It has ever been the aim of true scientific research not so much to discover new phenomena and to record facts, as to demonstrate the relation between facts, and discover the laws and principles governing the phenomena, according to and in agreement with which they appear, change or cease. Thus the mind of man is not satisfied with knowing that the apple falls to the ground, that the earth circles around the sun, that heat applied to water will produce steam which can be made to drive an engine, or that in the realm of life everywhere the weaker give way before the stronger and that species grow and develop. The mind searches further; at last it enunciates the law of gravitation, the laws of motion, the law of the conservation of energy and the indestructibility of matter, the law of the survival of the fittest and natural selection. We pass from the realm of external nature as known to us through phenomena perceived by the senses and enter the domain of philosophy, that inner realm of Nature where the mind of man contacts the universal mind.
We live in a relative world, we cannot conceive of absoluteness, to say we do so involves a contradiction in terms; yet we contact absoluteness and so, too, does everything else in the universe. We and all else in the Cosmos partake of the nature of “the same and the other” as Plato says.
It has been the aim of modern science to demonstrate the existence of primordial matter and the latest developments in chemistry, physics, astronomy and biology have all proceeded from this as an hypothesis and have also tended to further establish it as a fact.
The laws of Nature all demonstrate that “sameness” underlies “otherness.” That which forces itself most upon the attention is the “otherness,” the diversity, and hence the apparent separateness existing throughout Nature. But we make a mistake when we confound diversity with separateness. Diversity is a sine qua non of manifestation — without it Nature does not exist; but separateness is only fantasy, a figment of the imagination due to our reliance on the senses as guides and our depending on them for final corroboration of reality. Reliance on the senses and the life of the senses may be proper for the animals, yet even they have another higher faculty which guides and controls the senses, restrains them and makes them subservient to the wise purposes of Nature, so that they do not overstep their bounds and become degraded as in man. As servants they are means by which he gains experience of the outer world: as masters, or as a court of final appeal, they lead him into the realm of illusion and error.
Diversity exists throughout Nature. But the parts though diverse are related as are the instruments in an orchestra and each in its own place helps to swell the great harmony. They are diverse as the hand is diverse from the foot, yet there is no separation between them.
The mere statement that this is a relative world implies an underlying unity, a fundamental identity. The very fact of its being possible to perceive the “otherness” that exists between ourselves and the objects of external Nature or between any two objects, implies and depends on an inner identity or “sameness.” Were there not this identity the diversity could not be perceived, no relation or similarity between any two objects could be perceived, they could not be brought together in the mind or in any other way, they could not exist in the same universe.
This identity then is the primal fact, in which all other facts, all actions, processes, phenomena, laws, are related, and out of which arise the diversity and relativity which characterize the universe, all parts of which interact and interdepend. The consideration of this brings us therefore to the contemplation of the primal law of being, of which all other laws are aspects or partial expressions and according to and in agreement with which are all the facts and phenomena of being, and even Being itself in the sense of existence or manifested being This primal law we may express by the words: Relativity, Interdependence, Love, Brotherhood: each having its peculiar light and meaning, but all containing the same basic root-idea.
That relativity and interdependence do characterize the universe is very generally recognized, for as shown all science is founded upon these and indeed all life in greater or less degree involves them. But from a superficial view, many will deny that love and brotherhood rule all life: that for example man’s inhumanity to man, the struggle for existence, and the law of the survival of the fittest, are not in accord with either of these.
But even recognizing man’s inhumanity and the struggle for existence, do not these subserve Brotherhood, are they not, while seemingly opposed to it, included in a wider love than that of man, and still under the great Law of Being? We have been frightened too long by the phantoms of pain and sorrow, seeking ever to evade them and striving for temporary joys as the end and aim of existence. Yet do we prize highly the refined gold, the brilliant flashing of the diamond and the iridescent colors of the opal; and, too, we honor the noble-hearted, the wise, the compassionate, and long for the peace and the power which belong only to such. How came the gold to be so pure and bright, whence came the brilliance of the diamond and whence came the flaming iridescence of the opal; how came these hearts to be so noble, wise and compassionate? Through the struggle for existence in which only the fittest survive, through the fierce heat of fire that alone purifies and purges away the dross, through suffering and sorrow — the outcome, truly, in part of man’s inhumanity to man, but far more of man’s own heedlessness and folly, his passions and desires. Out of the pain and suffering comes eventually not only the recognition of this law of Brotherhood but conscious action in accordance with it and the loving service of all that lives.
Who are the fittest? Shall we narrow our view to but one condition or one partial aspect of life? If we can answer for the weaker, for those who give place to the stronger, who apparently do not survive, we obtain a key to the solution of the whole problem. The weaker suffer, are crowded to the wall, are apparently exterminated, the outer form perishes, but still there is that which survives — the soul, that fittest part of us, survives. The law of the survival of the fittest does not alone apply in the life of the physical realm but in the deepest recesses of man’s nature and on all the planes of Being, and as that which is fittest in each of us shall not only have survived but shall gradually become dominant over the lower nature, shall we then realize our power to work with Nature and recognize that what in great Nature appeared but the law of interaction and relativity is really the law of Love and Brotherhood, and that it is our privilege to announce the law and bring every thought, word and deed into conformity with it.
The mind and reason alone will never bring us to an understanding of the purposes or even the methods of Nature. To attain a realization of these, the mind must become the servant of the man himself, the soul, who is more than mind and that alone which will take man further is to act, and to fulfil the realization that his Nature is one with Divine Nature. Her powers of which his had heretofore seemed but a reflection must in very truth become his in actuality, and her purposes become his purposes.
Thus Brotherhood will no longer be only the underlying, adjusting, compelling law, working unperceived and in apparently devious ways, but will become in man everywhere recognized, everywhere exemplified and made actual, everywhere consciously followed, and the gateway to a higher development of powers beyond all present conception, of which we can only say they are Divine.
“Help Nature and work on with her, and Nature will regard thee as one of her creators and make obeisance.”