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is constantly developing and evolving, should be given a fair chance. After all, history is little more than a record of the growth of the human mind. And it cannot be denied that the intellect has constantly made giant strides forward. It has arrived at a certain point of its progressive career, the present, and it is with pride and satisfaction that it can look back upon its former fumblings and stumblings in the darkness of an utter incompetency. And it is, consequently, with hope and courage that it should face a future which will probably be radiant with its competency to solve the sublime mystery of God.

Even if we should agree, however, that here and now, assisted by our intellect, we should knock at the door of mystery, the question arises, Of what earthly or heavenly use is our obtaining a glimpse of the truth? That question invariably presents itself in connection with reflections upon death. If our senses and our mind, as we may reasonably assume, eventually must vanish with the physical self, what may be the purpose of our gathering pearls of truth? What, indeed, we continue to ask, is the ultimate useful purpose of all that we do and feel, of our struggles and aspirations, of our moments of anguish and of our moods of laughter? Do human activity, feeling and thought represent so much senseless waste of energy expended in the hollow emptiness of ever-brooding time? The answers to these questions do not easily suggest themselves, especially not when we separate ourselves in thought from the past and the future, and from the rest of the world. Individual activity, physical, moral or mental, and impression and experience, seem purposeless when linked with a mysterious origin and an unknown destiny.

But even if we should not be able to discover our ultimate origin, we are at least able to trace our self to a relative and immediate one. Something belonging to the ancestor, and something that constitutes the future generation, slumber in our deepest soul. The boundary line of our individuality, though we often ignore the fact, is made almost indistinguishable by the ever-murmuring sea of humanity. We are products of the past in the same sense that we are instrumental in shaping tomorrow's human material. We are part of a progressing humanity. We contribute our share, insignificant as it may be, towards making humanity what it is. That fact urges upon us the necessity of a study of history, not merely of a study of its surfaces, but indeed of its soul and inner meaning. A survey of history will convince us that no human thought or action represents wasted energy. On the contrary, a cry of anguish and a peal of laughter, alike, disturb the smooth surface of the ocean of time, and vibrate upon it eternally. The products of thought and effort, and of human activity in general, do not follow the individual into oblivion. They become evergreen leaves on the growing tree of humanity. They serve as footholds on the slippery slope of progress by means of which a human race manages to climb to loftier heights. The present human world sends its taproot into the ancient soil of a long-forgotten humanity.

If there be a solution of the mystery of life, one of its keys is a clear comprehension of the meaning of history. We cannot discover ultimate reality when we live, in thought, in the present, only. Both we and our present conception of deity originate from inferior products, and the process of becoming has been an inconceivably long and painful one. Within the last fifty centuries, countless deities have ruled the destinies of men and even today our conception of the supreme is subject to constant change. If it is the truth that we seek, and not our particular brand of truth, it is desirable that we start our inquiries without either sacred books or deity. We should face merely the rugged rocks of the world and the naked facts of life. Our intellect should then expand towards time and space, towards the past and towards the universe. From the immediacy of our self, and from the present which is interesting because it is ours, we should tear ourselves, realizing that there are, and that there were, other selves from which our own differs widely. Beyond our individual environment, we should seek a universe that will acquaint us with objects, phenomena and laws for which we seek in vain within the narrow limits of our little world of self-centeredness. The secret of the supreme is not found without our wandering through the catacombs of the past, nor is it discovered without taking into consideration the sun-dotted depths of the universal immensity. A supreme concerning itself mainly with the insignificant individual cannot be much more than a provincial conception. Only when we are capable of thinking in terms of infinite universes and eternally rolling ages, the supreme of our conception becomes worthy of the name, God.

In sounding the depths of history's meaning, we simultaneously cxplore the vastness of the universe. Human history is, for one thing, the history of the mind's development. And one of the chief activities of mortal mind has been the taking of journeys into the unexplored vastnesses of the external world. From the nature of such journeys, and from the success or the disaster in which they ended, we may learn something concerning the mind's ability in the past to solve the riddle of life. In the light of past accomplishments and failures, we may draw our conclusions regarding the possibility of complete success in the matter of translating into words and thoughts the great secret of being. We are, furthermore, enabled to roughly estimate the distance which man has covered, and the one which he yet must cover, on his journey towards a final goal. And, perhaps, as a final result, we will assume a more modest attitude in the matter of unravelling mysteries of boundless universes, and we will grant that we are as yet children groping in the half-darkness of a dawning understanding. On the surface of things, there is no harm in knowing "all about it and about." Our conception of existence, however, is intimately associated with our actions, in particular, with our moral and ethical behavior. Imaginary possession of wisdom is often more harmful than the rankest ignorance. It makes the individual unshakably narrow in his views, and intolerant of the views and the actions of his fellow being. There is also a logical objection to the claim of full knowledge and understanding of the supreme. The supreme, in order to be supreme, should eternally hide behind a veil of mystery. That which bars our intelligence from grasping the nature of the supreme may be of the thinnest material possible. But it constitutes a barrier, nevertheless. Our intelligence can merely inform us of the fact that deity necessarily exists behind the veil. But what deity is, it cannot tell. He who knows the supreme, in all its fulness unwittingly places himself on the supreme's divine level. Man knows of deity, but never can he know deity.

Man's intellectual accomplishments in the past should influence our conclusions regarding the possibility of his solving the mystery of being. Before proceeding with the discussion of the accomplishments in question, however, we should make clear our views concerning the real meaning of history. Generally speaking, a man's interpretation of history is strongly colored with the hues of his personality. Being artistically inclined, we discover in history the birth and the development of art. The religious person sees religion blossom from the seed into the institution which it is today. Others, impressed with the material facts of life, discover in it an attempt on the part of man to make this earth a comfortable place to live in. The moralist cheerfully talks about a gradual progress towards a condition of peace and brotherly love. And the pessimist sees history carry man, slowly but inevitably, towards a final crash of doom. We experience difficulty in viewing the facts of life from an impersonal, scientific and philosophic standpoint. Pet theories and preconceived ideas persist in partly crowding out scientific facts, in order that the final product of our conceptions may agree with what we are and with what we think. The mathematician, if philosophically inclined, founds his theory of life on a mathematical basis. The physician applies his dissecting knife to immensity. We invariably blend that which we are with our opinions, judgments and theories. The impartial viewpoint is rare, resulting as it does from a desire to discover truth for truth's sake rather than for our own. Such a desire is awakened in the soul which is capable of living beyond the limits of its immediate surroundings and beyond those of the present. Can we travel back into the past without taking with us our prejudices and our unreasonably predominant notions? If we can, we shall be able to see man develop from the being that he was into the creature that he is at present. We shall be able to discover the nature of his principal mental activities, and to judge about their results, gratifying or discouraging, as the case may be. And from the past we shall be able to build a vision of the future.




HATEVER a man does in the way of thought, work, creative

art or emulative conduct has as its ultimate apology some personal discharge of energy. It is an expression of individual talent, power or choice of vehicle to feel freely capable of exerting himself, whether his efforts be good or bad, useful or idle, heroic or lowaiming. But if he is mercenary and given to sordid strategems and spoils, it is safe to say that but few of his efforts will be worthy or exemplary, no matter how industrious or studious his attention and display of energy.

In matters religious we are accustomed to require that a certain element of piety, gentleness and spirituality shall attend all of the various stages of this expression of energy, this self-ordained industry and exertion, and that this spiritual element shall give them their only credential of merit and righteousness, as well as sanction them as activities higher or more benevolent than mere force of intellect or muscle. But we do not demand as emphatically that this piety, et al., shall be genuine, that there shall be no hypocrisy, no specious policy of power, no duplicity of devout concern to postulate priority of personal rights or lay claim to the prestige of eristic preferment. Our neglect of precision consequently abets the poseur's delinquent decision, and the resultant program is usually one of irreverence and ruthless will to power instead of piety, meekness and benevolence.

There is no permanent piety in vulgarian creeds of power, no virtuous veneration, reverence or adequate relief from the criminal commerce of mercenary communions. There is no fitting comparison between those ancient worthies who were so devout and these modern worldlings who are so diabolically discrete. They are the messengers of antithetical moods, virtuous credulity and vicious cleverness, and cannot be grouped together in any durable prospect

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