Psychology And Evolution
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Psychology is the science which treats of the manifestations of the Spiritual Life Element and the Soul Life Element. Psychology includes the next range above the vital of the functions, capacities and powers of animals and human beings.
What appears to be consciousness is manifested by some plants; but manifestations of consciousness in a plant convey to us an impression that it is governed by another outside universal consciousness, while in animals it is more of an imparted, localized function. That is to say, it is not fully individualized in the plant. The faculties and capacities of animals are usually occupied with the functions of nutrition and reproduction; but this is certainly not the limit of animal development. Animals are capable of attention and concentration while pursuing some desired end. Animals possess imagination, courage, and perseverance. Animals frequently manifest the foreshadowings of love and conscience.
The Spiritual Life Element differentiates animals from plants. In other words, the peculiar life, consciousness, capacities, powers, and activities of animals, which distinguish and differentiate them from plants, are caused by the Spiritual Life Element; it is the life force of the psycho-logical functions. It is the element which causes emotions, passions and desires of the animal type and degree. It is the element that endows the animal with instincts which so closely approach the intellectual element in human beings.
The Soul Life Element differentiates man from animal. In man the animal instinct has developed into human intuition. Consciousness has become Self-Consciousness. The Soul is the essential Ego, or the Individual Intelligence, which says "I," "Me," "Mine." It is that entity which is consciously thinking of his environment when he says "My body," or "My home," or "My country" It is that self-conscious Ego which remains intact though all the limbs may be severed, the features destroyed, the lungs impaired, and the heart diseased. The Soul cannot be found by any dissection of the physical body, living or dead. Therefore, if an entity, it must be an invisible Life Element.
Probably the Soul Element can always be distinguished by close observers from the animal spirit. Many individuals in the present stage of development among "civilized" nations, and whole tribes in the "uncivilized" stage, manifest more of the animal spirit than they do of the self-conscious, intelligent soul. However, this is one proof of evolution. If universal evolution is a fact, there has been a development of the Soul Element from its lowest existence to higher manifestations.
The Soul is the sum of the intrinsically human elements which differentiate man from the animals. This difference is indicated chiefly by human possession of the evolutionary impulse and the moral capacity which the animals lack and which cannot be imparted to them. The rational desire to improve seems to be missing in animals. All the improvements which have been made in domestic animals are the direct result of man's voluntary control of their development. Left to themselves, animals would never distinguish between right and wrong in the crudest sense. The higher species do learn that their masters approve of some things and disapprove of others. But this does not mean that they ever consider the difference between morality and immorality.
As human individuals depart further from the animal plane, they reveal more and more of the evolutionary impulse. Changes are more rapid. There is a great difference between individuals and families in this respect. There is also a difference between cities and nations. But the evolutionary impulse and moral capacity are distinguishing traits of human Soul Life in contrast with selfish, animal desires which render the individual comparatively unconscious of his low estate.
Professor Haeckel says :
"All the phenomena of the psychic life are, without exception, bound up with certain material changes in the living substance of the body, the protoplasm."
—The Riddle of the Universe, page 109.
It would certainly be interesting to know what are the "certain material changes in protoplasm" which differentiate George Washington from a Nero or a Benedict Arnold. It would seem to be a radical difference in the whole purpose of the intelligent soul life. The American people have never considered that "material changes in protoplasm" made Benedict Arnold a traitor to his General, his fellow-soldiers and his countrymen. They consider that he was lacking in integrity, in honor, in moral capacity; that is to say, in the characteristics which distinguish the Soul Element from the animal spirit.
Unquestionably there are different degrees of this Soul Element manifest in individuals. However, it is not considered that the difference is one of quantity, but of quality.
Professor Haeckel says :
"In all cases, in the lowest as well as the highest stages of the psychological hierarchy, a certain chemical composition and a certain physical activity of the psychoplasm are indispensable before the `soul' can function or act."
—The Riddle of the Universe, page 109.
It is this "certain chemical composition" and this "certain physical activity" which distinguish plants from minerals, animals from plants, and human beings from animals; but it is more than doubtful if anyone knows just what this "composition" and this "activity" include.
There is a borderland where it is difficult to distinguish plants from animals. Nevertheless, an animal is not a plant, and man is more than an animal. Something in the "composition" and in the "activity" makes the difference. It seems evident that an element has been added which makes an animal different from a plant, just as truly as one more element is embodied in man than is found in animals.
Professor Haeckel has attained great knowledge as a biologist and naturalist, and there can be no disagreement with his facts. However, it is important for those
who rely upon him for information to recognize his limitations.
For instance, Professor Haeckel looks upon man's animal body just as he does other animal bodies. This is entirely scientific, as is also his work in pointing out the similarities of structure and function. What a magnificent contribution to human knowledge he would make if he could spend another lifetime in analyzing the dissimilarities in their essential entities and in contrasting their histories and their capacities!
CONCERNING PSYCHIC PROCESSES.
Consciousness involves the primary active process of the soul. The variations of consciousness may be analyzed as sensations, responses, or manifestations of the soul. These sensations, responses or manifestations consist of feelings, emotions, passions; desires and antipathies.
Consciousness in itself is an inherent capacity for receiving impressions of states, activities, and conditions from without as well as from within. While essentially a passive capacity, by virtue of its very receptivity it is potentially active and may, therefore, be used as an active faculty which may be directed, controlled, energized and educated by the Soul through the Will.
Consciousness may be so controlled and energized by the Will as to become active in receiving. The intensity and control of this passive capacity and this active faculty indicate the mental education and trained power of the individual.
Attention is the attitude of Consciousness when deliberately seeking results. The education of the Consciousness proceeds through repeated efforts to give full attention. Nothing great or good can be accomplished without the labor of continued attention. Knowledge is the result of the psychological process which is necessary to become aware of a fact or facts.
Knowledge is relative. That is to say, in the process of acquiring Knowledge one may become aware of a fact of nature. Thence he may proceed onward from simple awareness of its existence through many stages of comparative knowledge regarding it, to a finality somewhere near the comprehension of the relation of that fact to the individual and thus acquire an ability to make proper use or disposition of it.
In other words, we do not really possess definite Knowledge until we know the value of a thing, or a fact, in its relation to ourselves.
The Will of an individual is chiefly valuable, first, to direct Consciousness in its appropriate channels for self-development and the attainment of Knowledge; and second, to keep the Individual true to his own standard of equity, justice and right, and faithful to his own progressive unfoldment and self-realization.
The evolution of the mind of a child is similar to the evolution of the mind of the race which has produced the fund of collective Knowledge.
Education is the imparting to the child of this fund, including, of course, the power to use the same correctly. Education includes the proper discipline of the nature as well as the accumulation of Knowledge.
The best method of educating a child is by the natural and logical presentation of the most useful Knowledge and the results of Ethical Conduct. The best educated men and women are the ones who possess the most intelligence, and the test is, those who are governed by the most powerful impulse to benefit themselves and society.
The psychological development of the race is a higher accomplishment than the physiological. Physiological functions and activities express nature's method for re-fining matter. Psychological functions and activities ex-press nature's method of refining the desires, impulses and passions of the human soul.
The moral development of an individual is the highest development of the psychological nature. The individual who has not the desire to be good is not intelligent. He does not perceive the way to attain his own permanent well-being and happiness.
The Soul Element is capable of marvelous development. Without any conscious history, and not proceeding from any volition of its own, the Soul awakens within a physical body with feelings, emotions, desires and passions to study and control. There are inherent faculties, capacities and powers to develop. There is a seemingly hostile environment to overcome, a struggle to maintain life, and a necessary effort to make progress.
After a certain degree of intelligence and equilibrium is acquired by the Soul, all nature furnishes means of growth. Knowledge of self and Knowledge of the environment are both important. Knowledge of the laws and principles involved makes all phenomena luminous with information and gives power over all the elements, forces and processes of nature, within changeable limitations. The limitations of Knowledge may be changed by effort.
The highest "revelations" of the Universal Intelligence are those manifested in the nature and capabilities of the Soul Element. The range of possible development of the Soul Element is beyond all calculation or intelligent prophecy. While the foreshadowings of this Element in the animals constitute a fascinating and, useful study, it is far more important that we discern the present degree given to us and use it properly and profitably. Knowledge of the past evolution of the Soul Element is chiefly important for its bearing on the future. The value of Knowledge is in its proper use.
SOME OF THE STEPS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT —THE FEELINGS.
1. Knowledge of the emotions, desires, impulses and passions, known as Feelings.
2. Discipline and control of the Feelings.
3. Refinement, transformation and regeneration of the Feelings.
4. Ability to transform longings into life, impulses into actions, good motives into successful results.
SOME OP THE STEPS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT —THE INTELLECT.
1. Use of the Senses as the channels of communication from the environment to the Consciousness.
2. Use of the Consciousness as the organ of the Intellect.
3. Use of the Will as the Energizer of Thought.
4. Use of the Intellect as the Collector of Knowledge.
5. The Dynamics of Ideas.
6. The Dynamics of Ideals.
7. Discernment of Soul Values as superior to real estate, automobiles, jewelry, and all "excess baggage."
8. Independence of Spirit—Freedom of Will and Choice.
9. Maturity, in the sense of a calm, assured Personality, cheerfully assuming personal responsibility, discharging personal obligations, and cooperating with nature's Constructive Principle.