The Path December 1892

PROBLEMS IN PSYCHOLOGY J. D. Buck

The materialist will claim the eternity of Matter, the eternity of Force, the universality of Law, and therefore the Eternity of Nature. Eternal Nature is, therefore, an expression with which the intelligent materialist has no reason to quarrel. A ceaseless Evolution takes the place of the old idea of Creation. All Time, past, present, and future, is involved in this ceaseless Evolution. Matter exists in many forms, and differs very widely in density, mobility, etc. So also with force, which manifests in an endless variety of modes. We use the generic terms matter and force so as to include all forms, and these generic terms have been admitted by many leading scientists of the present day to imply a common substratum, a universal substance from which all forms of matter have differentiated, and a universal energy appearing in many forms. A very considerable portion of modern investigation proceeds from these general concepts of Eternal Nature. When, however, it is proposed also to use the generic terms Universal Spirit, Universal Mind, Universal Consciousness, and Universal Life, the average materialist protests, because of the Mechanical Theory of modern science which undertakes to reduce all problems to mass and motion.

Without stopping to show the absurdity of such a position, we may simply remark that there is precisely the same justification for the idea of Universal spirit, mind, consciousness, and life as for matter, force, and law. In any last analysis we know as much of the one as of the other. Neither is any one less justified by sound reason than another. The materialist without greatly changing his idea has simply to enlarge his thought and improve his methods. We might add that universal spirit, mind, consciousness, and life are latent and potential in Eternal Nature, though manifesting under certain definite conditions, in certain definite forms, and always under the dominion of universal law. The ability to recognize any of these multitudinous manifestations depends on the point gained in the evolution of the individual. We are compelled by logic and analogy to admit that manifestations may be continually occurring around us of which we are entirely unconscious, and as a higher consciousness is evolved in us these manifestations may become known to us. These are logical deductions from common experience, and warranted by the known laws of evolution. In other words, man is capable of recognizing and apprehending universal evolution, according to the degree and extent of his own evolution.

Now the common factor in Eternal Nature and in man by which, while involved in and evolving with nature, man is enabled to know both nature and himself, is Consciousness. All of manifested nature has been designated as embodied consciousness. The relation of universal consciousness and individual consciousness is as logical and apprehensible as universal and individual life, or as universal matter and force, and any special differentiation of matter and force occurring either in man or in nature. What consciousness may be per se, we know as little as we know the ultimate nature of matter and force. Nearly all of the leading scientists of the day admit that in the last analysis we know really nothing of matter and force. It may, therefore, be logically claimed that our knowledge of mind, life, and spirit is of precisely the same character, derived in the same way as is our knowledge of matter and force, viz., through conscious experience in the process of evolution. Beyond this is simply a war of words, empty and profitless. In the Theosophical classification of the seven-fold principles or planes of eternal nature we find Mahat, or Cosmic Ideation. It is the principle of all forms, universal mind, the phenomenal aspect of universal spirit, or consciousness. Universal consciousness manifests only as universal mind, and this universal mind is the origin of consciousness in man. Universal consciousness is latent, potential, unmanifested. It is the "rootless root". Universal mind or cosmic ideation is the phenomenal aspect of universal consciousness, is its differentiation, while this root from which it springs remains potential and forever concealed. Cosmic Ideation, therefore, manifests that eternal potency which is itself forever concealed, and by differentiation throughout the universe gives form and law to all phenomena, while sinking its roots into that which is itself rootless, because it is the universal, unknown, and forever unknowable source of all. However widely differentiation proceeds, even down to the lowest plane of matter, there is through every manifestation, in every atom of matter, and in every element of force, the endless thread or root connecting the latest differentiation with its primal source. Out from this unknown source of all nature, all being and all life, have all things come, and back into it must all things return.

Here, then, we have the metaphysical basis and the sound philosophy for all psychological problems. Man is an epitome of eternal nature. Mind in man is related to his own consciousness, as cosmic ideation or universal mind is related to universal consciousness. The known, the manifested, the phenomenal is differentiated from the unknown, the unmanifested, the noumenal. Observe the logical sequence. Consciousness in man is the root of mind; universal mind is the root of man's consciousness: universal consciousness is the root of universal mind. In the outbreathing of Brahm, or the one life, an unbroken chain runs through all being and all creation, connecting all with the ever concealed "Principle of Principles". Nature and man evolve on lower and still lower planes by virtue of their continually involving their original source or potency, and their continual differentiation of the original substance and energy. Man is thus at one with eternal nature, and his consciousness is but one remove from its original source. Beyond this the problem in man's evolution is his Manasic development, or the differentiation and phenomenal display through his varied experience of his states of consciousness. Amid all of man's varied experiences, in all mental states, in delirium, hallucination, hypnotization, insanity, even down to imbecility and idiocy, the substratum of mind, i.e., consciousness, remains the same. In sleep, in dreams, and in dreamless sleep, consciousness still remains. That which so continually and so greatly changes is the relations and manifestations of mind to its root, consciousness. Mind is the basis of man's experience, the theater of his evolution, the battle-ground wherein is fought out his triumph or his defeat as a self-conscious, rational individuality.

All that I am is the result of what I have thought. It is composed of my thought, it is made up of my thoughts.

The potency of all that I may yet be lies concealed in my consciousness, as the source of the fountain lies concealed in the bosom of mother earth. The plane of all illusions is in my mind. If I control and suppress thought and sink back into consciousness, silencing the voice of the many, I shall hear the voice of the One, the Eternal.


The Path

THEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE