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Spiritualism in the Evolution of Philosophy  by Ernest Thompson

 

The True Atonement

“Ministering angels will advise and help, for it is their mission to help on the aspiring, and to cheer the fainting soul. But though they may comfort, they cannot save one pang, nor palliate by one jot the penalty of transgression. No vicarious store of merit can avail; no friend may bear the burden, or lift it from the weary back. It must be borne by the soul that sinned, though helps and aids be given to strengthen and support the failing energies... This is the true atonement! Not, indeed, a reconciliation of sin-stained humanity to an angry and holy God, purchased by the sacrifice of His sinless son, but a higher and truer atonement in the ennobling of the nature, the purifying of the spirit; the making of the human and the Divine one in aim and purpose:- the drawing of man’s spirit, even whilst incarnated, up nearer and nearer to the Divine... Man makes his own future, stamps his own character, suffers for his own sins, and must work out his own salvation.” In this there is no final judgement as taught by Christianity. “The Judgement is complete when the spirit gravitates to the home which it has made for itself. There can be no error. It is placed by the eternal law of fitness. That judgement is complete, until the spirit is fitted to pass to a higher sphere, when the same process is repeated, and so on and on until the purgatorial spheres of work are done with, and the soul passes within the inner heaven of contemplation.” Accompanying the process “there is a gradual sublimation or refinement of the Spirit body, until by degrees all gross elements are purged away. The higher the sphere the more refined and ethereal the body.” Finally the great central truth of all spirit teachings, as in the revelation of Jesus, is the abolition of death and the proof of immortality. “The immortality of man, held not as an article of faith, a clause in a creed, but as a piece of personal knowledge and individual experience, this is the keynote of the religion of the future. In its trail come all the grand truths we teach, all the nobles conceptions of duty, the grandest views of destiny, the truest realisations of life.”

 

VALE OWEN
LIFE BEYOND THE VEIL

Astronomers are now beginning to detect planets in the regions of certain stars, and we are now assured that the sun is by no means the only star with a planetary family. Now stars, according to the astronomers are in different stages of development. Some are hotter and some colder than the sun. Millions of years have to pass however, before there is any appreciable difference in the temperature of a star. If we assume therefore that the solar system is not an exception, and that the majority of the millions of millions of stars have attending planets, it is reasonable to suppose that millions of planets similar to our own have produced life and perhaps civilisations, millions of years ago. As all the facts point to the universality of cosmic law, and assuming that the spirits of intelligent beings made their transitions from millions of planets, millions of years ago, vast legions of spirits must now be in a very advanced stage towards godhood and possess enormous powers. The idea that there does exist a great hierarchy of very high spirits possessing tremendous powers, far beyond human understanding, is a common belief with many advanced spirits, who have communicated this information to us through mediums.

Higher Spirits

Zabdiel, who claimed to be an evolved spirit living in the tenth sphere gave such an impression of a great hierarchy of higher spirits. When communicating through the Rev. George Vale Owen in 1913. The spirit inspired writings of this Church of England clergyman were eventually brought to the notice of Lord Northcliffe, who published them in serial form


 

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in the Weekly Dispatch in 1920. In the Highlands of Heaven (one of the five volumes which is contained the work, The Life beyond the Veil,) Zabdiel states that all forms of life, in the various kingdoms of nature, evolve, develop and progress under the supervision of higher spirits. One of the laws governing the watchers and workers is “that among all minor and temporal variations, and seeming diversity in operation of the powers put in their hands, the guiding principle should by UNITY, towards which all should tend eventually.” Just as man is more and more assuming the lordship of the earth, there are greater ones than he, and as he rules the lesser kingdoms so they rule the affairs of man. “There are manifold classes and companies who have in charge the various departments of creation - mineral, vegetable, animal, human, terrestrial, solar, and stellar. Beyond this, also, the stars are grouped together and dealt with by hierarchies qualified for that great task. It is by this same method, then, of the transmutation of energy, that systems are gradually developed into worlds, and these worlds furnished with form and then enabled to produce vegetation and animal life. But, this being so, you will note that all fife, and all development, is consequent on the operation of spiritual energy obeying the dictates of the will of spiritual beings.”

Light and Vibrations

In the beginning, according to the Bible, God said “let there be light,” and there was light. Truly the universe is saturated with light - more than most of us imagine. In fact man is only conscious of a single tiny octave of light out of possibly millions of octaves. We see the human form within the lower octave because matter can only reflect this particular frequency of wave motion, but as spirits advance they reflect higher light frequencies according to their more evolved and refined ethereal bodies, which vibrate at higher rates. Zabdiel tells us that those who live in the fourth sphere for instance cannot penetrate into the fifth sphere until they have developed, and so increased their vibrations and refined their bodies sufficiently to bear with ease and comfort the intensity of the light of that sphere. Those who live in the dark spheres do so because they lack the ability to see in greater light. When spirits descend to a lower plane of light they re-adjust themselves to the lower frequency of light only with difficulty. They must train themselves to return to a sphere, which was once their home.

Presence Forms

In the Ministry of Heaven the communicating spirit ‘leader’ introduces the conception of a ‘presence form.’ Many descriptions are given of higher spirits (particularly of Jesus) descending to lower spheres and appearing in ‘presence form,’ whereby they are able to make themselves visible to those living in lower frequencies of vibrations. It appears that it is a law of nature that an exalted spirit may become consciously present, by an effort of will, in any sphere through which that spirit had formerly passed. This is not merely an extension of the consciousness of the spirit from a higher realm but a manifestation of the actual spirit in that plane. Many spirits have appeared on earth from time to time when the ordinary conditions for materialisation have been absent; occasions when the manifestation has been obviously the result of the power of the spirit. Perhaps the appearance of Jesus before Mary at the tomb was such a ‘presence form’ and not a normal ectoplasmic materialisation. The spirit inspirers of R J Lees have been known to manifest in his study when no incarnate person was in the room. Miss Lees once opened the door of her father’s empty study, and saw two familiar spirit friends of the family standing talking to each other. She, incidentally, is not a medium.


 

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Hell

The writing of the Rev George Vale Owen abound chiefly with descriptions and happenings in both the higher and lower spheres and are very helpful in trying to build a picture of the after-life. Typical of the lower spheres (the hells), where exist evil powers and hierarchies beyond our comprehension, is the following description: “above us was blackness. We seemed to be now not in a cavern, but in a deep pit or ravine, the rocky sides rising up until we could not follow them, so deep were we below the land surface. But tunnels here and there penetrated deeper still and most were in pitch darkness, except where at times a light flickered and went out again. There was a sound as if a wind blew about us, the sound of one long drawn and perpetual sigh. But the air was not in motion. There were also shafts sunk into the ground into which men went, climbing down the vertical sides by steps cut in the rock, to fetch the ore up from the tunnels and galleries deeper still, bored in the rock far below the level on which we stood. From the plateau there sloped down paths towards other openings, which in their turn led to workings far away, either in the ravine itself or through corridors cut into the sides of it. It was a very large region, a region deep below the level of that dark lane. Oh, the desperate anguish of the helplessness of those poor souls - lost in that immensity of darkness and with no guide to lead them out. But although they must have felt so, yet every one is noted and registered in the spheres of light, and when they be ready for help, then help is sent to them, as it was even now.’

Heaven

By contrast the following is a typical description of part of the Summerland. “As we gaze out over the wide plains and valleys of the Heavenly Land, we are scarce able to remember the effect of the atmosphere of earth as it had relation to our vision of terrestrial things. But we do remember certain qualities, which here are absent. Distance is not obscured, for instance. It fades away. Trees and plants do not appear for a season, and then die. They bloom perpetually, and then, when plucked, they are fresh for a long time, but they do not droop and wither. They too, fade or melt away into the atmosphere. This same atmosphere is not always white. In the neighbourhood of the City of the Prince Castrel there is a sense of golden sunshine all around. It is not a mist, and does not obscure, but bathes all things in its golden radiance without invading the various colours themselves. In other places it is of a faint pink or blue. And every region has its own peculiar tint, or sense of colour, according to the nature of the people and their employment and bent of mind.”

More Sublime than Spirit

Leader, in the Ministry of Heaven gives some hint of the infinity of evolution by suggesting that there is an even more advanced state beyond the world of spirit. “We here have come to know that spirit, sublime as it is in essence, is not the sum of being. As beyond the realm of the material stretches the spiritual, so beyond those, far and distant heights of light impenetrable, and holiness in awful purity, towards which we think our way, there lies being which is not Spirit alone, but which into itself absorbs all that Spirit is at its whitest sublimity, and encompasses the sum total of spirit resultant in a universe of sublimity higher still... So far as we are able to project our minds into that far immensity of life and being, we cannot see any end to our outward going.”


 

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W H EVANS
A MODERN APOSTLE OF A J DAVIS

When Spiritualism commenced, in the middle of the nineteenth century, there was given from the Spirit world a series of teachings, which has been, called The Harmonial Philosophy. Under the inspiration of Swedenborg (in spirit) Andrew Jackson Davis gave to the world numerous volumes of writings which propounded an entirely new outlook on life, revealing the spiritual nature and destiny of man in a modern and scientific way. This philosophy was however somewhat in advance of its day and the Spiritualist movement instead of being built primarily upon the principles of the Harmonial Philosophy tended more and more to rely upon the demonstration of phenomena. Psychical phenomena attracted hundreds of thousands of people and many of them became convinced Spiritualists. They brought with them, however, their orthodox ideas, and Spiritualist services resembled, from the outset, Christian services, with phenomena as the outstanding feature. Christian ideas were added to Spiritualist ones, but orthodoxy was by no means the only ideology, which took root in the virgin soil of Spiritualism. Gradually the purer and truer teachings of Davis tended to be overgrown and choked by the weeds, which sprang from foreign seeds.

Lectures on the Harmonial Philosophy

One great obstacle to the propagation of Davis’ teachings was the rather bulky literature, which contained his philosophy, and relatively few had the courage or indeed the enthusiasm to master his great works. Davis needed a champion, an apostle who would popularise the Harmonial Philosophy. W H Evans was such an apostle. When he first suggested the publication of the Harmonial Philosophy as a series of popular pamphlets there was no support forthcoming.

He then decided to go on a lecture tour and spread the new philosophy in that way. Evans’ lectures made an impression and eventually the Spiritualists’ National Union was persuaded to publish them in book form in 1924. The state of the philosophy of the Movement was such however, that there was still a lack of appreciation of Davis’ writings and after a while the entire stock was sold at a very low price to a bookseller. This book has nevertheless been largely responsible for keeping Davis’ noble and sublime philosophy before the Movement.

Personality of God

Evans, in his own writings, has always closely followed the principles of the Hormonal, and has thus kept its presentation up to date by adding his own interpretations of its doctrines. He has certainly enriched its teachings, particularly in his Spiritualism, a Philosophy of Life.

This was written at a time when his inspiration was at its zenith, (he is a Spirit inspired writer). One thing he endeavours to clarify more than anything else is the idea of the personality of God. He has achieved a most difficult philosophical task in presenting a rational conception of the Fatherhood of God, which satisfies the demands of both scientific and religious minds. “A God who has no distinct individuality is no God at all,” but a nebulous abstraction... the ideal of God is ever becoming: is ever being realised, and is a continuous revelation. We cannot escape it, we must press on, and he whose soul is aflame with the divine fire of love, and whose intellect is alight with the sacred wisdom of God, will always hold to the central thought that the dwelling of God is not in temples, not even among the starry flowers of the purple night, but is within the sacred precincts of the heart of man.


 

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God is spirit. Spirit is substance, the great reality from which there is no escape. Spirit is infinite; infinite in essence and in attributes. Eternal, changeless; yet ever throwing on the screen of matter an infinite variety of changes. Unity at the heart, but not uniformity of expression.

Bible of Science

“Science has found the Bible of God writ on tables of stone, His law revealed in grand epochs of time, the slow accretions of ages working out the sublime will of Him who faltereth not. The fire-mist rushing through space, its shrill note toning down to a prolonged musical hum as it cooled, contracted, solidified, marked the birth of our planet earth. Out of the mists of the past it flashed, a fiery steed, until the invisible rein drew tight and held it in its place. Mighty upheaval succeeded upheaval. Minute motions in the oozy bed of the sea, proclaimed in softest whisper, tremulous with a hitherto unknown joy, that life was there and had manifested. Those protoplasmic stirrings, how great was the promise they held!... After the process of ages, man stood upright upon the earth, crude, uncultured, but with the golden germ of immortality within.” The Universe, to science, is merely a mighty organisation of matter and motion, but so also is man surely. But we say man has a spirit, a mind, a consciousness, then why not the universe? Man, once an animal, has created law and order, built his civilisations, and supervised the progress of the plant and animal kingdoms. Out of primeval chaos also has come the law and order of solar planetary systems and mighty constellations of stars. “Order and law,” maintains Evans, “bespeak a mind capable of formulating such principles. The mechanical argument demands a mind that can think in mechanical expressions. As you and I can take matter and mould it, and as we know we could never make the simplest machine without first formulating in thought our desire, and taking matter to clothe our thought, so we feel that the vastness of the universe is no argument to advance as showing that mind is not necessary to produce it... We fail to understand the meaning of life apart from the conception of God as the underlying reality. And every expression of the universe but reveals something more of that sacred being who is God.”

Good and Evil

Is the universe divided between the forces of good and those of evil? Many people label certain things as divine and others as not. In answering this great fundamental question, Evans points out in his philosophy of life that “apart from human limitations there is neither evil nor good. It is the contrasts, which our rising spirituality compels us to draw, which cause us to speak of good and evil. But in the divine economy all is wisely ordered. What to our limited comprehension seems evil is but the outworking of the divine will in directions of which we know but little. The question of pain cannot exist apart from us. But pain per se is not an evil, it is part of the divine process of evolution... The greatest blessing that ever came to man was that which he called evil. For evil is a manifestation of love. Yes! the thought may seem strange, but there is nothing but love in God, and in the working out of His purpose we shall yet see that the things we have deplored are the things which have been of most use to us... We see the universe governed by law, and we pause not to criticise that which is done better than any human being could do it... We are tried in the fire of trial and sorrow, and slowly there dawns upon us the knowledge that the things which we regard as evil, and from which we try to flee, have been blessings in disguise.”


 

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Free Will or Choice

Evans in his writings re-states the ‘determinism’ of the Harmonial Philosophy. “The whole of our jurisprudence is based upon the conception that man is a free agent... Theologians have placed man between two contending forces of equal strength, one good and one evil. In this state of equilibrium he has the choice of going over to either. Buy anything in equilibrium cannot be said to have choice, and If man chooses the good instead of the evil, he will do so because the pull on the side of the good is strengthened by the inherent goodness in himself. The conception of man having absolute freedom of choice, although defended by theologians or metaphysicians, is not true... It is a good thing that we are not free in the sense that we have been taught to believe. Such freedom would degenerate into license.

We know that true freedom comes by obedience to law, and when we obey the laws of our being we do not feel the restriction of those laws, but are conscious of that sense of freedom which renders life thoroughly enjoyable and happy... In the undeveloped man, choice is largely determined by outside influences. He acts automatically according to the strongest impulse, without reasoning very much upon it. But as we rise in the scale of development we found that the range of choice becomes wider, and the ego decides what it shall and what it shall not do. There is a difference in the ego deciding and the choice being decided by outside influences entirely. One is impulse, the other is the result of intellectual and moral perception. This again is a development resulting from the combined influences of heredity and environment. In fact, these influences have been developing in us the power of initiative and choice.”

ARTHUR FINDLAY
OUR VIBRATIONAL UNIVERSE

At the beginning of the Twentieth Century the scientific basis of modern industry changed from steam to electricity. The new vibrant power was a hundred times more adaptable than its mechanical predecessor and the productive capacity of man enormously increased. Researches into the phenomena of electricity revealed that our material universe was really an organisation of vibrant electrical forces. The electron replaced the atom as the fundamental brick of nature, and it was found that it had the enormous “frequency of 124 x 10 to the power of 18 oscillations per second.” This new view of nature had its effects upon philosophy, not least of which was to undermine to a very great extent the materialistic view of nature. Eddington was forced to the conclusion that the universe was created out of “Mind Stuff.” The new industries demanded a more intelligent type of worker, and as education became more scientific, this in turn had a serious effect upon orthodox religion, which rested upon beliefs, creed and dogmas. The intelligent worker was now no longer content to accept the most important facts of his life, unless they could be explained or proved to him within his new scientific outlook. Could life after death, and the invisible world in which spirits were supposed to dwell, be explained to him in terms of vibrations? This was precisely what Spiritualism was able to do and leading in the new interpretation of man’s destiny was Arthur Findlay.

Universe of Vibrations

His famous trilogy, On the Edge of the Etheric, The Rock of Truth, and The Unfolding Universe gave a new and up to date scientific basis for Spiritualism, and marked a new trend of thought in the movement. “The universe” he wrote in The Rock of Truth, “is composed of


 

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a gigantic scale of vibrations. Those, which we appreciate on earth, are only a small range of vibrations between two fixed points, namely, between 34,000 and 64,000 waves to the inch, or from 400 to 750 billion waves to the second. That is the section of the universe, which appeals to us, which makes up to us the physical world...

The vibrations of the Etheric world, I am told by my informants in that world, commence just above those of the physical world. We have confirmation of this through the knowledge obtained from psychic photography and clairvoyance, and from the fact that etheric beings, called ghosts, have been seen from time to time through the ages. Thus their lowest vibrations must be just about touching our normal physical range of sight... The Etheric world is just a continuation of the vibrations beyond what our senses can perceive.”

Mind the Image Maker

The basis of Findlay’s philosophy centres on the mind - the Image-maker. When sitting with Sloan, the medium, he made many experiments to discover the functions of the mind. What he discovered is told in his various books, the following quotation coming from The Curse of Ignorance. “When we think, we form a series of pictures which we call ideas, and, if these are correctly assorted, we think rationally. Our plastic mind is forever in motion making pictures of what it sees, feels, hears, smells, or tastes. When awake we relate these rationally one to the other, but in sleep our mind recalls past pictures irrationally. This we call dreaming, and it is caused by our reasoning power being dormant and at rest. Thus we are refreshed, but our mind is never still, though the pictures it makes during sleep are generally forgotten. What we call ‘seeing’ consists of the pictures made by the mind, the colour of what we see being the colour produced by the mind. We see something, and our mind produces the object in colour according to the frequency of the objects vibrations, which cause the mind to become what we call coloured. An objects size and colour are therefore the picture formed by the mind by vibrations, and, if we look at an object which we call blue, the picture formed by the mind is of the nature we call blue. Thus we think blue, but as most objects seen are a variety of colour, the mind-picture consists of all the colours produced by the different frequency of movements of the vibrations, reflected by the electrons in the atoms which make up the object. If we saw the mind at work it would be like looking at a Technicolor film, the colours and objects continually changing, as our eyes roam from place to place. Reality is centred in the mind, as without mind, the picture-maker, nothing would exist. Our head can be compared with a cine-camera, the eyes being the lens, and the mind the film which is always picturing what takes pace within its orbit, the only difference being that mind-pictures are also formed by hearing, touch, smell and taste. The state of awareness to our surroundings, this mental film forever picturing our environment, we term ‘living’, which is agreeable or disagreeable according to the way our mind reacts. The mind has developed according to a certain mould, which we call normal; anything abnormal, or different from what has been its custom, being more or less resented to be called pain, discomfort, or annoyance.”

Mind over Matter

In The Rock of Truth, Findlay points out how incarnate man is evolving towards the higher conditions of spirit life whilst here on earth. Man on earth is developing the power of his mind over his material environment in a manner which somewhat resembles the more perfect control of the spirit mind over its etheric environment. “We shall get the forces of nature to work for us under intelligent direction, and with the expenditure of very much less manual labour. Gradually the superiority of mind over matter is asserting itself and becoming


 

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increasingly evident, and some day we shall be able to mould physical matter into the shapes and conditions we require by the minimum of exertion, thus bringing our conditions on earth more in line with those prevailing in the Etheric world, where creative thought can make conditions in a way not yet understood on earth.”

“These thoughts,” he continues, “may help us to understand what our etheric friends mean by saying that they are in advance of the earth, and that what we now have they have enjoyed for long... We follow a long way behind them, but fortunately we shall continue to follow. We are learning to take control of our surroundings, as they have known to do for ages. That is why scientists and philosophers in the Etheric world are greatly in advance of those on earth, as many of the latter refuse to be taught by their superiors, greatly to their loss,” but “the kingdom of Mind on earth is receiving more respect today then ever before. What one is, mentally and morally, now receives more consideration than what was one’s social position at birth, whereas in the days of old the reverse was the case. Slowly Mind on Earth is coming to be recognised as King, and to have all things subservient to it.”

Universal Mind

Just as Eddington was forced to the conclusion that the Universe was made of ‘Mind Stuff’, Findlay regards the Universal Mind as the thinking substance of the universe, which is forever seeking expression. “We appreciate it on earth only when in contact with physical matter, and in the Etheric world it is appreciated when in contact with etheric substance. What makes the electrons and protons revolve in an orderly way within the atom? Each atom must contain a minute proportion of this thinking substance. All matter contains this thinking substance, this mind, as without it motion would cease, and without motion there would be no universe. Mind is at the back of all physical substance, and whether it be a stone or a human being, each is controlled by mind of a different degree.” Universal mind is individualised in each human being and “the individual mind of each of us, our ego or our self, is therefore trained in creative thought through contact with earth, which training conditions our surroundings here and hereafter. The mind never dies but continues developing forever, and with its increasing command over its surroundings, both time and space become of less and less account... Our minds will ultimately be in complete control of our surroundings, and as we think, so shall we be. Then I surmise the vibrations of our surroundings and of our mind will be at an equal frequency, that is, in unison, and we shall be inhabitants of the Realm of Mind our eternal home.”

Selfishness and Unselfishness

He wisely stresses in The Rock of Truth, the true basis of all goodness and progress, all sin and retrogression. The simple issue is whether a man is selfish or unselfish. “To put it briefly, all sin can be described by the word selfishness, and the more selfish we are the more sinful we are... If we wish to acquire knowledge for the purpose of helping others, if we become less selfish, then the path is opened to us, and as we gain in wisdom and character we draw nearer to perfection... Progress is dependent on desire; as the mind develops, the etheric body responds to finer vibrations, and thus we are enabled to rise naturally to higher planes. This is a faculty possessed by the etheric body, but not by the physical body.”

Changes Await Us

Spiritualism maintains and proves that a human being survives the death of the physical body,


 

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and continues to live in a spiritual world with an etheric body. Spiritualism goes further and postulates that man is capable of progressing as a spirit eternally. This raises an interesting question. Did man’s animal ancestors have minds powerful enough to sustain individuality indefinitely as spirits, and if not when did the species evolve sufficiently to, maintain eternal progress as spirits? Arthur Findlay when answering this question in his book Rock of Truth stated, “How long this combination of mind and the etheric counterpart continued apart from physical matter in the days of primitive life, no one can say; but this we know, that a time came when the combination did continue, when mind was strong enough to retain its individuality and persist in the Etheric world as an individual unit. Before this time, doubtless, the individual mind unit was not sufficiently strong to stand alone and it merged into the mass mind of the universe, to manifest itself again at some later period in some other physical form.” He maintains however that the minds of animals “are not sufficiently developed to retain their individuality permanently as man does. They retain their individuality for a time only on the animal plane in the Etheric world, and then with memories dissipating like a dream, their minds return to the mass mind of the universe. They have not the power to continue image-making. Animals, therefore, have only a temporary individuality which persists for a short time in the Etheric world, but affection on the part of an etheric being for an animal can retain that animal’s individuality for a longer period than is possible if no human affection exists... To put it briefly, creatures guided by instinct only, retain their individuality after death, for a period, but with man, guided by intelligent thought, the personality persists.”

One of the fundamental differences between our material life and our future etheric life is the enormous power of the mind in its direct control over its etheric environment. “The mind plays a much larger part in the Etheric world than it does here, and so it can attune itself to the surroundings for which it is fitted in a way it cannot do on earth. We all know people who are out of harmony with their surroundings on earth. That does not happen there.

Here on earth we are all living on the same surface. We are meeting the good and bad, the intelligent and the ignorant, though we may have nothing in common with those we meet. There, those of the same type of thought meet and live together. There, the power of mind is so much more in evidence that like draws to like in a far greater degree than here. Here, our work and every day occupations bring us into contact with minds of all types, but there, minds of like development congregate together, and the higher the development the higher is the surface or plane they live on.”

The Incomprehensible Universe

Scientists today, with their telescopes of increasing magnitude, are searching cosmic space but cannot find a boundary to the universe. The physical universe cannot be encompassed, and when we think of this from a psychic angle of thought, we realise how futile it is to try and grasp the universe as a physical entity. If there are boundaries to the universe the question naturally would arise as to what is beyond them. Spiritualists know that when they die they enter into surroundings, which form a new aspect of the universe. Then physical matter ceases to count and we contemplate only the etheric universe. Surely it follows that an explanation of the universe is impossible solely from the physical standpoint and that one will only be found when we are ultimately in a position to survey it from all its aspects, a matter which cannot be done on earth. Findlay stresses this aspect of thought in his various books, and in The Curse of Ignorance he writes as follows: “Everything (such as space, time, matter etc.) is relative and determined by our place in the universe, our appreciation of our surroundings being


 

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decided by the velocity at which the earth is travelling through space. On earth we can only interpret the universe from our point of view, namely the earth standpoint, but to someone in some star or planet it would be different because of the different velocity of his travel. A delicate experiment with a beam of light confirmed this, and laid the foundation for Professor Einstein to develop his revolutionary metaphysical theory of the universe, which gives a new conception of natural law, and lays low the old orthodox scientific materialism so long accepted without question. A more complete understanding of the unification of nature is now being attempted, as reality must always be the same everywhere throughout the universe, and science is coming to realise that this is only possible by regarding the universe as a mental conception. Plato, whose opinions were for long overshadowed by those of Aristotle, has come into his own again. Here on earth we can only appreciate physical reality, but other realities are before us which we shall experience after death. Then our consciousness will regard our environment from a new angle, the physical outlook being a purely relative one, and our earth experiences consequently likewise so. After death our new environment will become real to us and the earth unreal. Now the earth is real to us, but much occurs in our environment to which we are blind and deaf. What we do not see, feel or hear we consider unreal, but that is because of our physical limitations, and only when we are freed from them will the unseen become the real and what is now see the shadow.” This leads on to Findlay’s conception of:

The Etheric World

Has the Etheric world a definite locality in space like the material world? Findlay asserts in The Rack of Truth that the Spirit world is an astronomical locality. “It is not in some far off region in space, but is part of our world and goes round the sun along with this earth. Just as our earth turns on its axis, so the Etheric world turns along with us. It is all part of one whole. The earth is like the stone in a peach and the Etheric world is like the fruit surrounding it. Just like the stone, so the earth is the life giving seed to the Etheric world.” The Spirit world “is made up of seven spheres interpenetrating each other, and if we include the earth there are eight spheres. Each sphere has a surface, called a plane and above the surface of the first sphere is the surface of the second sphere. Those on the surfaces of the spheres below can look through the surfaces above them, must as we on earth are looking through all those surfaces and do not know it. Each succeeding sphere is composed of finer substance, and consequently the surface that is of finer substance than the one below cannot be seen by those on the lower surface. As development proceeds, those who progress become more and more attuned to the finer substance beyond and above them and so parting takes place there as here. Call it death if you like; but there is no body to bury, and those who pass to a higher plane can come back to their friends at will. By lowering the vibrations of their etheric bodies, by thought, they come through their own surface plane to plane right back to earth, but they cannot rise above the surface to which they are mentally and bodily fitted.”

Reincarnation

Do spirits reincarnate? Findlay replies: “To return would be retrogression and we have no evidence that this is nature’s plan. It sounds simple and believable to those who have never thought out how we obtain our individual minds and become individual beings. These come from our parents as already explained. There is no mystery about it, so the one who believes that he or she is the reincarnation of some individual who once lived, must explain how this separate individual mind took the place of the combined minds of his or her parents at conception. It is caused by misunderstanding of the facts and sprang from minds, which could


 

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conceive the virgin birth, an old belief with no scientific authority behind it. To me, the reincarnation of a strong individualised mind is impossible to image, though the weaker undeveloped minds may possibly return to the mass mind, just as do the minds of animals, but I have nothing to support even this suggestion. These views, I may say, receive the support of my informants in the Etheric world, who say that they know of no one who has incarnated again on earth. They have with them those who live on earth thousands of years ago, and those not with them have gone on to higher planes. It is reasonable to imagine the universe as a whole, as one great developing thought, or as a series of myriad small thoughts connected into one harmonious whole. As we know by experience that developing thought never goes back, but only changes, so we must assume that thought is continually evolving to higher heights of expression. There seems no end to mind, so there is no end to thought and no end to life. What we know is occurring in this world of ours we can assume is likewise occurring in different degrees in other worlds in the Universe.”

CONCLUSION
SPIRITUAL PHILOSOPHY FOR A NEW AGE

Over two thousand five hundred years ago, Thales of Greece postulated that water was the basic element of the universe, and ever since the world has been interpreted as a material phenomenon. Slowly man has added fact after fact to his knowledge over the centuries and as I have tried to indicate in this series of lecturettes, each advance in scientific knowledge has had a corresponding influence on philosophical thought, which in turn has advanced the process of civilisation. In 1945, an atom bomb exploded at Hiroshima and decisively confirmed certain scientific theories regarding the nature of matter, revealing an entirely new view of the universe, which the scientists had been piecing together since the beginning of the century. The atom bomb abruptly and finally brought to an end the fundamental philosophical concept, held over two thousand five hundred years, that the universe was an entirely materialistic phenomenon. It proved that what we term matter is but the external manifestation of something which is more fundamental. The scientists are now agreed that the basic element of the universe is an invisible immaterial force. Even the electron is but a crude expression of this underlying force or energy, which is so ethereal that Eddington coined the word MIND-STUFF to explain it. In short, MIND is behind matter. The invasion, “beyond the veil” of matter, into the ethereal universe has dealt a deathblow to materialism and given philosophy an entirely new basis. Man however is still more interested in material values than in spiritual values, and whilst modern scientific discoveries have caused rapid changes in his economic life, their influence on his spiritual and moral life has been much slower. The lag between science and philosophy consequently tends to periodically form a contradiction between the two. Note for instance the present contradiction between science and theological dogma and its disastrous effect upon religion.

Material Survival

The scientists Rutherford, Einstein and others have destroyed the basis of materialism, but materialistic ideologies still dominate the world. In the womb of the ‘Material Age’ however, there has been slowly and imperceptibly growing a new spiritual force, which is an offspring of modern science. During the last hundred years the searching fight of science has been turned upon psychical phenomena, which had remained throughout the centuries a mystery to all but a few enlightened ones. Psychical research has laid the foundations of a new spiritual view of existence, and after a century of painstaking investigation the philosophical


 

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significance of psychical phenomena is becoming doubly clear, as we witness the collapse of the scientific basis of materialism. The ‘Material Age’, which is now coming to a close, has been chiefly characterised by man’s struggle with matter. Man has evolved during the last ten thousand years to a high degree of civilisation, largely under the drive of his animal materialistic instincts of self-preservation and lust for power. History records how the fittest peoples have conquered and the weak have gone under. In his struggles and conflicts man has gradually refined his soul and spiritual forces have slowly been able to establish themselves. These forces are now maturing and becoming so virile that they will soon give birth to a new ‘Spiritual Age.’ The developing contradictions and conflicts between the new spiritual forces and the old material ones are the basic cause of the birth pangs of change from which the world is now suffering.

Greater Love and Wisdom

In the struggle against selfishness, man’s social institutions are becoming more humane and refined. Human co-operation is replacing human exploitation, and social security is becoming a fact because of man’s greater love for his neighbour. Man is also increasing his wisdom. Christina Foyle has told us that three times as many books are being sold today (1953) as were sold before the last war, less than ten years ago, and that readers are showing a keener discrimination in their newly evolved limb - the machine, and concentrating upon the development of his mental powers. When he becomes a little wiser and agrees to distribute the products of the earth on a world co-operative and not on a national competitive basis, he will never again resort to war for world’s markets and raw materials and thus periodically and foolishly destroy what he creates. He will also discover that to maintain his material needs he will only require to work at the most for four hours each day. His major problem of material survival will come to an end and economic security will ensure lasting peace. A ‘New Age’ will begin.

Spiritual Survival

This ‘New Age’ however will bring new problems, which will unfold man’s latent spiritual powers. Instead of material survival he will be forced to struggle for spiritual survival. In his struggle with matter, he has been fully occupied, but a scientifically planned economy will bring him long hours of leisure, which he will have to spiritually survive or become decadent in material luxury. His increased leisure will become his major problem, but will also provide him with the greatest opportunity he has ever experienced for spiritual progress. It is very interesting to note that the new movement of Modern Spiritualism has revealed that the life towards which all men are evolving, is one in which the need to produce and distribute food and other human requirements for the maintenance of our bodies is non-existent. It is also very significant that the life after death is chiefly one of mind, the spirit body drawing its energy food directly from its ethereal environment. Spirit life is chiefly characterised by spiritual survival, for without spiritual struggle and progress, retrogression and degradation are the inevitable consequences. There is no guarantee of heavenly bliss without effort, for personal responsibility is a universal law. These are some of the facts upon which the philosophy of Spiritualism is founded, and the great significance of the Spiritualist movement becomes doubly clear as we realise that its philosophy not only prepares man for his future life in heaven, but also for his future life on earth. The new Spiritual Age, towards which he is now rapidly moving will be chiefly one of intellectual and spiritual development; MIND will reign supreme, and social life will evolve progressively towards the standards and conditions of existence in the Spirit world, until there is a gradual merging from one to the other.


 

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Spiritualism is therefore a timely revelation for this epoch of transition, and provides effective and appropriate spiritual guidance to the solution of man’s present world problems.

The Age of Materialism has also been characterised by the gradual integration of the human race into one great social unit by various forms of land, sea, air and radio communications. Today we are familiar with what is happening to our brothers and sisters in the most remote parts of the world. We know more about Truman and Dewey, Molotov and Vyshinsky, James Mason and Wilfred Pickles than we do about those who live in the same street as ourselves. We have evolved an internationalism, which takes many forms. The ‘Spiritual Age’ will also be characterised by an ever-greater union of the human race. This will become possible by the invention of a new scientific means of communication, which will provide links and contacts between the Spirit world and our own, at least as effectively as the telephone and radio now link the Western and Eastern hemispheres. This union between terrestrial end celestial societies will provide the basis for a new UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD of the human race. By means of this new form of communication ‘Cosmical Society’ will become a reality. The love and wisdom of the highest spirits will descend to earth more effectively than at present, and the human race will march forward into the new ‘Spiritual Age’ with greater opportunities of achievement and progress than ever before. Meanwhile man needs a philosophy, which will prepare him NOW for his glorious future. This philosophy must rest upon the principles of the unity of all Spirit, the brotherhood of all men, discarnate and incarnate, the facts of survival after death and communication with the Spirit world, and the concept of eternal progress. This philosophy must be supported by scientific truth, and not belief, as in the past, and come transformed into religion by its practical application to life’s problems and not held as a pious platitude. Spiritualism is such a philosophy. Spiritualism is the philosophy of the coming ‘Spiritual Age’ and Spiritualists have therefore a great responsibility. To them has been assigned the task of world spiritual leadership and the future wafts for them to honour that responsibility.

THE END