An Engineer's Approach

J. S. Hasbrouck

One of the functions of Engineering and Science is to analyze the results of experiments in an effort to determine the causes producing these results. Or again one may assume something to be true, and by experiment and analysis try to prove it to be true. When it is found that a certain set of conditions produces the same result time after time one knows that he has found something that can be used with safety in future work. Much of the data and formulae we use today were determined by one of the foregoing methods. A second function of Engineering is constantly to improve the product already in existence. This is quite common, as everyone knows, and it is generally the case that as a product is improved more is expected from it. One could cite many examples in support of this among our more common products such as automobiles, radios, etc. It is well to remember, however, that most improvements do not happen overnight. They are the result of many tests and many failures before the more perfect product is evolved. One prominent engineer has stated that "Success is made up of dozens of failures." A further result of this constant improvement is the benefits mankind receives in its way of living.

The question arises can a similar method of analysis be applied to abstract subjects? Let us take as an example the case of the "Brotherhood of Man." Is this a mere fancy of the dreamers and so-called idealists, or is there something more definite and tangible that makes it a fact, even though the greater part of the human race seems to give it but passing thought? Here we must start with what might be called an assumption. All the great Teachers of mankind, both in the fields of religion and philosophy, have stated time and again that all things stem from one Divine Source. It matters not what name is given this Source, the universality of the teaching tends to make it an accepted fact, and the human race is included in this as much as anything else we find in Nature. Also we find from observation and experimentation that the old saying "As above so below" must be true. One branch of Science discloses to us the actions and structure of the Universes that are visible in the "Heavens," while another branch tells us of the actions and structure of the atoms in the invisible realms. Yet what do we find — a universe (such as ours) and the parts of an atom behaving in similar fashion (i.e. small bodies rotating around a central "Sun"), the only difference being one of size. We are also told that all the things which appear to us to be solid and have form are in reality made up of millions of atoms and are not really solid at all but are the manifestation of energy and motion. We are thus forced to conclude that if this Divine Source, this Architect of the Infinite, has created Universes and Atoms in similar fashion, and one is interblended with the other, all things in Nature must be related in essence. True there are various families in Nature such as the Plant Family, the Animal Family, the Human Family, etc., but at least within each "Family" there is definite "Brotherhood." We can say, therefore, that because all humans stem from the same Source, regardless of external appearances, all are brothers one to the other as in any family we see here on Earth. With these same facts before us we can also expand our conclusions and say that Brotherhood, in essence, is not limited to this Earth or its race of men, but must be a Universal concept. One major difficulty to our understanding of this conception of Brotherhood lies in the fact that we have no concept of Infinity with our limited "brain minds." Yet if we are given "life" by this Divine Source there must be some part of each of us that can sense its "Father" just as a small child does his earthly father.

Having concluded that Brotherhood is more than a mere fancy, the natural question comes up, "Why doesn't it actually work in the world?" One need not go beyond the bounds of any human family life to answer this question. The members of the human family have one element in advance of the other "families" on this Earth, and that is the power to reason and make their own choices. Much depends on the nature of these choices whether or not a family functions in harmony or discord. In this case the previously mentioned second function of engineering might be adapted to aid in making Brotherhood a reality in human affairs as it is a fact in Nature. Like the improvement in a product it will not happen over-night, but starting from where we are, with what we have, it merely requires that a goal be set and imagination and determination be applied to solve the problem. The old saying, "One picture is better than a thousand words" might be restated for the case of Brotherhood to read "One demonstration is worth a thousand words."

(From Sunrise magazine, October 1951; copyright © 1951 Theosophical University Press)

The stream of human progress sprang from Heaven on high: it has tumbled and cascaded through the dim ages, dashing its sure course through barriers of repression; it has passed through the maelstrom of conflicting civilizations and now is surely rolling on into the open sea of the boundless brotherhood of man. Nothing shall stay its progress, its destiny is sure, for the destiny of man is in God. — Graham Seton

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