The Ultimate Analysis
The Root of Materialism
The Science of Living Spirit
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See also:Symbols, Truth, and Growth
The Golden Proportion
It is the conception of Life as the sum-total of all its undistributed powers, being as yet none of these in particular, but all of them in potentiality. This is, no doubt, a highly abstract idea, but it is essentially that of the centre from which growth takes place by expansion in every direction. This is that last residuum which defies all our powers of analysis. This is truly "the unknowable", not in the sense of the unthinkable but of the unanalysable. It is the subject of perception — but not of knowledge — if by knowledge we mean that faculty which estimates the relations between things. Here we have passed beyond any questions of relations, and are face to face with the Absolute.
This innermost of all is Absolute Spirit. It is Life as yet not differentiated into any specific mode; it is the Universal Life which pervades all things and is at the heart of all appearances.
To come into the knowledge of this is to come into the secret of power and to enter into the secret place of Living Spirit. Is it illogical first to call this the unknowable, and then to speak of coming into the knowledge of it? Perhaps so, but no less a writer than St Paul has set the example; for does he not speak of the final result of all searching into the heights and depths and lengths and breadths of the inner side of things as being to attain the knowledge of the Love which passeth knowledge? [Eph 3:14-19 — Ed.] If he is thus boldly illogical in phrase, though not in fact, may we not also speak of knowing "the unknowable"? We may: for this knowledge is the root of all other knowledge.
But analysis which does not lead to synthesis is merely destructive: it is the child wantonly pulling the flower to pieces and throwing away the fragments. It is not the botanist, also pulling the flower to pieces, but building up in his mind from those carefully studied fragments a vast synthesis of the constructive power of Nature, embracing the laws of the formation of all flower-forms. The value of analysis is to lead us to the original starting-point of that which we analyse, and so to teach us the laws by which its final form springs from this centre.
Knowing the law of its construction, we turn our analysis into a synthesis, and we thus gain a power of building up which must always be beyond the reach of those who regard "the unknowable" as if it were "not-being".
The Science of Spirit and the Science of Matter are not opposed. They are complementary, and neither is fully comprehensible without some knowledge of the other. Being really but two portions of one whole, they insensibly shade off into each other in a border-land where no arbitrary line can be drawn between them. Science studied in a truly scientific spirit, following out its own deductions unflinchingly to their legitimate conclusions, will always reveal the twofold aspect of things, the inner and outer; and it is only a truncated and maimed science that refuses to recognise both.
The study of the material world is not mere Materialism if it be allowed to progress to its legitimate issue. Materialism is that limited view of the Universe which will not admit the existence of anything but mechanical effects and mechanical causes; and any system which recognises no power higher than the physical forces of nature must logically result in having no higher ultimate appeal than to physical force, or to fraud as its alternative.
I speak, of course, of the tendency of the system, not of the morality of individuals, which is often very far in advance of the systems they profess. But as we would avoid the propagation of a mode of thought whose effects history shows only too plainly, whether in the Italy of the Borgias, or the France of the First Revolution, or the Commune of the Franco-Prussian War, we should set ourselves to study that inner and spiritual aspect of things which is the basis of a system whose logical results are truth and love instead of perfidy and violence.
As one plane of the cube implies all the other planes and also "the within", so any plane of manifestation implies the others and always refers back to that "origin within" which generates them all. Now, if we would make any progress in the spiritual side of science — and every department of science has its spiritual side — we must always keep our minds fixed upon this "innermost within" which contains the potential of all outward manifestation, the "fourth dimension" which generates the cube.
Our common forms of speech show how intuitively we do this. We speak of the spirit in which an act is done, of entering into the spirit of a game, of the spirit of the time, and so on. Everywhere our intuition points out the spirit as the true essence of things; and it is only when we commence arguing about them from without, instead of from within, that our true perception of their nature is lost.
The scientific study of spirit consists in following up intelligently and according to definite method the same principle that now only flashes upon us at intervals fitfully and vaguely. When we once realise that this Universal and unlimited power of spirit is at the root of all things and of ourselves also, then we have obtained the key to the whole position; and, however far we may carry our studies in spiritual science, we shall nowhere find anything else but particular developments of this one Universal principle. "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you".