On the Plane of Self Consciousness - VII-2-Cosmic Consciousness
Since that time neither the world nor the government of the world have changed, but the gradual alteration in the moral nature of man has made it in his eyes a different place. The bleak and forbidding mountains, the awe-inspiring sea, the gloomy forests, the dark and fearful night, all the aspects of nature which in that old time were charged with dread, have in the place of it become clothed with a new and strange beauty.
The whole human race and all living things have put on ( in our eyes) a charm and sacredness which in the old times they were far from possessing. The governing powers of the universe (obedient to the same beneficent influence) have been gradually converted from demons into beings and forces less and less inimical, more and more friendly, to man; so that in all respects each age has interpreted the universe for itself, and has more or less discredited the interpretations of previous ages.
Which is the correct interpretation? What mind, of all the vast diversity of the past and present, in all this long series, pleasures to itself most correctly the outer world. Let us see. Let us consider for a moment our spiritual genealogy, and dwell on its meaning. Our immediate ancestors were Christians. The spiritual proginator of Christianity was Judaism. Judaism having its beginning in that group of tribes collectively called Terachite or Hebrew-Ibrim, those of the other side (i.e., of the Euphrates)-descended from the mythical Ab-orham or Abraham [137-91f]; these tribes being themselves a twig of the great Semitic branch of the Caucasian race stock, sprang directly from Chaldean polytheism.
Chaldean polytheism again 'in its turn was a development in direct descent of the Sun and Nature worship of the primitive undivided Caucasian family. The Sun and Nature worship again no doubt had its root in, and drew its life from initial Fetishism, or the directly worship of individual earthly objects. In this long descent (although we apply different names to different parts of the continuous series, as if there were lines of demarcation between these different parts) there has been no break, and in all the thousands of years never such a thing as a new departure.
In theses spiritual matters the maxim "Natura non facit saltum" holds as firmly as it does in physics and geology. The whole affair is a simple matter of growth strictly analogous to the unfolding of the branch from the bud, or of the plant from its seed. As has been well said: "La religion etant un des produits vivants de l'humanite doit vivre, c'est-a-dire, changer avec elle" [136:45].
And on last analysis it will be found under the vast diversity of external appearance, from Fetishism to Christianity-underlying the infinite variety of formulas, creeds and dogmas resumed under these five heads-the essential element upon which all else depends, which underlies all and is the soul of all, is the attitude of the moral nature.
An all changes in the intellectual form and outer aspect of religion are as obedient to the gradual change taking place in this as are the movements of the hands and wheels of the watch to the expansive force of the mainspring. The external world stands fast, but the spirit of man continually grows, and as it does so its own vast Brocken shadow (thrown out by moral nature but shaped by the intellect), which it projects on the midst of the infinite unknown, necessarily (like a dissolving view) changes and changes, following the alterations in the substance (that is, the soul of man) which gives life and reality to the shadowy phantom which plain folk call their creed, and which metaphysicians call the philosophy of the absolute.
But thus interpreting, from age to age, the unknown universe in which we live, it is to be observed that we are (on the whole) constantly giving a better and better report of it. We attribute to our gods (as the ages pasa0 better and better characters, and we constantly expect at their hands better and better treatment, both in the present life and after death.
That means (of course) that the quantity of trust or faith which we possess is steadily increasing and encroaching upon its opposite, fear, charity, sympathy, or affection, that the constant increase of that faculty is steadily changing to us the aspect of the visible world, just as the growth of faith is altering the image we form for ourselves or of that greater world which is invisible. Nor is there any indication that this double process has come to an end or that it is likely to come to and end.
Reference: Cosmic Consciousness; A study in the evolution of the Human Mind: Richard Maurice Bucke
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