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Chapter 6
The Spiritual Value of Education
IF WE consider education to embrace, not merely what is acquired in formal schools,
but also every experience that affects the behavior, it is evident that spirituality
depends upon education. Whether an individual's life is rich and refined, or scanty
and gross, is contingent, in large measure, upon the kind and number of his
experiences. True, one child under certain conditions will develop characteristics
quite different than does another child under the same circumstances. Nevertheless,
what the child likes and what it dislikes are conditioned by the kind of experiences it
has early in life. Whether its inclinations through life are to be coarse, self-centered
and brutish, or are to be refined, unselfish and noble can be quite definitely
determined by an intelligent use of conditioning factors very early in its career.
As the means that may be employed for conditioning factors to determine the
developing child's emotional reactions, and the various important traits of character
that spring from such conditioned responses, are given much detailed discussion in
Course 14, this subject will not be presented here. But it is here essential to our
purpose to point out that once it is determined what likes and dislikes a child should
have, there is at hand an adequate method in the application of sound psychology by
which these trends, or almost any other traits of character, may readily be developed
in the child.
And even when such earlier training has been neglected, and traits of character,
leanings, and tendencies have developed that seem undesirable, we adults need not
despair; for although the modification of adult character is more difficult, through
determined, persistent and intelligent effort adult desires, reactions and propensities
may likewise be completely altered.
But before commencing to educate either the child or the adult in the direction of
spirituality, we must determine in the individual case just what tendencies, qualities
and actions should be developed. The capacities of people, even from their births,
differ. Therefore, there are individual problems to solve; problems in determining
what kind of education in each particular case will yield the highest and fullest
spiritual satisfactions. And in addition to these, it is necessary also to determine what
inclinations and tendencies in general, as applicable to most of mankind, lead to
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breadth of life, and raise the dominant vibratory rate and thus increase the
spirituality.
The adequacy with which humanity can successfully solve the problems of its life
depends upon the correct amount of information available. It makes mistakes, and
fails to reach its highest possibilities, either because impulse overrides reason, or
because the insufficiency of its information causes it to draw wrong conclusions. The
impulses and emotions that cause individuals sometimes to disregard the dictates of
knowledge, themselves are susceptible to education. But mankind cannot have the
knowledge that enables it to act correctly, even when its emotions are properly
trained, unless there is a wide range of properly classified facts.
The acquisition of these facts in itself does not add to the spirituality; it only
contributes to the mental development, that is, to breadth of life. But mental
development and length of life both can be employed to increase the spirituality.
And in addition to acquiring facts and ideas there is another type of highly beneficial
mental development which should not be neglected. It requires the patient
application of energy, but no time taken from other duties. It can, and should be, not
merely a part time practice, but a training used all of each day. It consists in thinking
the type of constructive thoughts which have been selected properly to recondition
the thought-cell discords revealed by the birth chart, and of forbidding entrance to the
mind of thoughts which increase the thought-cell discords. And it should be used
with equal vigilance and persistence in spiritual development through preventing
entrance to the consciousness of thoughts and emotions which lower the dominant
vibratory rate, and encouraging the presence of thoughts and emotions which raise
the dominant vibratory rate.
Such daily training in directed thinking and induced emotion may accompany any
activity in which one is engaged. The chief difficulty encountered is to remember in
proper time just what types of thoughts and emotions are not wanted and just what
types of thoughts and emotions are desired.
As thoughts and emotions commonly enter objective consciousness, it seems proper
to think of them as guests. Some of these mental guests are pleasant, desirable and
beneficial companions. Others we are far better off without. But these have a habit of
slipping stealthily in without asking permission. Here they are, creating a
disturbance or perhaps even an emotional uproar almost before we are aware of their
presence.
If we are not to permit them to work great and continuous harm we must shut them
out; and to do this we must become habitually alert. Unless such alertness is carefully
cultivated they will continue to sneak in. One way to cultivate such alertness, though
there are also other ways, is to acquire the habit of mentally speaking to trains of
thought just as they start. Call them Welcome Guests, or Unwelcome Guests. When
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something stimulates constructive thinking, or a beneficial emotion, say
"Welcome!" to it. But when you commence to worry, when you commence to be
despondent, when you start to feel irritated, when you start to be jealous, or envious,
or begin to feel sorry for yourself, or think that everything is all wrong, mentally
shout "Unwelcome!" at the intruder.
You have decided what mental guests you want, and when they appear you should
welcome them gladly. And you have also decided what mental guests you will not
tolerate, and are quite justified in yelling at them, "Unwelcome Guests!" as soon as
they put in an appearance, although if your family is to remain convinced of your
sanity the yelling to keep these obnoxious intruders out should better be only mental.
Here we have illustrated that ability to attain the ends we seek physically, mentally
and spiritually depends upon knowledge. To make satisfactory spiritual progress it is
not enough to recognize that it consists of raising the dominant vibratory rate. There
must also be know-how information, and effort directed by this knowledge.
The more complete its knowledge, the more effectively can mankind direct its efforts
into those channels which make it physically, mentally and spiritually successful.
And as knowledge rests upon classified facts, the better they are classified and the
more available they become by plainness of presentation and accessibility in printed
or other form, the better opportunity mankind has to enjoy life and develop its
spiritual possibilities.
The cosmic alchemist may, or may not, according to his capacity, contribute in a
marked manner directly to the finding and presenting of new facts. But at least, in the
interest of human welfare, he exerts as strong a pressure as possible to encourage
those who are qualified to search the universe for information, to classify it, and to
make it available for the use of as many people as possible.
And because his conception of the universe is not limited to the material world, but
embraces invisible planes as well, he encourages research in these realms. Enough
evidence is already at hand to prove to him conclusively that the death of the physical
body is not the extinction of the soul. There is another life in different velocity of
substance that he is going very shortly to be called upon to take up. If he is to meet the
problems of this new phase of existence, should he now remain in total ignorance of
its requirements?
The physical life is but one section of the larger life of the soul. It is but one link in the
chain of existence. And as knowledge of conditions on earth enables man more
successfully to live here, so knowledge of the inner plane where shortly he is to dwell
doubtless will enable man to find greater satisfaction there. Furthermore, the cosmic
alchemist believes the whole chain can be made more valuable by an increasing
knowledge of the requirements in its successive links. That greater life can be lived
more completely if he uses some effort to prepare himself to fit harmoniously into the
next phase of his existence. The cosmic alchemist, therefore, encourages such efforts
as lead to a more comprehensive knowledge of the life that follows physical
dissolution.
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I realize that in many pseudo-occult circles there is a strict injunction against trying to
find out anything about the life after death. In such groups the very word Spiritualism
is anathema. Anyone who communicates with a loved one who has passed on,
according to these, is close to the brink of perdition.
One cannot avoid the suspicion that the leaders who so vociferously condemn
attempts at spirit communion fear that such communion ultimately will provide
information that will show how shallow and erroneous are the ideas they teach. One
suspects that they fear the mask of their pretensions will be removed, revealing them
to be the charlatans and conniving priests of false doctrines that they are.
Not but that spiritualism holds many dangers; perils so real that they are emphasized
and set forth in detail in the first B. of L. course of study. We feel it desirable that the
student at the very beginning of his studies should be aware of them, and should also
know that there are methods of gaining information about inner-plane conditions
without exposure to these perils. But if Columbus had been deterred by perils he
would not have discovered America. If such men as Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler
had desisted in their researches because of the very real danger that threatened them
from the Church, the world might still believe the earth to be flat and stationary. After
all, radium had its martyrs, the development of aviation has been marked by
disasters, atomic fission has placed humanity in grave peril, and human
accomplishment is bordered by the gravestones that measure the miles of its
advancement.
For the ignorant and innocent to enter upon grave peril in the belief that the enterprise
is free from danger is quite a different matter from entering upon hazardous
exploration by a skilled investigator who is fully aware of the difficulties to be
encountered and the chances he is taking. For women and children, in the belief it is a
pleasant task, to start on a polar expedition is quite a different affair than the attempt
of Byrd to fly across the earth's axis, or the attempt of Wilkins to reach it by
submarine travel beneath the ice. We applaud these explorers rather than condemn
them, because they have tried to add something to the sum total of human knowledge.
Shall we then not also applaud those who, aware of its dangers, but especially fitted
for such work, explore that even less known frontier of human knowledge, the realm
where man sojourns in the discarnate future?
Preconceptions often are erroneous. Guesses usually lead to failure. Theories not
based upon facts are worthless. Therefore, we might as well face the situation as it
exists in spite of creeds, false occult notions and bigoted assumptions of superior
knowledge. Man can have no real science of a future life except that science is based,
as are the other sciences, upon carefully collected and critically observed facts. Until,
through the investigation of the phenomena of the next life correct information was
obtained and tabulated, our conception of the life hereafter was but a surmise, or at
best but the reports of certain individuals as to what they have uncritically examined
in that region.
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Trained minds that at present laboriously are plodding the road of careful psychic
research are really doing something to increase our knowledge of this inner-plane.
Some of its problems, by the most critical methods of experimental science, they
have already solved. Many more problems lie before them. But they are on the right
road, and I am justified in saying the only road that will ever yield a real science of the
life beyond the grave. Their ingenuity enables them, from time to time, to discover
new and improved methods of investigation. The proper application of Intellectual
Extra-Sensory Perception became apparent from a study of their experiments. In
time, doubtless, a purely mechanical contrivance will be perfected by which those of
earth can talk with their acquaintances who have passed on as easily and certainly as
people now communicate with each other by radio. Then we shall quickly develop a
very comprehensive science of the future life.
In the meantime, while recognizing that the processes of experimental science are
slow in yielding results, and not nearly so facile in giving explanations as are those
individuals who jump to conclusions about the devachanic plane, the cosmic
alchemist, in the interest of true education, supports and encourages whenever he
can, all competent research that has for object the gaining of more definite
information about the future life.
Is Information From the
Inner-Plane Spiritual?
--But because information, or pseudo-information, comes from the inner-plane, he
does not make the mistake that is so often made of considering it more spiritual, or
more infallible, than such information as is received through the physical senses.
Information received through any of the psychic channels regarding this plane or any
other is merely information, and valuable only if reliable. Information received from
those who occupy the inner-plane, from friends who have passed on, or from some
unseen entity who purports to be a Master, is merely information; and is no more, and
is no less spiritual than information of a similar grade and similar reliability received
from a friend whom one chances to meet and pass the time of day with on the streets.
Nor is the exercise of the psychic faculties and of occult powers more spiritual than
the exercise of physical powers and faculties, except when it increases the dominant
vibratory rate. The yogi who is buried under ground for a month exercises a certain
ability of suspended animation such as a bear. or a groundhog exhibits at the
approach of winter; but such burial, unless it is done to benefit some other being, has
no spiritual quality.
To leave the physical body and travel in the astral form to far places, in itself is not a
spiritual act. But thus exploring the astral realms, or exploring the physical world in
the physical body, through increasing the amount of information adds breadth to the
life which may, or may not, be used to increase the spirituality.
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A person of low morals, through natural ability or through persistent cultivation, can
develop his clairvoyant powers, his psychometric perception, or his mediumistic
quality, quite as readily as can a person of high morals. To develop a keen ear for
musical notes, or the appreciative eye of an artist, does not depend on morals. Nor
does the ability to exercise any psychic faculty; although the results obtained by the
exercise of any of these abilities is modified by the moral nature.
The shamans of the primitive northern tribes, the witch doctors of Africa, the fakirs
of India, and even the early fathers of the Church, impressed their holiness upon the
masses by performing apparent miracles. But these miracles are under law, are the
result of using certain unseen forces, and while they often rest upon special abilities
this does not signify that these abilities are spiritual. Jesus did not prove himself
spiritual because he could perform miracles; but because in each instance that he
exercised his superior talents he used them to alleviate suffering or to benefit
someone.
Is the Yogi Spiritual?
--If the Oriental yogi does something through the use of his specially cultivated
psychic powers to benefit others, he performs a spiritual act. But if he exercises these
powers merely to show others what he can do, to cause them to revere him as a saint,
or merely to excite amazement, nothing spiritual has been accomplished. And if
through the exercise of these powers he has the ability to alleviate the misery of
others, and refrains from doing so under the belief that any help he might render
would interfere with the payment, through suffering, of their just karmic debts, he is
decidedly an unspiritual man.
Magic, as well as the exercise of any other capacity or power, may be grossly selfish
and material, or unselfish and spiritual; depending on the motive behind it and
whether it is helpful or detrimental to others. The man with great ability, whether that
ability be physical, intellectual or magical, may be spiritual, or again, he may be
crassly material.
The development of Intellectual Extra Sensory Perception and its exercise, because
it increases the range of information obtainable, and because it may be used to enrich
and make more valuable the life, gives greater opportunity for spiritual progress. It
does not assure spirituality, but it offers opportunity to gain spiritual values.
Therefore, the development of Intellectual Extra Sensory Perception may be made of
value in spiritual progress.
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Is Accumulating Wealth
Unspiritual?
--Before turning from this subject of the exercise of powers, there is still another
ability that should be mentioned; the ability to accumulate wealth. How such wealth
is accumulated is still another aspect that needs consideration in its spiritual
implications. Here, therefore, the question only is whether the accumulation of
wealth is spiritual or unspiritual.
Like the exercise of any other ability, it all depends on the motive behind it and the
use to which it is devoted. To accumulate money at the expense of the suffering of
others, and to use it for self-gratification rather than to benefit society, is the opposite
of spiritual. But if the money accumulated has been acquired without hardship to
others, if it has been acquired largely under the prompting to be useful to others, and
if it is then used to accomplish some needed improvement in conditions which could
not be accomplished without the concentration of capital under the direction of a
single competent mind, the act of accumulation becomes spiritual in character.
Accumulating money in small amounts, or in large amounts, is neither spiritual nor
material, but the ability to do this, or the exercise of any other ability, can be used for
either end.
Education For Those Desiring to
be Spiritual
--With these preliminary questions now cleared up; let us consider what kind of
education the individual desiring to be spiritual should have, and how much of it. As,
in addition to length, life has both breadth and thickness, his education should be
such as to increase it in all three dimensions. While not necessarily contributing to
spirituality, either greater length or greater breadth of life may be used to increase it
Education should not neglect instruction in how to obtain the physical things which
are necessary to health, length of life and usefulness. And as mental education not
only broadens the life but enables the individual to increase his spirituality through
usefulness to others, he cannot receive too much of it. But at the same time, if his life
is not to lack in the most important of its dimensions, the individual should receive
training to raise his dominant vibratory rate.
The amount of time and effort devoted to gaining an education should be limited only
by the amount of both required to use the education he already has to advance himself
and the world of which he forms a part. Should he devote all his time to gaining an
education, he would accomplish nothing else. And if he should devote all his time to
trying to accomplish something, without learning what is best to accomplish and how
best to do it, what he would accomplish would amount to nothing. Thus should the
energy and time be intelligently balanced between study and action, that the yield
both to himself and to others may be the maximum harvest.
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In regard to his mental education if his information is so broad and general that he
devotes little time to the details of any one thing he is unable to accomplish any one
thing with unusual ability. If he devotes himself too exclusively to some specialty he
is unable to perceive how it is related to other things, and so fails to use it in the
manner that will yield the widest good. Thus his mental education should be divided
appropriately between the effort to gain as inclusive a knowledge of the universe and
its laws as possible, and into the effort to learn all that it is possible to know about the
one particular thing in which he has specialized.
The schooling of a child, or of an adult, should be such as to give him as wide a grasp
of information as possible. Only through such general knowledge which should
include the facts of astrology, the facts of extra-sensory perception, the facts of
induced emotion and the facts of directed thinking, can he learn either the purpose of
life or how he best can adapt himself to that purpose. But at the same time, too much
energy should not be devoted to learning the details of a multitude of subjects which
are unrelated to the application of the natural aptitudes mapped by his chart of birth.
Our public schools waste a vast amount of valuable time and energy teaching
children subjects that give them no real insight into the meaning of life, and for which
they will have no use in after years. Furthermore, a child who is a natural musician
should not be given the same education in early years as the child who is naturally a
merchant or who is naturally an engineer. Such waste of time and energy of the
child-power of the world is as criminal an extravagance as the much and rightly
heralded waste of timber, coal, oil and other natural resources.
Time and energy consumed in learning something that is of no value to the
individual, and which does not assist him later in his calling, could be spent to better
advantage in learning those things and in cultivating those abilities that will aid him
to be of competent service later in the society of which he forms a part. To adjust
himself intelligently to the universe in which he lives, the child should be given wide
information concerning it. But the balance of his training should be determined, from
the very start, to assist him to become proficient in the line of work to which in later
life he will be devoted.
This implies that the natural abilities of the child must be known in earliest infancy
and the proper line of instructions then planned for him. And it implies that much
about his temperament and peculiarities also should be known from birth, that such
methods may be employed in his individual case that most effectively will impart the
selected information, develop his natural abilities to the maximum, and prevent the
formation of quirks of character that are against his own interests and against the
interests of society. Such knowledge of the child may be ascertained, at any age, from
its birth chart.
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Already, in Course XIV, Chapter 1, it has been discussed in detail how both the vocation and
the cosmic work of a child, or of an adult, may be selected. For an individual to follow
some occupation for which temperamentally unadapted, or to spend years gaining
some special type of education that he is unable to use in any way, is a gross waste of
human material. It is not in the direction of spirituality; for true spirituality is a high
dominant vibratory rate acquired through benefiting others, through spiritual
alchemy, or through heightened emotional appreciation. The cosmic alchemist,
therefore, exerts his influence toward enabling the child who is fitted for one calling
to obtain an education that will assist it in this calling without devoting its energies to
learning things that do not raise its dominant vibratory rate and are beneficial only to
those who follow entirely different lines of endeavor.
But whatever may be the line of mental education followed, there are two separate
and distinct factors that should be constantly kept in mind. With the first factor nearly
all our schools are concerned. This factor is the imparting of such information as has
been acquired by man relative to various subjects. The information is poured into the
growing child, and he is expected to retain this information in his memory.
But of even more importance than the acquiring and repeating, parrot like, of the
information taught, is the development of the ability to use whatever information is at
hand, including that obtained from his own observations, to form correct and
independent conclusions. The accumulation of facts is valuable, and is the
foundation of man's superior adaptability at the present time. We have recorded
observations and conclusions (many of the latter erroneous) from a long stretch of
time. We, therefore, have a more complete mastery over many phases of nature than
did the ancients, to whom no such numerous observations of others were available.
But it is very doubtful, in spite of more complete knowledge, if man has increased in
intelligence during the last ten thousand years; for intelligence is not based on the
data available, but upon the proper use of whatever facts happen to be at hand.
Because our schools are chiefly concerned with making facts available, they do very
little toward developing the real intelligence of those who attend them. The result of
this is readily observable in the attitude of these children when they are grown toward
religion, political issues, popular fads and whatever has to do with the formation of
public sentiment. Unaccustomed in their school years critically and carefully to
examine the statements and conclusions of their teachers and their text books, but
accustomed to accepting unquestioningly whatever is presented to them by these
authorities, they fail to discern in political propaganda, in real estate or stock market
booms, in religious discussions, and whatever fads become epidemic, the fallacies
these so obviously contain. They have been accustomed throughout childhood, not to
think for themselves, but to receive their ideas ready made. And when the
newspapers, the political leaders, the religious potentates, and the financial heads tell
them something, they without question accept and act upon it, just as they accepted
and acted upon the thoughts presented to them by their teachers in earlier years. If
children are not given the habit of thinking for themselves, how can we expect these
children when grown up to form such new and completely foreign habits?
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Along with the imparting of information, therefore, the school should be conducted
so that an equivalent amount of time and energy will be spent by the child in thinking
out things for himself. Information is something; but it is probably less, rather than
more, than half in mental education. Intelligence implies the ability to visualize facts
in such a variety of relations that it enables the individual to perceive just how nature
actually operates, and what may be expected to take place under a given set of
conditions. The cosmic alchemist, therefore, exerts an influence to encourage the
development of Intelligence in our educational processes.
The Public Fails to Discriminate
--Such lack of intelligence, it seems to me, is quite strikingly exhibited by the
popular attitude toward the morals of those who occupy positions in public life.
A man may be known to pull many unfair strings to obtain a public office and there
will be little comment. He may be shown to have exploited the position of public trust
in which he has been placed, and while such use of the public confidence to gain his
private ends and enrich himself is condemned, it gets scant publicity. He may be
known to be a man who has by sharp practices accumulated a fortune, and still be
held in public esteem. Even if he has ground the face of the poor, has paid the lowest
wages and demanded the most work, has crushed competitors by force, and has taken
an exorbitant profit wherever possible, he suffers little in the respect of others.
But if, as every politician and boss of the underworld knows, this man's name, or the
name of another who has committed none of these sins against society, can by fair
means or foul be linked with that of a woman in a transgression of the conventional
standards of sex, his political career is at once ruined. When the underworld has tried
all other means to remove a conscientious man from office, and has failed, it
invariably "frames" him with a woman.
It is very easy with money to get some woman on a pretext of needing help, of
wishing expert advice on some personal problem, or other well-planted bait, to have
a private conference with almost any man And once in such a conference it is also
easy for the unscrupulous woman to give conclusive evidence to the detectives, who
are "planted", when they rush in at the opportune moment, that the man's intentions
or conduct were not honorable.
There is no intention here of condoning the transgressions of the conventions. But it
should be pointed out that many able men are removed from office on such "framed"
charges; and that others are brought into general public disfavor through lies
circulated about them which have no foundation whatever in fact. Occasionally, as
occurred some time back here in Los Angeles, the actions of the charged individual
can be vindicated by proving in the courts that the whole situation was a deliberate
"plant". But more often, because the charges are so widely heralded in the
newspapers, the defendant, even if through long litigation he proves his innocence, is
ruined in the confidence of the public.
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Yet even if the charges were true, what has the conduct of his domestic life to do with
his ability to serve the public, or his integrity as a public official? As Course 14
reveals in detail, a man is made up of various habit-systems that are largely
independent each of the other. He has a habit-system that governs the conduct of his
work, a habit-system that governs the manner in which he performs the
responsibilities entrusted to him, and still another habit-system that is responsible for
his domestic life and his attitude towards the opposite sex. Why, therefore, should the
public be so willing to deprive itself of the integrity and high ability of one who is
particularly fitted to serve it in a certain capacity, just because in some other more
private respect he is unable or unwilling to live up to its strict requirements?
One would think, to read the papers, that there is only one real sin; the transgression
of the standards of sex relationship. When the papers state that an individual is
charged with immoral conduct, or when the individual's morality is brought to issue,
it is implied that this in some manner has to do with his sexual conduct. Is it, then,
moral to steal a million dollars? Is it moral to cause the suffering of others through
providing inadequate living conditions? Is it moral to murder and rob and commit
arson? Well, while these things are not considered exactly moral, they seem to be in a
class by themselves; for a question of morals seems always to involve a relation
between the sexes.
Again I must insist that I am not upholding the transgression of conventional
standards in reference to the domestic relations. But I must point out that these laws,
like those governing property rights, were made by the majority in the interest of a
standard of conduct that to this majority seemed not difficult to attain.
But all persons are not alike in their emotions, in their urges, or in their necessities.
Some people are temperamentally cold, and others are more vivid. But hot or cold,
emotionally strong or emotionally weak, strongly physical or strongly mental,
refined or gross, active or passive, we have attempted to formulate a single standard
of conduct for all. For its self-preservation, society has carved out a rigid and
unbendable pattern; and attempts to make every individual fit into this form. The
wonder is, not that people transgress its narrow boundaries, but that there is not more
transgression.
After all, has it been thoroughly and convincingly decided just what form of
domestic relationship is best? Is it better for people who quarrel and fight
continuously to be compelled to live together, or is it better that they separate? Is it
better that people who thus cannot live in harmony shall find consolation elsewhere,
or is it better that they shall forever live as celibates? Is it better for people who
because of responsibility to their children, or who because of responsibility to
something contributing to public welfare, feel the inadvisability of divorce, yet who
no longer can have any emotional interest in each other, to refrain from allowing any
affection to kindle for another? These are questions that society, through experiment
and the process of trial and error, is trying to solve; but they are not yet closed
questions.
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Nor, beyond suggesting that real love is one of the most spiritual of all forces, do I
here attempt a solution. I mention these questions because, as it seems to me, lack of
proper education causes the public to place undue stress upon transgressions of the
standard of conduct it has set in sexual matters, to the serious neglect of emphasizing
the importance of various other moral and spiritual transgressions.
Unspiritual Conduct
--Cheating the public through graft is becoming more and more common, but in
spite of its increasing occurrence it is decidedly unspiritual. Anything that degrades
the individual, or has for its object the injury of others, lowers the dominant vibratory
rate and is unspiritual. The extent to which an unconventional affair does this varies
with the individual circumstances; but grafting on others, either in or out of public
office, always lowers the spirituality.
But what about the individual who, because of superior ability, or some unusual
combination of circumstances, is able to grab a large section of the wealth of a
country, appropriate it to himself, and hold it irrespective of giving society anything
of value in return? I am not here speaking of his legal right, or whether or not others
should permit a situation to exist where this is possible. I refer to it from the
standpoint of how it affects his dominant vibratory rate.
Such an individual, because he is unable to perceive himself as selfish, because as yet
he is unable to grasp the idea that abilities, capacities and resources should not be
used merely for self but are responsibilities to society, is not spiritual. Whatever he
gains physically and mentally is more than compensated for by the effect on his
character. Because through hoarding resources that others might enjoy he deprives
society of that which otherwise it would have, he is inimical to his fellowman. Nor
could he remain callous to such injustice if he had a high dominant vibration. One
who cannot perceive that might does not make right is sadly lacking in spiritual
education.
Let us suppose that three-fourths of the population of the earth are keen enough to
acquire all the resources and wealth of the world and to pass laws by which it remains
within their possession. What are the balance of the people to do? Is it the spiritual
thing for them to perish from the face of the earth rather than break these arbitrary
standards raised by the majority, or is it more spiritual for them by stealth or force to
take what they need to survive. If a man is honest, cannot obtain employment, has
children and a sick wife, is it more spiritual for him to steal food or to permit his
family and himself to die? One who has a real spiritual education finds no difficulty
in answering such questions. He finds no difficulty because he is trained to do his
own thinking.
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Scientists and Their Assumptions
--In all the departments of science, of course, we cannot conduct painstaking
investigations to ascertain if the scientists have performed their work accurately. But
there are innumerable fields in which things are now taken for granted because the
prevalent opinion of notable persons has set its seal of approval on certain ideas, that
need occasionally to be completely reexamined. For instance, in Course XII-1, Chapter 5
and in this lesson I have reexamined certain moral conceptions. Taking for granted is not
the method of those who are truly educated; it is the method of those who are parrot
taught.
As a single example of what I mean, the question is asked again and again of
astrologers why, if astrology is a real science, astronomers ignore it? The reason is
simple, but to the ordinary layman, who places scientific men in a compartment
where all such are supposed to know everything, this explanation is unconvincing. It
is as unconvincing as the similar fact that only an occasional scientist will really take
the pains to investigate psychic phenomena They are too busy with other pursuits,
and take for granted that the old opinion that all such things are rubbish is true.
Yet in regard to astrology we have indisputable evidence that this is the case through
the published statement of one of the foremost astronomers, and one who, through
innumerable magazine articles perhaps more than any other recent writer has given
astronomy popularity. Isabel M. Lewis, of the U. S. Naval Observatory, is not only a
capable astronomer but is especially conversant with the lives, ambitions and
leanings of astronomers. What she writes about them, therefore, rather than what she
writes about astrology with which she is not conversant, bears the earmark of
authority. Writing in NATURE MAGAZINE, April, 1931, under the caption
ASTRONOMY AND ASTROLOGY she says:
"The average man of today prides himself upon the fact that he lives in a scientific
age and that he keeps well informed upon current events. He reads of cosmic rays,
protons and electrons, the structure of the atom and the nature of light. He even takes
a keen interest in the theory of relativity and then maybe to offset it all, he glances
over the daily horoscope and gets interested in something discarded some three
centuries or more ago..."
"In spite of the fact that today astrology is absolutely discredited it is surprising to
know how many people are still unaware of this fact. This is evinced by the great
number of queries that astronomers are constantly receiving, individually, or as
members of staffs of observatories, on the subject of astrology and its relation to
astronomy. Some people want to know if there is anything to astrology. Others ask
for information regarding the astrological signs and how a horoscope is cast. If one
has been dabbling in astrology for himself and has some ideas of his own on the
subject he may decide he will read his own fate in the stars and cast his own
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horoscope. He then asks the astronomer for the information upon which he bases his
readings, the positions of the heavenly bodies upon a certain date.
"It is probably because of the fact that the astrologer must come to the astronomer
directly, or indirectly through official almanacs, for the positions of the stars and
planets on certain dates that confusion has arisen in the minds of many as to the
relation between astronomy and astrology. The astronomer may good-naturedly
furnish the astrologer with some facts regarding the heavenly bodies, but he is not
accountable for the use of such facts.
"As a government institution it is customary for the United States Naval Observatory
to furnish to individuals who ask for it, by mail or otherwise, information on
astronomical subjects provided too lengthy a calculation is not involved. People who
seek information on purely astrological subjects are told, however, that the Naval
Observatory does not furnish information of an astrological nature. It is doubtful,
indeed ,if any astronomer would know how to cast a horoscope or make astrological
predictions of any kind.
Certainly any astronomer worthy of the name would feel that
he had lost caste in his own profession if he should undertake to do so (Italics are
mine.)
I have taken the liberty to place in italics the sentence that explains why Mrs. Lewis
wrote the article in which she disparages the growing popularity of astrology; But the
real reason why the "average man of today is becoming more and more interested in
astrology is not because he is as dumb and thick-skulled as Mrs. Lewis supposes. It is
because through a wide variety of periodicals he has been brought into contact with
astrological delineations and predictions. Many of these are nothing but trash, and
are issued by those who have little knowledge of Standard Astrology and what can be
accomplished with it. But some of the periodicals and some of the articles in most of
the astrological magazines are the work of those with sound astrological knowledge.
Mr. "average man of today" places a great deal of dependence on what the scientists,
such as Mrs. Lewis, have to say. But when these pronouncements of science conflict
diametrically with his own personal experiences, he is apt, at least surreptitiously and
without the knowledge of his friends, to cling rather tenaciously to what he has found
to work in actual practice. And through his increasing contact with astrology he is
brought face to face with the fact that when the person giving it is skilled, that the
information gained by means of astrology is both useful and accurate.
He is inclined to believe, of course, that the astronomers, who are recognized to be,
and are, great scientists, must know all about any influence that the planets exert. He
is quite unaware of the complete ostracism from astronomical circles, and the
academic condemnation, any astronomer would incur who let it be known he took
the slightest interest in astrology. He does not realize that no astronomer who was
known to be friendly to astrology could hold his job. And it never occurs to him that,
"It is doubtful, indeed, if any astronomer would know how to cast a horoscope."
Furthermore, not knowing what natal astrology should not be expected to do, but led
to believe by a hostile press that if it is a valid science it should reveal that the birth
data submitted by a police woman is that of a non-existent person, he may be
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influenced by the ridicule and persecution of its enemies. But if he knew these things
much that now perplexes him would be clear. For even the "average man of today" is
not so lacking in wit that he places dependence in the utterances of people about
things that they have never investigated, favoring which would deprive them of their
livelihood, and the very first principles of which they admit they are in total
ignorance.
The cosmic alchemist, in the interests of spiritual education, encourages instructions
to enable the physical things necessary to health, length of life and usefulness to be
acquired, instructions that give as wide a grasp of information as possible,
instructions on reconditioning the thought-cells, instructions that cultivate original
thinking, and instructions on raising the dominant vibratory rate. These should be
included in the education of every child.