The Theosophical Forum – March 1947

HOPE OF THE WORLD — Louis F. Callaway

Education today means simply what the old latin word educere implies — to lead out — to lead out of oneself the inherent intelligence that will instantaneously beget ideas which complete ideals in expression and in action.

Scientific study and research and progressive education are the hope of the world. We have only to look about us to see that ignorance is the root of all evil. And much of the ignorance and superstition of today lurks and stalks like a ghost within the confines of some of our structural palisades erected to God, all in the name of goodness, and as a result, some men have become as taboo-ridden, if not more so, than Andaman Islanders.

Many of the scientists and philosophers of the past have been realizationists who have been fully convinced that science is the great master-key to the hope of the world. The illustrious Euclid inscribed above the entrance of his domicile: "He who hath not a knowledge of geometry shall not enter my sacred portals." The great Descartes said: "Mathematics alone will avoid sophisms, and by it, all problems of life can be solved, if proper principles be applied"; and the intellectual Socrates wrote: "Man, know thyself."

In thinking of science let us want also to include the foundations and implications of social science. Man may extend his search into the realms of economics, man's striving for subsistence and existence; sociology, man's cooperation with man for higher hopes through his social attitudes and social ideals; psychology and metaphysics, mind or soul science, through which may come the hope of a fuller life here and now, or perhaps a hope of immortality. Add to these mathematics, the science of numbers ("The measured order of his plan"), proportions, symmetry, balance, truth, and beauty, all of which are manifested in the whole of the universe; add also biology and evolution, the laws of life; and anthropology, to open man's vision to the beauties of the kinship of human life with all life — and we see why Science can truly be called the hope of the world.

If one is interested in knowing just what the social and economic conditions, the philosophies, and the sentiments of men have been in any particular period of history, he has only to go back into the literature of that period. Literature, notwithstanding its artificialities, is most revealing, for it mirrors life. Let us go back into the Elizabethan period of English literature and point our pedagogical finger at Christopher Marlowe who, in one of his plays, portrays the leading man, a Dr. Faustus. Because Dr. Faustus is a scientist, he is depicted as having sold his soul to the Devil for a mess of pottage. History and literature reek with similar examples of such beliefs.

Much is said about God and religion, but little is said that may give the thinking mind something to get intellectual teeth into. A goodly part of our thinking has been soupy thinking — absit invidia. The mistaken idea that the good alone have found a solution to the riddle of the universe has been blown to bits since the Victorian period. That no idea could be farther from the truth is plain to scientists and men of letters who have spent years working with scholars in pure theology for the improvement of spiritual ideas and ideals on an intellectual rather than on an emotional basis.

The things with which truth seekers are concerned primarily are not Paul's journeys through Rome; the crucifixion (crime at the cross); tombs (morbidity); Heaven (the happy hunting ground); hell (fear — the most destructive psychology to man); the Devil (like the boogy man, another mythical, fictitious character); mortification of the flesh (punishing the body for a cause. . . . what cause?); they are not concerned with medieval orthodoxy and dogmatic and empty theories and ideas; but rather with the fundamental spiritual principles by which man may learn to attune himself with the great Kingdom (within), and with the vibrating, pulsating laws of Life in order the better to live his individual life.

Teachings relating to an anthropomorphic God have been hammered into the minds of men since the Dark Ages, and the unwary have been led to believe that evolution and certain other scientific theories are pseudo or the lunatic fringes of science; that science is of the Devil; that psychology and metaphysics are the practices of witch-craft; and that education and scientific studies have made atheists of the younger generations. In other words, it has been considered devilish to delve into the mysteries of the universe. These teachings and beliefs, if they prevailed, would be destructive to our entire system; they are "Down with the colleges and universities!" The true scientist has breathed more deeply and has lived more fully. Nor is the true scientist a materialist. He is in touch with Life. The scientist is truly one of the Illuminati. He sees the beauty of this divine Law of the Universe and observes its activities under the microscope each day, and he feels the presence of this great Universal Mind — Infinite Intelligence — in his avid quest of the unknown. In Nature's living substance he sees the Energy and feels the great Principle in manifestation. He is attuned with Life. Life gives meaning to life.

No true scientist could be an atheist. Never more spiritual men lived than Darwin and Ingersoll, and yet, the rabble and the unhallowed have conferred upon these men diplomas of atheism. Other great scientists and philosophers of the past have been charged with heresy and immorality, persecuted, and even put to death. But if we do not encourage the creative minds and the geniuses, whither are we going?

Many of our teachings and beliefs, outside the realms of science, have failed to give us the basic principles of an interpretation of modern life. Until the yet-existent medieval orthodoxy extends to science and progressive education the right-hand of fellowship, it will continue to be shallow and stagnant orthodoxy, and the world will continue gradually to slip into a state of social-economic decadence and intellectual and spiritual retrograde.

Anybody, even the most illiterate, can lead the religious life, but "without intellectuality, self-cultivation, and self-realization, no man is prepared even to begin to live the spiritual life." Is consciousness (intelligence, awareness) a mundane luxury, a psychological accident, or a will-o'-the-wisp figment of the imagination, induced by an indifferent law? Or could it not be a consoling depth of feeling, a controlling grace, a wealth of perception that human choices have some bearing upon an infinite order of being? To possess a faith in consciousness and to feel that it represents a universal oneness with all things makes a great difference in the lives of men and nations.

The Church has not infrequently posed an answer to the question: "Can a good scientist believe in God?" The question obviously should be: "Can a true scientist believe in a Supreme Being?" — since there are many connotations to the word God. The danger of the medieval, orthodox connotation of the term is that it implies materiality, fixity, absoluteness, and conclusiveness. "Man proposes, but God disposes." When men conclude, they cease to think.

Mankind, in an endeavor to throw off the shackles that have kept him down to earth, stands at the portal of Wisdom, petitioning high Heaven for a new hope — a founded, glowing, enlivened spiritualism (not spiritism) that will link humankind and reestablish the great Brotherhood of Man.

Spiritual men may feel deeply with Einstein who said: "Certain it is that a conviction, akin to religious feeling, of the rationality or intelligibility of the world lies behind all scientific work of a higher order. This firm belief, a belief bound up with deep feeling, in a Superior Mind that reveals itself in the world of experience, represents my conception of God."

"On earth, peace, to men, good will."

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