him alone proceed all those mighty and real regenerations of the world, among which Christianity - a revolution in the high and divine sense of the word - occupies the first place. For the last three hundred years this human pride has been at work; a pride that wishes to originate events, instead of humbly them and of resting contented with the place assigned to it among those events. . . . It was indeed but a very small portion of this illuminism of the eighteenth century that was really derived from the truths of Christianity and the pure light of Revelation. The rest was the mere work of man, consequently vain and empty; or at least defective, corrupt in parts, and on the whole destitute of a solid foundation;- therefore devoid of all permanent strength and duration. But when once, after the complete victory of truth, the divine Reformation shall appear, that human Reformation which till now has existed will sink to the ground and disappear from the world. Then, by the universal triumph of Christianity, and the thorough religious regeneration of the age, of the world, and of governments themselves, will dawn the era of a true Christian Illuminism. This period is not perhaps so remote from our own as the natural indolence of the human mind would be disposed to believe, says Schlegel.

Never was there a period that pointed so strongly, so clearly, so generally towards the future, as our own. In order to comprehend in all its magnitude the problem of our age, the birth of Christianity must be the great point of survey to which we must recur; in order to examine clearly what has remained incomplete, what has not yet been attained. For, unquestionably, all that has been neglected, in the earlier periods and stages of Christian civilization, must be made good in this true, consummate regeneration of society. If truth is to obtain a complete victory - if Christianity is really to triumph on the earth, then must the state become Christian and science become Christian. Such then is the two-fold problem which our age is called upon to solve. Whatever man may contribute towards the religious regeneration of government and science, Schlegel reasons that we must look for the consummation, in silent awe, to a higher Providence, to the creative fiat of a last period of dispensation, to "the dawn of an approaching era of love and harmony," which will emancipate the human race from the bondage in which it has been held by false teachings; leading men and nations to consider and estimate time, and all things temporal, not by the law and feeling of eternity:- but for temporal interests, or from temporal motives; forgetting the thoughts and faith of eternity. All progress in the great work of the religions regeneration of science Schlegel hails as the noblest triumph of genius; for it is, he says, precisely in the department of physics that the problem is the most difficult; and all that rich and boundless treasure of new discoveries in nature, which are ever better understood when viewed in connection with the high truths of religion, must be looked upon as the property of Christian science. Our various systems of philosophic Rationalism, he foretells, will fall to the ground: and vulgar Rationalism, which is but an emanation of the higher, will finally disappear. Then science will become thoroughly Christian. In the progress of mankind now, as in the past, a divine hand and conducting Providence are clearly discernible. Earthly and visible power has not alone cooperated in this progress;- that the struggle has been, in part, carried on under divine, and against invisible might, has been substantiated by Schlegel on firm and solid grounds, if not proved to mathematical evidence; which evidence, as he remarks, is neither appropriate nor applicable to the subject. Schlegel concludes his work on The Philosophy of History, by a retrospective view of society, considered in reference to that invisible world and higher region, from which a pure philosophy teaches us the operation of this visible world proceed; in which its great destinies have their root, and which is the ultimate and highest term of all its movements.

Both Schlegel and Keely teach that we shall prize with deeper, more earnest and more solid affection the great and divine era of man's redemption and emancipation, by Christianity, the more accurately we discriminate between what is essentially divine and unchangeably eternal in this revelation of love, and those elements of destruction which false teachings have opposed thereto or intermingled therewith; tracing in the special dispensations of Providence, for the advancement of Christianity and the progress of civilization and regeneration, the wonderful concurrence of events towards the single object of divine love, or the unexpected exercise of divine justice long delayed. (See Vera Vita - The Philosophy of Sympathy, by David Sinclair.)

Sir G. G. Stokes Bart., M.P., reasoning on the difficulties as to good arising out of evil, In our study of nature we are most forcibly impressed with the uniformity of her laws. Those uniform laws are, so far as we can judge, the method by which the ordinary course of nature is carried on. That is to say, if we recognize the ordinary course of nature as designed by a Supreme Being, that it is according to His will that the course of Nature should, as a rule, be carried on in this regular methodical manner, we should expect, therefore, to find the operation of regular laws in the moral, no less than in the physical world, although their existence is less obvious on account of the freedom of the will. . . .

There is a conflict of opinion and a restlessness of men's minds at the present day; but we may confidently hope that if men will in a straightforward manner seek after what is true, and that in a humble spirit, without arrogating to themselves the monopoly of truth and condemning others whose opinion may be different, the present conflict of opinion will in time settle down. . . .

It is in this frame of mind that searchers after truth are now examining the claims of Keely as a discoverer, and as the founder of a new and pure philosophy. If the most important subject and the first problem of philosophy is, as Schlegel declares, the restoration in man of the lost image of God, so far as this relates to science, all revolution, as well as all revelation, must tend toward the full understanding of this restoration in the internal consciousness, and not until it is really brought about will the object of pure philosophy be fully attained.

The philosophy of history shows clearly how, in the first ages of the world, the original word of Divine revelation formed the firm central point of faith for the future reunion of the dispersed race of man; how later, amidst the various powers intellectual as well as political which (in the middle period of the world) all ruling nations exerted on their times, according to the measure allotted to them, it was alone the power of eternal love in the Christian religion which truly emancipated and redeemed mankind; and how the pure light of this Divine truth, universally diffused through the world and through all science, will crown in conclusion the progress of this restoration in the future.

The fulfilment of the term of all Christian hope and Divine promise is reserved for the last period of consummation - for the new dispensation which the closing century is ushering in. The esoteric meaning of the second coming of our Lord is thus intimated to those who are watching for the triumph of justice and truth. "Behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according to his work."

Theosophy interprets the often-quoted Scripture passage of "the seven Spirits which are before His throne" as the cosmical, creative, sustaining, and world-governing potencies, the principle of which God avails Himself as His instruments, organs, and media. This is what the Kabbala implies with its seven "Sephiroth," what Schelling means by the "potencies," or principles in the inner life of God; and it is by their emergence, separation, and tension that they become cosmical potencies. If we stop short at these general considerations, this is precisely the idea of Theosophy. When it is asked what special activities are to be ascribed to each of the seven Spirits, striving to apprehend more closely the uncreated potencies through which the Deity works in its manifestation, and to which Scripture itself makes unmistakable allusion, revelation is silent, intimating only by veiled suggestions. It is here that Theosophy leads the way to the open book of Nature: the title-page of which we have only begun to turn.

Theosophy, says Bishop Martensen, signifies wisdom in God: "Church Theology is not wise in assuming a hostile attitude towards Theosophy, because it hereby deprives itself of a most valuable leavening influence, a source of renewal and rejuvenescence, which Theology so greatly needs, exposed as it is to the danger of stagnating in barren and dreary scholasticism and cold and trivial criticism. In such a course no real progress can be made in the Christian apprehension of truth." Jacob Bohme, who was the greatest and most famous of all theosophists in the world,* said of philosophers and other disputants who attack not only Theosophy but also theology, and even Christianity itself, in the name of modern science:- "Every spirit sees no further than its mother, out of which it has its original, and wherein it stands; for it is impossible for any spirit, in its own natural power to look into another principle, and behold it, except it be regenerated therein." This is what Christ taught: "Ye must be born again." Only those who are regenerated, by the principle of which Christ spoke to Nicodemus, can understand the quickening of the Spirit which comes alone from Him who gives this new birth to all who seek it, and in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden:- "hidden, not in order that they may remain secret, but in order that they may ever increasingly be made manifest and appropriated by us."

Jacob Bohme, who was born in 1575, "brought to the earth" an idea which, three centuries later, is developing into a system of pure philosophy, that promises to "cover the earth with wisdom and understanding in the deep mysteries of God."

Bohme gave birth to an idea. Keely is giving birth to a system. Both are exceedingly imperfect in the expression of their views; yet in points of detail each possesses a firm dialectical grip. In their writings both seem overwhelmed by the vast extent of the realm they are exploring. Both find in harmony the object and the ending of the world's development. Conflicting with modern science at very many points, visionary as both appear to be, powerful expression is given to an idea of life both in the macrocosm and the microcosm, the validity of which can be questioned only by materialism. The idea of the one and the system of the other teach that when Nature is affirmed in God it is in a figurative and symbolical sense:- that it is, in comparison with what we call nature, something infinitely more subtle and super-material than matter; that it is the source of matter; a plenitude of living forces and energies. This system teaches, as "Waterdale" has expressed it, "the existence of a Great Almighty, as being in virtue of the perfect organization of the universe, even as the existence of man is incidental to the organic structure of his body;" and that the attribute of omniscience is represented by "the perfect conveyance of signs of atomic movement in vibratory action through the length and breadth of our universe." We are led by it to look from nature up to nature's God and to comprehend the attributes of deity as never before in any other system. It lays hold, with a giant's grasp, of the heart of the problems which science is wrestling with. It answers the question asked by Professor Oliver Lodge in his paper, read at Cardiff, last August, "By what means is force exerted, and what definitely is force?" It was a bold speculation of Professor Lodge, who is known as "a very careful and sober physicist," when, after admitting that there is herein something not provided for in the orthodox scheme of physics, he suggested that good physicists should carry their appropriate methods of investigation into the field of psychology, admitting that a "line of possible advance lies in this direction. Without speculation science could never advance in any direction; discussion precedes reform, there can be no progress without it. It required rare courage for a physicist to step from the serried ranks that have always been ready to point their javelins at psychologists, and to show, with the torch of science, the hand on the signpost at the cross roads pointing in the right direction. It is the great high road of knowledge; but those who would explore it must do so with cautious tread, until the system of sympathetic association is completed which Keely is bringing to birth, for the road is bordered with pitfalls and quicksands and the mists of ignorance envelop it.

Ernest Renan, in "The Future of Science," illustrates the thesis that, henceforth, the advancement of civilization is to be the work of science; the word science being used in its largest signification as covering intellectual achievement in every direction open to the mind, and the co-ordination of the results in a progressive philosophy of life. The fundamental distinction which is expressed or implied, on every page, is that the earlier processes of civilization belong to an age of spontaneity, of unreflective productivity; an age that expressed itself in myths, created religions, organized social forms and habits, in harmony with the spontaneous creations; and that we have now entered upon the critical, defining, intellectual age; in short, as Mr. Nisbet has said, that the evolution of the human race has passed from the physiological into the psychical field; and that it is in the latter alone, henceforward, that progress may be looked for toward a higher civilization.* Philosophy, that is to say, rational research, is alone capable of solving the question of the future of humanity, says Renan. "The really efficacious revolution, that which will give its shape to the future, will not be a political, it will be a religious and moral revolution. Politics has exhausted its resources for solving this problem. The politician is the offscouring of humanity, not its inspired teacher. The great revolution can only come from men of thought and sentiment. It does not do to expect too much from governments. It is not for them to reveal to humanity the law for which it is in search. What humanity needs is a moral law and creed; and it is from the depths of human nature that they will emerge, and not from the well-trodden and sterile pathways of the world." In order to know whence will come a better understanding of the religion which Christ taught, "the religion of the future, we must always look in the direction of liberty, equality, and fraternity." Not the French Commune liberty to cut one another's throats (an equality of misery, and a fraternity of crime), but that liberty to know and to love the truth of things which constitutes true religion, and which when it is bestowed without money and without price, as it will be, "humanity will accomplish the remainder, without asking anyone for permission." No one can say from what part of the sky will appear the star of this new redemption. The one thing certain is that the shepherds and the Magi will be once more the first to perceive it, that the germ of it is already formed, and that if we were able to see the present with the eyes of the future, we should be able to distinguish, in the complication of the hour, the imperceptible fibre which will bear life for the future. It is amid putrefaction that the germ of future life is developed, and no one has the right to say, "This is a rejected stone," for that stone may be the corner-stone of the future edifice. Human nature is without reproach, continues Renan (L'avenir de la Science), and proceeds toward the perfect by means of forms successively and diversely imperfect. All the ideas which primitive science had formed of the world appear narrow, trivial, and ridiculous to us after that which progressive research has proven to be true. The fact is that science has only destroyed her dreams of the past, to put in their stead a reality a thousand times superior; but were science to remain what it is, we should have to submit to it while cursing it, for it has destroyed and not builded up again; it has awakened man from a sweet sleep without smoothing the reality to him. What science gives us is not enough, we are still hungry. True science is that which belongs neither to the school nor the drawing-room, but which corresponds exactly to the wants of man. Hence true science is a religion which will solve for men the eternal problems, the solution of which his nature imperatively demands. Herein lies the hope of humanity; for, like a wild beast, the uneducated masses stand at bay; ready to turn and rend those who are willing to keep them in their present condition, in order to be able to make them answer their own purpose. . . . I am firmly convinced, continues Renan, for my own part, that unless we make haste and elevate the people, we are upon the eve of a terrible outbreak of barbarism. For if the people triumph in their present state, it will be worse than it was with the Franks and Vandals. They will destroy of their own accord the instrument which might have served to elevate them; we shall then have to wait until civilization once more emerges spontaneously from the profound depths of nature. Morality, like politics is summed up, then, in this grand saying: To elevate the people. If I were to see humanity collapse on its own foundations, mankind again slaughter one another in some fateful hour, I should still go on proclaiming that perfection is human nature's final aim, and that the day must come when reason and perfection shall reign supreme.


Sailing, sailing, in the same staunch ship-
We are sailing on together;
We see the rocks and we mark the shoals,
And we watch for cyclone weather.

The perils we run for one alone
Are perils for all together,-
The harbor we make for one alone,
Makes haven for all, through the weather.

Stand by your ship: be brave, brothers mine!
Be brave, for we'll stand together!
We'll yet reach the port for which we sail
In this black and stormy weather.

Sailing, sailing the same stormy sea,
We are sailing all together!
There are rocks ahead and shoals beneath.
And 'round us hurricane weather.

I see in the West a star arise,
That will guide us all together:-
Stand firm by your helm and trust in God
Who pilots us through this weather.

The dawn of morning breaks in the skies
Which will bring mankind together;-
To having of peace, to havens of bliss,
We'll ride through this cyclone weather.
- Clara Jessup Moore.

See Also

Chronology
Keely and His Discoveries

Page last modified on Wednesday 16 of March, 2011 03:12:56 MDT

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