A unit of consciousness and will, which for long ages had astonished astronomers on many man-bearing planets, quit behaving like a comet and went on with the karmic process of being re-born as a planet in one of the most illustrious solar universes.
Like any human unit, it went into darkness for a period of gestation. It multiplied itself into a suitable body — a bony structure of rocks, an arterial system, a breathing apparatus, a nervous network, a little vegetation on its outer surface. These sub-hierarchies were composed of units of consciousness and will, too; they had formed many successive imbodiments for the planetary unit, and the desire-fumes arising from the pent-up energy in all these body-forming units made an excellent root-base for the animal life that presently began to ooze, crawl, fly, swim and prowl in the elements of the planet's imbodiment. All the animals were shadow-prototypes of the solid forms they would ultimately become, like the desire-design that becomes a form through the mind of an inventor.
But this imbodiment was a crisis in the planet's evolution. The planet had reached the man-bearing degree of self-unfoldment, and was about to develop its first stream of thought-energy maintained by those weird units called "men" — young gods who must reimbody thousands of times (at least, the greater number of them must) before they begin to wonder if they are elementary gods or postgraduate beasts.
The body-building skill of a re-born planet is no more amazing than the splendid technique shown by a human unit in its mother's womb; nor is the breeding of many types of men more remarkable than latent mentality in a baby becoming many thoughts of different types that use the perceptive senses as a means of adjusting self and environment.
So the planet's humanity presently became many men of different types varying in degree of evolutionary unfoldment. This took rather longer to do than one might believe, for most of us find it difficult to think in time-periods of millions of years. If we calculate in seconds the time from a human baby's birth to the time it starts to think in an organized manner we might partially condition our minds toward a grasp of planetary and solar growth.
The mentality-units born to the planet may not have had elongated shells full of chemical apparatus similar to our bodies, nor four appendages thereto, called arms and legs, nor a spinal periscope with a head-like radio-station on top of it, as we have; but they could think of themselves as this, that or the other; they could self-consciously exercise choice in making adjustments between self and environment, and they soon began to wonder if they were animals or gods. So we may conclude that, relative to their planet, they were "men."
As is customary with worthy man-bearing planets, advanced units from the solar army of kindly helpers, conveniently called "gods," who at one time had been new men on some planet, walked, flew and talked with the newly born humanity. Many persons think of a god as something like a man but with much bigger and better ways of having a good time. But the gods that tutor young humanities are better thought of as basic principles; eternal, omnipresent, boundless and immutable relative to their particular unit-area of motion, or "hierarchy." The constant reimbodiment of these lofty gods gives man the finer qualities of love, faith, trust, etc., and as these qualities are just what makes a human baby lovable, it is evident that the gods walk and talk with a new-born baby as well as with a new-born humanity. To the perception of the young humanity the gods no doubt were living entities. Patience, humility, charity, hope, etc., may have appeared as focal centers, even imbodied in ethereal forms similar to those of the planet's new men. At any rate, lofty, impersonal and impartial principles were in direct communication with the humanity, even serving as rulers and teachers. But when the humanity began thinking of itself as "many men," and each man began to think his way into a personality-shell that probably was a bit more important than any other shell, the new men grew a bit cocky and were certain that the way of the old gods was out-of-date, old-fashioned and hardly fit to meet the exigencies of every-day, practical, modern life.
The universe being based on mathematical principles, it is quite reasonable to think of a new humanity as composed of ratio-units rather than of meat-and-bone structures, and so it was on this planet. One prominent type of man had a perception-ratio of one-to-two. In fact, this type of man was the ratio of one to two, but it is our unfortunate habit to think of "having" rather than "being" even when considering our own innate qualities. The type thought of itself as the 1/2 — a much better type than the heathen across the mountains whose perception-ratio was 2/3, and incredibly higher than the strange people over the ocean whose perception-ratio was an unheard-of 3/4. When a type with a 1/6 perception-ratio made its appearance, and international affairs were in a mess, the wiser units who still believed the gods could help some, went to the people's favorite preceptor, Ah Ping.
"We cannot get along as a humanity, Ah Ping, as you say we used to do; even the last million years has shown a marked decrease in human solidarity. The humanity is nothing but "types" and the types are fast becoming localized units, or "men," each of whom thinks of himself as a whole type — if not as a whole humanity!"
Ah Ping said, "You must introduce a new mode of thought. All the types must find a common working base and each type must adapt its perception-ratio to that base. For your types the base is 12. Teach the 1/2 to think of itself as 6/12, the 2/3 as 8/12, the 3/4 as 9/12, and the 1/6 as 2/12. Thus you can work together, yet no type will lose its own perception-ratio."
Aided by Ah Ping and other gods, the wise men established schools of the new mode of thought, and because the humanity was young and plastic a great deal of the old brotherhood of man was re-established in only a few thousand years. But of course not all the men accepted the new way to think of themselves, and indeed it is not easy to develop a root-base of twelve and make it a living power in one's life, even if one could live a thousand years at a stretch as these early men did. Who of us could remember to ask for 6/12 of a yard of cloth if we desired only eighteen inches? Yet that is easy compared with acquiring some of the high modes of thought necessary to real elementary godhood.
Presently a 1/8 type appeared! Many men claimed that the new thing was a freak, a frivolity of the gods, and the older types began to accuse one another of being the parent of the outrageous new type that would not fit into the orthodox mode of thought. Ah Ping and the few wise men who had remained disciples of the gods established a new school to fit the ageless principle to the needs of the new cycle, and taught thought-exchange on a 1/24 basis. A sufficient number of men learned the new mode of thought to save the planet from a mental collapse, but it was a mighty task as the men had developed more solid bodies, more material knowledge and more lust for perishable goods. The basic principle of expansion of consciousness was being lost sight of by the people at large. They preferred to worship an image of 1/24, done in matter, man-like in form; a god with one eye and 24 hands, or some such thing. And soon most men forgot what the 1 and the 24 really meant. Besides, the men spent vital energy so rapidly that 200 years was a long time for a man to live, and why waste time learning new modes of thought? Let the best man win.
The time came when, according to law, the new humanity must more or less stand on its own intellectual-spiritual feet, with the gods accessible only by each man through his own higher, godlike qualities. Ah Ping and some of the other gods were at times available to a few of the highest disciples, who sent forth their young pupils from time to time to keep alive, if possible, the basic doctrine of an ever-expanding consciousness. The planet was at that time nearly two billion years old, comparable to a human unit of about 36 years who is full of physical energy but without much interest in the gods.
Two billion years seems a long time for Ah Ping and the other gods to stay with the new humanity. Of course, the first billion years might have passed before the new humanity was old enough to be taught by the gods. But certain classes of high gods have a remarkable ability to reimbody at will, and part of their power to do this is their constant, impersonal and impartial devotion to the great evolutionary process throughout all space. Ah Ping himself was not always known to the public by that name, but it was he just the same.
It was at this mid-point of the planet's lifetime, when the men were nearing their most materialistic degree of involution, that the next radical type, the 4/5, appeared.
Two major schools of thought clashed with one another for possession of men's minds. One school claimed that a thought-base of 60 was quite enough, and the 1/8 type could be let drift into oblivion or go dig up a buried city out of some desert and live in it. The other school taught a thought-base of 120, including all types. Old-line orthodoxy said both new schools were abominations in the eyes of the gods. So the planet had its first religious war, and many good men were killed in the names of the prevailing spiritual teachers.
Ah Ping smiled when a committee of wise men said to him, "What will happen, O Master, when a 3/7 type is born, or a 7/9? Will the planet go crazy?"
"These fine types," said Ah Ping, "will evolve from the older types in the spiritual half of your planet's life. It would be impossible for so young a planet to develop men with modes of thought on a base of 840, to say nothing of a base of 2520 to include the 7/9 type. But in the sixth and seventh rounds of this planet's present life it will not be so difficult."
"Why not?" asked a careless one.
Ah Ping asked the disciple, "Will not the many re-become the One?"