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REASON–ITS OFFICE AND POWER
In approaching the study of Infinity it is well for us to consider our equipment for so serious a task. A moment's thought convinces us that we can call to our assistance nothing but that which we ordinarily should use in scrutinizing the most commonplace subjects—Reason. What is this thing we call Reason? What is its office, what its power? Lexicographers define Reason as “(n) That mental faculty in man which enables him to deduce inferences from facts, and to distinguish between right and wrong; right judgment; efficient or final cause; cause for opinion or act; premise of an argument, especially the minor; v. i. to infer conclusions from premises; v. t. to persuade by reasoning.” So far as is known, Man alone is endowed with Reason, and to the possession of this faculty is ascribed his superiority to all other Expressions of Infinity. Admitting this as indisputable, we find that, Man being the superlative Expression of Infinity because of his possession of Reason, therefore Reason must be the highest Expression of the Infinite, that thing which is nearest to Infinity itself. This at once gives to Reason the highest place in the Universe next to the Infinite Mind—a place generally denied to it by Theologians, who place Faith as superior to it in arriving at a conclusion with regard to Infinity, even while admitting the superiority of Reason as a guide in more commonplace matters. This discrimination as to the office of Reason in grave or trivial matters is illogical, for it is by Reason alone that we can distinguish between the important and the unimportant. Faith itself is but Reason satisfied by proofs that are not of the senses. In considering a subject what proofs of this sort can be adduced P To discover this we must further examine the purpose and power of Reason, though this involves the acceptance as facts of what in later chapters will be demonstrated to be truths.
Life and Mind are synonymous. Neither could have existed prior to the other, and nothing could have been prior to either. The human—the only Reasoning—mind cannot conceive of a condition of nothingness, and we assume that there never could have been and never can be such a condition. The Reasoning mind, however, can conceive of a condition when there was but one thing—Life, Mind. This statement is not technically exact, for Life, Mind, is not a thing, but That which causes all things. The difference between a thing and the cause of the thing will become more apparent as we go further into the subject. Mind, abhorring loneliness, expressed itself, as all Mind does. This is what we have been in the habit of calling the creation of Things. The word creation is avoided in this work because it carries with it in the popular mind the idea of something being made out of nothing—an impossibility. The word Expression is used instead of Creation, as expression is the natural and well understood product of Mind. Mind, being alone, had no material or tools but itself to make anything out of, but it could and did Express itself, and its Expressions, like itself, were Fixed and Eternal. So far scientists have been able to discover between eighty and ninety elemental Expressions from which all things have been evolved. These, in this study, are termed Consciousnesses—a Consciousness being a something which knows what it is. These Consciousnesses being the expressions of Infinity, are eternal, indestructible. This indestructibility has been known in science as the Indestructibility of the Atom; in this study as the Indestructibility of the ConsciousneSS.
In order to avoid any misunderstanding as to the meaning of the word Atom let us define the sense in which it is used in this work. In the final analysis of so-called “matter” the smallest quantity calculable into which a thing can be divided is called an “apparent atom.” Beyond this there must be still further gradations as the “apparent atom” nears the point of closest approach to Positive Life, in which there are no atoms, there being no dimensions. At this point of closest approach the real atom is to be found, if it is findable, and it is Indestructible, Unconvertible, Eternal. The number of elemental atoms to be found in the final analysis is less important than to establish the atom as the Indestructible Unit—the basis of all these partnerships and combinations which we know as Things.
These Expressions were formed by vibrations; that is, the Infinite Expression became a Thing, a Constriction, by forming a force within Life itself. This Constriction consisted of a vibration, and the difference of vibrations produced the difference in Things. This introduced Density and Motion, for, contrary to the teaching of Physics, all Life is not Motion, Infinite Life being Absolute Stillness, it having Nowhere to go and Nothing in which to move. Expressed Life is Motion, moving easily through the Intangible and Unresisting Infinite Life. Movement itself implies the going of Some Thing from Some Place to Some Where. The introduction of the principle of Density was thus followed by Time, Time expressing the number of vibrations it required a Thing to make to go from one locality to another, and the possibility of considering Things in terms of Time and Space began. As has been proven by the patient and more or less accurate researches of the teachers of the theory of Evolution, everything began in its simplest form, but, impelled by the Infinite Urge, Atoms began at once to form Combinations. These Combinations, impelled by the same Urge, formed other Combinations, these again multiplying into the myriad Expressions of Life we see about us. In these Combinations the elemental Atom retains its identity, which is Indestructible, though when associated with another or many other Atoms of its own or other kinds new Expressions of Life are formed. These Expressions are called Subconsciousnesses, and these Combinations are both formed and dissolved by the Eternal Urge of Infinity, in which Everything is, and which is in Everything. It is evident in studying the economy of the Infinite that it is necessarily true that these Subconsciousnesses be ephemeral in order that Progress may be made. Thus by the constant dissolution of these Subconsciousnesses room and material are provided for other Combinations of a superior sort. The movements of these Atoms in seeking this progressive adjustment are known to us as Vibrations. Everything, then, from the first Expression of Life has been in the direction of Automatic and Progressive Readjustment, with one exception, everything