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The Consciousness of the Atom - The Goal of Evolution
Lecture VI

The Goal of Evolution

In using such a title as the Goal of Evolution, I feel extremely diffident; I realize that the only thing I can possibly attempt is to put certain suppositions before you, drawing upon my imagination. Naturally it is not possible for finite mind to gauge accurately the plan of the Deity. All that we can do is to study the history of the past, to investigate present conditions, and to ascertain somewhat racial and natural tendencies, and thus follow, as logically as may be, the various steps and stages. All that is permissible for us is to start from the solid basis of acquired facts and knowledge, then put them all together, and from their aggregate form an hypothesis as to what may be the possible goal. Beyond that it is impossible to go.

In our talks upon evolution, as I mentioned in the first lecture, we have been dealing somewhat with suppositions, and concerning ourselves with possibilities. Certain things we do know, and certain truths have been ascertained; yet even [120] the conclusions of science, for instance, such as were so much spoken of and insisted upon forty years ago, are no longer regarded as facts, and are not used or promulgated as drastically and as emphatically as they were. Science itself is finding every year that its knowledge is very relative. The more a man grasps and knows, the greater is the horizon which opens up before him. Scientists are now venturing into what are the subtler planes of matter, and therefore into the realms of the unproven, and we should remember that, until recently, science has refused to admit their existence. We are passing beyond the sphere of what has been called "solid matter," into such realms as are inferred when we speak about "centers of energy," "negative and positive force," and "electrical phenomena"; and the emphasis is being laid more and more upon quality rather than upon what has been called substance. The further we look ahead, the wider our speculations become, and the more we attempt to account for telepathic, psychic and other phenomena, the more we shall trespass into the realm of what is now the subjective and the subconscious, and the more we shall be forced to express ourselves in terms of quality or of energy.

If we succeed at all in accounting for that which is unusual, for that which is as yet inexplicable to us, and in ascertaining the reality of the occult, [121] we shall bring about a condition which might almost be called paradoxical. We shall gradually make the subjective the objective.

The topic that I am going to consider now is one that affects us very closely: namely, the attainment by man of that group consciousness which is his goal, and the expansions of his little consciousness until it measures up to that greater one which enfolds it. You will remember that in trying to explain the difference between self-consciousness, group consciousness, and God consciousness, I illustrated it by pointing out that in the little atom of substance in the physical body, that tiny centralized life which goes to the constitution of the human form, we had a correspondence to the self-consciousness of the human being; that the life of the physical body, considering it in every one of its departments as a whole, is to that little self-contained cell what group consciousness is to us; and that the consciousness of the real man, the informing entity within the body is to that atom what God consciousness is to us, as inexplicable and as far removed. If we can extend this concept of the atom in our body and its relation to man, the thinker, to the human atom, regarding it as a unit within a still greater body, we may get an understanding of the radical difference between these three rays of consciousness. [122]

There is a very interesting analogy between the evolution of the atom and of man (and I presume therefore of the planetary Deity and the solar Logos) in the two methods of unfoldment that are followed. We have seen that the atom has its own atomic life, and that every atom of substance in the solar system is likewise a little system in itself, having a positive center, or central sun, with the electrons, or the negative aspect, revolving in their orbits around it. Such is the internal life of the atom, its self-centered aspect. We noted, too, that the atom is now being studied along a newer line, that of radioactivity, and it is becoming apparent in many cases there is an active radiation going on. Just where this discovery is going to lead it is impossible to tell, for the study of radioactive substances is as yet in its infancy, and little is actually known. Much of the earlier teaching of physical science has been revolutionized by the discovery of radium, and the more scientists find out, the more it becomes apparent (as they themselves realize), that we are standing on the threshold of very great discoveries, and are on the eve of profound revelations.

In the human being, as he evolves and develops, these two stages can equally be seen. There is the early or atomic stage, in which a man's whole center of interest lies within himself, within his own sphere, where self-centeredness is the law of [123] his being, a necessary protective stage of evolution. He is purely selfish, and concerned primarily with his own affairs. This is succeeded by a later stage, in which a man's consciousness begins to expand, his interests begin to lie outside his own particular sphere, and the period arrives in which he is feeling for the group to which he belongs. This stage might be viewed as corresponding to that of radioactivity. He is now not only a self-centered life, but he is also beginning to have a definite effect upon his surroundings. He is turning his attention from his own personal selfish life, and is seeking his greater center. From being simply an atom he is, in his turn, becoming an electron, and coming under the influence of the great central Life which holds him within the sphere of Its influence.

If this is so, we shall have analogous stages transpiring within the life of the planetary Deity, and this perhaps would account for various vicissitudes and happenings upon the planet. Often we consider the affairs of the world as due to human activity. The world war, for instance, is frequently regarded as the result of human mistakes and frailties. Perhaps this is so, for undoubtedly economic conditions and human ambitions may have been very largely concerned in bringing it about; but perhaps, also, it may have been partly due to the working out of the purpose [124] of the great central Life, Whose consciousness is not as yet our consciousness, Who has His own plans and purposes and ideals, and Who, perhaps, also makes His experiments with life. On His vaster scale, and on His own high level, this planetary Spirit is learning to live, is learning to contact, and is likewise expanding His consciousness; He is Himself at school, just as you and I are at school. So again, it may be with the solar system, and so with events of such magnitude that they escape our ken altogether. Perhaps there are occurrences within the solar system which may be due to the working out of the plans of the Deity or Logos, that central Life Who is the energizing source of all there is within the solar system. I do not know, but it makes an interesting line of thought for us, and it does no harm to speculate if the effect is to give us a broader vision, a wider tolerance, and a greater and wiser optimism.

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