The first great philosophers were the Greeks, and some
of their earliest speculations were notably materialistic in character,
regarding the elements, water, air, earth and fire, in turn, as the
basis of existence. These materialistic tendencies in thought were each,
in turn, contradicted by idealistic philosophical principles such as
infinitism, numerology, love and morality. Eventually the Greek school
reached its highest level of thought in the idealism of Plato, and the
materialism of Aristotle.
Since those early days, and
throughout the whole of its subsequent history, philosophy has been
divided into two schools of thought; the idealists, who regard ideas as
primary and facts as secondary, and the materialists who regard facts as
most Important and Ideas as secondary or derivative.
The Renaissance produced the
materialism of Bacon, which in the next century was countered by the
idealism of Kant. Modern times have produced a similar contrast in
Spencer and Bergson, the idealists always tending more to that which is
spiritual and abstract, and the materialists emphasising the material
and factual. The great contradictions between the Christian outlook,
based largely on the spiritual idealism of St. Paul, and the rational
viewpoints of the materialists, eventually reached a major crisis in the
nineteenth century when Darwin proclaimed his theory of evolution.
Today the extreme
materialists, (Rationalists, Free Thinkers, etc.) deny the existence of
the Spiritual Universe whilst the extreme idealists, (Mentalists,
Christian Scientists, etc.) deny the existence of the Material Universe.
Can the great conflict between the idealism of religion and the
materialism of science be finally resolved?
great need of our times is a philosophy, which can harmonise the facts
of both the spiritual and material aspects of existence in one grand
synthesis of all knowledge.
The ‘Harmonial Philosophy’
of Spiritualism, founded by Dr Andrew Jackson Davis, and elaborated and
modernised by subsequent Spiritualist writers, is such a philosophy, for
it harmonises the spiritual characteristics of idealism with the
scientific facts of materialism and embraces all the phenomena of both
the spiritual and material universes in one universal principle.
“There is an omnipotent, purifying, and fraternising principle
permeating and pervading the Natural, Spiritual and Celestial
departments of God’s Universal Temple - a principle which unites atoms
and planets into one stupendous system; which unfolds spirits and angels
as immortal flowers; which endows the Divine Mind with eternal power and
loveliness; and which is the divinely inherited treasure of the human
soul - and this principle is called THE GREAT HARMONIA.” - A J Davis.
The Harmonial Philosophy of
Spiritualism is the crowning glory of all philosophy and presents to man
a true picture of the material world in which he finds himself, and of
the spiritual life which is his inevitable destiny.
It proclaims the highest
spiritual ideals, yet rests on the solid material foundation of the
scientific facts of natural law. It brings to a climax a whole age of
philosophical thought and resolves the conflict between the idealism of
religion and the materialism of science, and gives to man an all
embracing conception of his spiritual and material existence, past,
With such a philosophy man can enter a New Age, the
dominating theme of which will be spiritual progress in love, wisdom, and
all other human virtues, in an environment of prosperity and peace. Such
is the role of Spiritualism in the history of mankind.
In the following chapters
Spiritualism’s place in the evolution and development of philosophy is
revealed as the culminating development of a whole age of thought and as a
certain guide to man’s future happiness.
Ernest Thompson MSNU