Henry Wood.

The symphony of life : a series of constructive sketches and interpretations online

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distance from its neighbors, let us imagine a race of
tiny, intelligent beings like ourselves, to live. One of
these little homuncules looks off from his tiny earth,
with his tiny telescope, as we do from ours, and ob-
serves motions and bodies moving hither and thither."

But there is now a rapidly growing dis-
position among investigators to conclude
that, in the last analysis, the atom may not
be material at all. Instead of a tiny solid
speck it is probably but a vibratory point
of etheric force. No atom could be so tiny
that its subdivision may not be conceived.
Is it then a metaphysical abstraction, in-
stead of a physical reality ? If so, modern
science may yet come to a virtual endorse-
ment of the monadism of Leibnitz. All
that we know of matter to which we apply
terms is merely the experience of our own
mental reaction or state of consciousness.
Our names for sound, odor, color, exten-
sion and resistance are simply the names
of our own sensations. They are really


The Oneness of Life and Being.

terms of mind, and are unthinkable when
disconnected from it. There can be no
noise where there are no ear-drums. The
aural organ is only an interpreter of a vibra-
tory phenomenon, which in the abstract is
entirely beyond description, except as we
label it vibration. The impressions above
enumerated are therefore seen to have no
objective exactitude. If this be idealism, it
is truly logical ; and who will aver that it is
not scientific ? Even so conservative and
materialistic a philosopher as Haeckel says :
" The opponents of the doctrine of evolu-
tion are very fond of branding the monistic
philosophy as ' materialism,* by confusing
philosophical materialism with the wholly
different and censurable moral materialism.
Strictly, however, monism might as accu-
rately be called spiritualism as materialism."
But his monism seems incomplete, and to
lack the omnipresent intelligence and co-
herence which at least is implied in Spen-
cer's " Unknowable." Haeckel finds all
potentiality wrapped up in each atom. He
invests them individually with psychical
qualities, including intelligence, volition,
sensation, and desire, with unceasing dura-
tion. But the human mind will never be
satisfied with any atomic theory as the basis


The Symphony of Life.

for primary causation. Man is so consti-
tuted that he is restless until he finds a
Cause which is unitary, all-inclusive, intelli-
gent, and beneficent. The fact that such a
demand is found in every detail of his
nature — in fact, that he is made for it —
is conclusive evidence, in itself, of its truth.
It would do violence to all logic to deny
that which has been written in him as the
law of his constitution. Sings Goethe: —

" He from within must keep the world in motion,
Nature in Him, Himself in nature cherish ;
So that what in Him lives, and moves, and is.
Doth ne'er His power nor e'er His spirit miss."

After noting the convergence of philosophy,
science, and religion at the present time, in
fact their virtual cooperation, Professor
DuBois remarks : " The inspired assertions
of a Paul, the insight of the poets from
Goethe and Pope to Wordsworth and
Tennyson, may be found reflected in the
pages of Darwin and Spencer and Huxley
and Fiske. Inspiration, imagination, science
— here all agree. The 'carpenter theory'
has gone forever." It may be not so very
important whether that all-inclusive Eternal
Intelligence be called, " The Power that
makes for Righteousness," "The Infinite
and Eternal Energy, from which all things


The Oneness of Life and Being.

proceed/' The Universal Spirit, or God.
The vital point is, what ideal do these vari-
ous terms convey to men's minds ? In his
poem, " Each and All," Emerson voiced
one of his ideal concepts : —

" Over me soared the eternal sky ;
Full of light and of Deity ;

Beauty through my senses stole ;

I yielded myself to the perfect whole."

The evolutionary philosophy, having been
largely cleansed of its former materialism,
is now recognized, even in its lower ranges,
as being psychical in its sovereignty, rather
than mechanical, structural, and physical.
Its accomplishments are from living centres
rather than through outward accretion.
The whole educational curriculum for or-
ganisms, upon every plane, would seem to
be expressed in the single term, aspiration.
This innate tendency is of course aided by
the reaction of environment. Differenti-
ation and natural selection are but provis-
ional and auxiliary methods. Among the
more recent scientists, Professor Cope very
plainly places structural organisms as result-
ant expressions of preceding and formative
psychical concepts., and necessities. He
says, " The entire process of ascending evo-


The Symphony of Life.

lution appears to be dependent on the pres-
ence of mind^ that is consciousness, in its
successive stages, from the simple to the
complex." More concretely, it might be
stated that thought and ideals find articula-
tion in a cruder material, or rather in a
cruder aspect of the same material. " As is
the inner, so is the outer." " Rising from
phenomena to cause," says Frederic Harri-
son, "is but the translation of sensation
into reality. And this reality is a mental
fact." Mind is noumenal and structure
phenomenal. Modern scientific thought,
not only among psychologists, but among
biologists and naturalists, is tending strongly
in the same direction. It follows that bod-
ies do not build minds, but that the latter,
by a universal law, seek external embodi-
ment and manifestation. This order seems
to guarantee the independent existence and
continuance of mind. It is obvious that if
mind were but a property of organization,
it would be purely a dependent, and con-
ditioned as to action and duration by the
integrity of the outer structure. The sig-
nificance of this principle on the human
plane can be easily inferred. If mind be
primary, it follows that when its organized
structure or embodiment becomes unsuit-


The Oneness of Life and Being.

able, and is laid off, only a form of expres-
sion has been forfeited.

But the foregoing fragmentary outlines of
certain aspects of the monistic philosophy
deal only with the border-land of the great
subject. The grand modern problem and
mystery lies wrapped up in the universal
ether. Nothing exists without some base,
and scientific monism now finds the founda-
tion of all phenomena in this elusive all-per-
vasive medium. The greatest of all future
developments in human research seem to be
those which are involved in its nature, uses,
and significance. If there be atoms, this is
beyond and back of them. Everything in-
dicates that all bodies float in it and are of
it. Is it mind, or matter, or neither ? Sci-
entists are in substantial agreement that it
is an all-abounding frictionless m.edium of
wonderful density, which conveys waves or
vibrations that our senses translate as light,
and also those phenomena known as mag-
netism, electricity, and gravitation.

The hypothesis that vortex rings in the
ether form the basis of all atoms, in what-
ever aggregation, is gaining ground, and is
of wonderful import. What we know as
matter would thereby be resolved into ether
manifested in varying rates and modes of


The Symphony of Life.

vibration. Logically, matter as matter there-
by disappears. It becomes in the last analy-
sis only " a mode of motion." While no
energy is ever lost, the vibration and form
of all bodies depend upon atomic and molec-
ular activity, and are subject to transforma-
tion and transition. Through a knowledge
of electrical, chemical, magnetic, and me-
chanical laws, man is able so to manipulate
existing vibrations as to produce new com-
binations with precision.

There always has been a very natural and
intense curiosity in the human mind regard-
ing the nature of the atom, and the possi-
bility of bridging the chasm between it and
that which is beyond. Tennyson beautifully
voices this in his familiar lines : —

" Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower, — but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is."

Says Sir Isaac Newton, near the close of
his " Principia : " —

" And now we might add something concerning a most
subtle spirit which pervades and lies hid in all gross
bodies ; by the force and action of which spirit the par-
ticles of bodies mutually attract one another at near dis-
tances and cohere if contiguous ; and electric bodies


The Oneness of Life and Being.

operate to greater distances as well repelling as attract-
ing the neighboring corpuscles, and light is emitted,
reflected, inflected, and heats bodies ; and all sensation
is excited, and the members of animal bodies move at the
command of the will, namely, by the vibrations of this
spirit mutually propagated along the solid filaments of the
nerves from the outward organs of sense to the brain,
and from the brain to the muscles."

The term " spirit '' he evidently uses in
the sense of something not material in its
nature. Science avers that every particle of
matter in the universe attracts every other
particle, and it is generally agreed that for
such action some universal medium is abso-
lutely essential. Not long ago, the presi-
dent of one of our leading universities, in an
after-dinner speech, said, " Out of the re-
search of chemists and biologists there is
unfolding something which might as well be
called Love, as by any other name." Is
there a correspondence between what we call
attraction on the lower planes and love on
the higher? or in other words, is love the
voluntary, individuated, higher manifestation
of a universal etheric substance ? Turning,
for a moment, in this connection to a spirit-
ual phraseology, we are reminded, that God
is omnipresent, and that "God is Love."

If the ether be super-material, and the
atom but a vortex wave or vibration of the
same, we seem to arrive at the border-land


The Symphony of Life.

of a spiritual universe. Owing to the anthro-
pomorphism of the past, science, for a little
time, may prefer to use some such term as
*' Eternal Energy " in place of God, as a
matter of habit, but of what wonderful sig-
nificance is the convergence of recent human
ideas ! Putting aside all dogmatisms, is sci-
ence about to become religious and religion
scientific ? Such a unification would be, per-
haps, the most startling and inspiring step
in human evolution that we can imagine.

That all phenomena are but varying
aspects of etheric vibration is coming to be
quite generally conceded. This is the most
logical interpretation of all molecular action
and transformation. It is understood that
Lord Kelvin has technically demonstrated
such an hypothesis.

For some of the generalizations of this
chapter, and also for a few of the quotations
from scientific authorities, the writer desires
to make his acknowledgments to Dr. C. T.
Stockwell of Springfield, Mass., whose very
interesting articles upon this subject were
published in 1897. He reports Tesla as
saying, that : " Nature has stored up in the
universe an infinite amount of energy. The
eternal recipient and transmitter of this
energy is the ether. The electro-magnetic


The Oneness of Life and Being.

theory of light and all the facts observed
teach us that electric phenomena and the
ether are identical." Also that Professor
Hemstreetj in writing of these views of
Tesla, says : " Now call this energy God's
mind and the ether God's body, then we
have the secret of eternal life and the pro-
cess of cosmic evolution. . . . God in the
ether is no more strange than a soul in the
body. . . . Mind in ether is no more
strange than mind in flesh and blood."

Under such an hypothesis, thought trans-
ference becomes both rational and scientific.
Thought-waves go out through the ethereal
medium, and their impact sets up a sym-
pathetic vibration in the mind and brain of
other organisms, or perhaps more especially
in the particular one to whom they are
specifically projected. Many other psy-
chical phenomena, heretofore looked upon as
supernatural, or at least strange, would here
find lawful basis and interpretation. Could
we intelligently apply the universality of law,
there would be nothing strange in the whole
cosmic economy.

Note the significance of the following
quotations from eminent scientists : —

"If it be true that one must struggle to
find words to convey one's thought with


The Symphony of Life.

reference to the physical phase or phases of
the ether, how much truer it is when attempt
is made to suggest how it may be that from
these vortex atoms, with their inner or non-
vortical modes of motion, an organism, like
man, with all the attending physical and
psychical phenomena, is built up. God has
nothing but his own perfect substance to
make worlds (and all that they contain)
out of."

" Matter, therefore, is not only divine,
but it is the crowning act of divine love and
self-sacrifice. It is God giving away him-
self for man to use, to enjoy, to govern."

" Further than this, it is in perfect accord
with the law of all parenthood, of the very
substance of God himself, that we, his chil-
dren, body as well as soul, come. Thus,
verily we are ' begotten, not made ' ; being
of one substance, and children because we
are so in very deed and truth."

" Putting this latest truth of science into
nineteenth century language," says Cal-
throp, "we say God has nothing but him-
self to make his children out of They are
spirit because he is spirit. They live be-
cause he lives. They inherit into his love, ,
his wisdom, his eternity. There is only
one mind, and they share it ; only one life,


The Oneness of Life and Being.

and in that life they live ; only one spirit,
and they are spirit." "In him we live and
move and have our being."

" A God whom we may possibly approach
in some far-off to-morrow is to give place to
a God in whose bosom we rest, the presence i
of whose life and love we daily and hourly
feel. God the ultimate fact and spirit, the
sure foundation on which all things rest ;
this is the thought of the twentieth century,
into which we of the nineteenth have just
made our entry." ^-

We need not claim, dogmatically, that
the ether is God, but everything seems
logically to point to the conclusion that it
is at least his most universal, intimate and
primal self-expression. We lawfully think
of all phenomena as his thought made ob-
jective. If all forms, whether solid, fluid,
or gaseous, are but differing vibrations of
one substance, we must conclude that that
portion of them with which the human
senses come most in contact belong to the
relatively cruder subdivision. This, not in
any baser moral sense, but in an unfolding
order of progression, as being less advanced.
Undeveloped man is more intimate with
them. The intuitive penetration of the
world has counted matter as " gross " or


The Symphony of Life.

" brute/' not because it is bad in itself, but
because it is associated with the first steps
of human unfoldment. Spiritual progress, ,
therefore, lies in the direction of finer and
still finer vibrations, both individuated, and j,
as ruling in the consciousness. The primary
or deific vibration may be not only basic,
-but the finest of all.

How many spiritual bodies, within each
other, of ever increasing refined vibrative
quality make up structural man we may not
estimate. But progress seems to be mani- ,
fested by a successive casting off of the
outer and cruder, for the next in succession,
as soon as its educational purpose is served, j
If reincarnation be true (regarding which no
opinion is here advanced), it would seem to
be for the reason that such an educational
purpose had not been fully completed. It
seems normal that soul or mind must have
an objective experience and embodiment in
matter, or more correctly in a material con-
sciousness. Browning has expressed this

thought : —

" I count life just a stuff
To try the soul's strength on."

By this consciousness it is seemingly — not
really — distanced from God, its primal
source. Is it, that in working its way back


The Oneness of Life and Being.

through an educational discipline of free but
experimental choices, it may develop an
intelligent appreciation, recognition, and love
for its universal counterpart and Reality —
the " Father's House '' ? Man never can
get away from God except in consciousness.

If the casting off of a cruder form of
bodily expression for one more refined,
which is already inclosed within it (con-
ventionally called death), be progress, may
there not be more such transitions before
ideal and perfect divine oneness is attained ?
Science would, then define " death " as the
utilization of an embodiment of finer etheric
vibration. And now let us consecrate the
ether, and even matter, and no longer
regard anything as " common and un-

The cosmos is a living cosmos, and the
mind of man, as a spiritual dynamo, has
relations and attractions with every part of
the whole macrocosm. In speaking of this
relation from the scientific view-point, Pro-
fessor DuBois exclaims, "What limit can
we set to man's action ? " And further :
" So far as we understand the constitution of
the universe we live in, it is made sensitive
to will, and through its whole extent it
thrills at the touch of spirit hands. The


The Symphony of Life.

action of man's will in such an universe may
accomplish any conceivable result."

The divine idealism of Emerson, as
yet scantily appreciated, voices a similar
thought : —

*' The rushing metamorphosis \

Dissolving all that fixture is, '
Melts things that be to things that seem,

And solid nature to a dream." /

What a day it will be for the world when
science fully accepts the unity of all force
and the underlying oneness of all phenomena,
whether physical or spiritual ! God will be
found to be " All in All," in reality, and this
will not be pantheism. As soon as science
and religion become fully unified a great re-
vival of both will follow. God, Love, Mind
and Life fill all space. When such a con-
sciousness is cultivated, it virtually reveals a
new universe. It comes with the opening
of a new human ideal, a fresh visual faculty.
The observer feels an all-inclusive, dynamic,
pulsating Life, with which he is filled, and
in which he is enclosed. All limitations,
historic, dogmatic, formal and scholastic,
are pushed back and the horizon infinitely
widened. " Old things have passed away
and behold all things have become new."
God is not only " personal," with all that


The Oneness of Life and Being.

term implies, but infinitely more. All being
is spiritual Being. If the ether be the mani-
festation of spirit, wherever the former is, the
latter, being its cause, must persist. Noth-
ing is " secular " because everything is sacred
and divine. Nothing is supernatural because
everything is normal. There is no death
and no inanimate matter. The cosmos is
filled with poetry, intuition, emotion, and
brotherhood. The supposed coldness of
mathematical and all other exact scientific
truth is transformed into a warm, rhythmical

In man, nearness, oneness and God-like-
ness are to be unfolded through a progressive
recognition of their inherent truth and nor-
mality. Evolution gains its dynamic force
through an all-pervading spirit of hopeful
endeavor, or, in other words, an ideal which
is always an impelling forward attraction.
As Emerson puts it : —

"And, striving to be man, the worm
Mounts through all the spires of form."

As our former ideas regarding the impene-
trability of matter give place to the reality of
etheric vibration, other new and startling
probabilities open befDre us. " Solidity 'V is
a mere sensuous illusion. Says Dr. R. G.


The Symphony of Life.

Eccles, in quoting from Maxwell : " The [
most solid steel is built of molecules that |
are not and cannot be in actual contact with 1
each other. They exist in it like a cloud of
gnats or flies, and only appear one instead
of many, because they move together as in a
mass." Thus it is with all " solid " bodies.
When the rhythm favors, bodies can pass
freely through each other. Jevons, in his
" Principles of Science," remarks, " For any-
thing that we can know to the contrary, there
may be, right here and now, passing through
us, and this world, some planet invisible to
us, with mountains, oceans, lakes, rivers,
cities and inhabitants." Dr. Young also
suggests that " there are worlds, perhaps
pervading each other, unseen and unknown,
in the same space."

In one of the series of Bridgewater Trea-
tises, the late Professor Babbage compares
the ether to " a vast library on whose pages
is registered all that man ever said or woman
whispered." There are untold myriads of
sound, color, and light waves, of which our
dull senses take no cognizance. There are
other etheric waves, innumerable, which are
utterly incomprehensible to us with our
present equipment. The voices of nature
" rest not night or day " from chanting the


The Oneness of Life and Being.

glory of the Creator, as displayed in all
his works. Every form of beauty is his
thought in translation. In proportion as
our thought-forms come into at-one-ment,
he finds human expression. If the ether
possess infinite dynamic vitality and spiritual
correspondence, it is like an eternal reservoir
containing all divine potentiality for man.

Before the term " omnipresent " could
have any vital meaning to humanity in
general, it was necessary that religion and
spirituality should be reenforced by science
and philosophy. The infinite boundaries of
space — hitherto called empty — are filled
with God ; and if with God, then with
Love, Life, Intelligence, Wisdom, Benef-
icence, Poetry, Beauty, Cohesion, Energy
and Truth. The Father gives all — Him-
self — to his children. All spirits are em-
braced in Spirit. Matter is resolved into
an appearance. All things cease to have
separateness, for nothing exists but being.


The Symphony of Life.



HEN refined from its former ma-
terialism, the evolutionary phi-
losophy exhales the spirit of an
optimism that cannot be limited.
What a great and rapid advance within the
forty years or more since Darwin and
Wallace formulated their theories of " The
Struggle for Life/' and " The Survival of
the Fittest," to the present accepted altru-
istic basis, even from the standpoint of a
science that is yet materialistic ! When first
imperfectly recognized, the law of progress
appeared selfish, if not even cruel. The
great procession of advancing material forms
was found to be moving in accord with
fixed laws, but the fact that it was orderly
could ill atone for its pessimistic temper.
All potency was declared to be in matter,
which grew in obedience to a blind, inherent,
but invariable tendency. But it may be


Evolutionary Reconciliation.

admitted that, in spite of the mistaken spirit
of the movement, its reliable method was a
distinct advance beyond former concepts of
an arbitrary regulation that was capricious,
even though theoretically of divine origin.

The bitterness of the " struggle " that
destroyed the less fit and the lack of general
unity and design, together with the seeming
unmoral and unspiritual trend of the new
philosophy, combined to produce upon the
world a somewhat chilling sensation, convey-
ing an implication of agnosticism, if not of
atheism. If, indeed, the natural order were
found to be cold and utterly selfish, as well
as orderly, could it be any real advance over
the former more agreeable, even if erratic
and uncertain, economy ?

It was natural that the lower aspects of
the new philosophy should come first into
view. The coarser and cruder are always
more obtrusive. But soon it began to rec-
tify itself, so that even its pioneers gradually
saw other sides of their rising structure ;
and presently other investigators added new
breadth to its proportions, until it began to
show coherence, unity and design, and, still
more recently, altruism, beneficence and
even love. Many added their contributions
— that of Herbert Spencer, perhaps, being


The Symphony of Life.

the greatest of all — and roundness and

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Online LibraryHenry WoodThe symphony of life : a series of constructive sketches and interpretations → online text (page 4 of 15)