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The Consciousness of the Atom - The Evolution of Substance
In the year 1895, Sir William Crookes, one of our greatest scientists, gave an interesting lecture before a body of chemists in Great Britain, in which he dealt with the ability of the atom to choose its own path, to reject and to select, and showed that natural selection can be traced in all forms of life, from the then ultimate atom up through all forms of being.

In another scientific article, the atom is further considered as having sensation as well:

"The recent contest as to the nature of atoms, which we must regard as in some form or other the ultimate factors in all physical or chemical processes, seems to be capable of easiest solution by the conception that these very minute masses possess - as centers of force - a persistent soul, that every atom has sensation and power of movement."

Tyndall has likewise pointed out that even the very atoms themselves seem to be "instinct with the desire for life."

If you take these different qualities of the atom - energy, intelligence, ability to select and reject, to attract and repel, sensation, movement, and [42] desire - you have something which is very much like the psychology of a human being, only within a more limited radius and of a more circumscribed degree. Have we not, therefore, really got back to what might be termed the "psyche of the atom"? We have found that the atom is a living entity, a little vibrant world, and that within its sphere of influence other little lives are to be found, and this very much in the same sense that each of us is an entity, or positive nucleus of force or life, holding within our sphere of influence other lesser lives, i.e. the cells of our body. What can be said of us can be said, in degree, of the atom.

Let us extend our idea of the atom a little further, and touch upon what may be fundamentally the cause, and may hold the solution of the world problems. This concept of the atom as a positive demonstration of energy, holding within its range of activity its polar opposite, can be extended not only to every type of atom, but also to a human being. We can view each unit of the human family as a human atom, for in man you have simply a larger atom. He is a center of positive force, holding within the periphery of his sphere of influence the cells of his body; he shows discrimination, intelligence, and energy. The difference lies but in degree. He is possessed of a wider consciousness, and vibrates to a larger measure than the little atom of the chemist. [43]

We might extend the idea still further and consider a planet as an atom. Perhaps there is a life within the planet that holds the substance of the sphere and all forms of life upon it to itself as a coherent whole, and that has a specific extent of influence. This may sound like a wild speculation, yet, judging from analogy, there may perhaps be within the planetary sphere an Entity Whose consciousness is as far removed from that of man as the consciousness of man is from that of the atom of chemistry.

This thought can again be carried still further, till it includes the atom of the solar system. There, at the heart of the solar system, the sun, you have the positive center of energy, holding the planets within its sphere of influence. If you have within the atom, intelligence; if you have within the human being, intelligence; if you have within the planet, an Intelligence controlling all its functions, may it not be logical to extend the idea and predicate a still greater Intelligence back of that larger atom, the solar system?

This brings us ultimately to the standpoint which the religious world has always held, that of there being a God, or Divine Being. Where the orthodox Christian would say with reverence, God, the scientist with equal reverence would say, Energy; yet they would both mean the same. Where the idealistic teacher would speak of "God [44] within" the human form, others with equal accuracy would speak of the "energizing faculty" of man, which drives him into activity of a physical, emotional, or mental nature. Everywhere are to be found centers of force, and the idea can be extended from such a force center as a chemical atom, on and up through varying grades and groups of such intelligent centers, to man, and thence to the Life which is manifesting through the system. Thus is demonstrated a marvelous and synthesized Whole. St. Paul may have had something of this sort in mind when he spoke about the Heavenly Man. By the "body of Christ" he surely means all those units of the human family who are held within His sphere of influence, and who go to the constitution of His body, as the aggregate of the physical cells form the physical body of the man. What is needed in these days of religious upheaval is that these fundamental truths of Christianity should be demonstrated to be scientific truths. We need to make religion scientific.

There is a very interesting Sanskrit writing, many thousands of years old, which I am venturing to quote here. It says:

"Every form on earth, and every speck (atom) in space, strives in its efforts towards self-formation, and to follow the model placed for it in the Heavenly Man. The involution [45] and the evolution of the atom... have all one and the same object: man."

Do you note what a large hope this concept opens out before us? Not one atom of matter, showing latent intelligence, discrimination, and selective power, but will, in the course of aeons, reach that more advanced stage of consciousness which we call human. Surely, then, the human atom may equally be supposed to progress to something still more widely conscious, and eventually reach the stage of development of those great Entities whose bodies are planetary atoms; and for Them, as well, what is there? Attainment of that all-including state of consciousness which we call God, or the solar Logos. Surely this teaching is logical and practical. The old occult injunction which said to a man "Know thyself, for in thyself is to be found all that there is to be known," is still the rule for the wise student. If each one of us would scientifically regard ourselves as centers of force, holding the matter of our bodies within our radius of control, and thus working through and in them, we should have a hypothesis whereby the entire cosmic scheme could be interpreted. If, as Einstein hints, our entire solar system is but a sphere, coloring is given to the deduction that it, in its turn, may be but a cosmic atom; thus we would have a place within a still larger scheme, and have a center around which our system rotates, and in which it is as the electron [46] to the atom. We have been told by astronomers that our entire system is probably revolving around a central point in the heavens.

Thus the basic idea which I have sought to emphasize can be traced all the way up, through the atom of the chemist and physicist, through man, through the energizing Life of a planet, up to the Logos, the deity of our solar system, the Intelligence or Life which lies back of all manifestation or of nature, and on to some greater scheme in which even our God has to play His part and to find His place. It is a wonderful picture if true.

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