Serial Lesson 210
From Course XIX, Organic Alchemy, Chapter 2
Original Copyright 1944, Elbert Benjamine (a.k.a. C. C. Zain)
Copyright 2012, The Church of Light
Subheadings: Lesser Creatures Have Souls The Ego Problems Common to All Life Forms Man's Atavism The Morals of a Lilac The Ways of Chipmunks Life Differs Only in Degree One Universal Law for All
Birth Charts: Daniel Frohman Chart Samuel Harwick Chart
Every Life Form Manifests a Soul
TO EXPAND man’s conception of the universe has been accomplished with the utmost difficulty. It has even been accomplished at great peril to those audacious enough to question the accuracy of prevalent opinion. Galileo, Copernicus, and their followers had a rather rough time of it when they endeavored to induce people to abandon the idea that the earth was flat and the center of the universe.
That the earth is merely a revolving planet moving about the sun attacked man’s most cherished asset, his colossal egotism. It is this same colossal egotism which makes it impossible for a certain type of spirit medium to receive messages from just ordinary people who have passed to the next life. The messages, to satisfy the inflated ego, must come from some historically important individual, and with some mediums with delusions of grandeur, the sense of importance requires that the messages must come from no less than Jesus Christ, Himself.
Analytical psychology proves that man will relinquish the requirements of any other urge sooner than the urge of self-esteem. His egotism holds fast to the last. He clings tenaciously to the idea that the earth is the center about which cosmic life revolves, and that the physical plane is the one place where anything of value can be learned or expressed; because this makes him feel of consequence. He lives on the physical plane, and on the earth; therefore, to prevent a collapse of his sense of superiority, he likes to believe that this material planet is the one place of supreme importance in existence.
To tell him that astronomers now recognize a million other universes, that our universe embraces some two billion suns, and that our earth is a second-rate planet revolving about a second-rate sun may dazzle, but makes no deep impress upon him. This is hearsay evidence. What he actually sees and contacts is a portion of the surface of the earth, and these vaster conceptions, while interesting enough in a vague sort of way, have no concrete meaning in his life. He knows, from actual experience, something about a portion of the earth; and anything beyond this seems nebulous and unreal.
The radio, furthermore, illustrates how vibratory levels become real to those who are tuned in on such levels; and carefully conducted experiments in physical research by men of great accomplishment in other lines prove that life, thought and personality exists, not merely upon the low-velocity physical plane, but also upon many vibratory levels of the high-velocity inner planes. Chapter 1 (Serial Lesson 173) in Course XX, The Next Life, goes into the details of this, and the balance of Course XX, describes existence on some of these next-life levels. But the ordinary man finds it just as hard to think of any other place than the physical for life to function, as he does to comprehend how really insignificant the planet earth is in the astronomical scheme. His egotism, in spite of the evidence of other realms, insists because he lives here, that the physical plane must be tremendously important.
And so we find an orthodox conception in the Occident, and an orthodox conception in the Orient, both springing into existence from the narrow view of life that earth is the one place of tremendous importance in the general scheme of things. And because of the limited knowledge of Nature at the command of those propounding these conceptions, they are essentially static.
Everything we observe in Nature is in a state of change, even the dissolution of one body being but the prelude to its materials being used in some other body. All is moving forward from the less complex to the more complex. Yet those of the Far East who formulated the doctrine of Nirvana, and those of the Near East who propounded the doctrine of Heaven and Hell, conceived of things as soon reaching a point where they were stationary.
In either version, the earth is the place of tremendous significance. According to the orthodox Occident, one lives on earth according to the demands of convention and the Church and on passing to the next life exists eternally in a harp-playing heaven; or one transgresses the demands of convention and the Church and on passing to the next life blisters in hell, forever and forever.
According to the orthodox Orient, one lives on earth according to the demands of convention and the Church, and again returns to earth to enjoy wealth and position; or one transgresses the demands of convention and the Church, and again returns to earth, this time to undergo suffering. By and by, after enough births in human form, according to this conception, and enough living according to priestly dictates, one is liberated from the wheel of rebirth.
In such narrowed conceptions of existence there is no place where one sins, or where one can perform meritorious deeds, other than the earth. The physical plane is so important—egotism censors any less myopic view—that deeds of kindness or deeds of vileness are limited to it. We need a new Galileo, this time not to show us the true place of the earth in the firmament, but to demonstrate the insignificance of the whole material universe in comparison with the unlimited number of vibratory levels of the high-velocity realms, on each of which life can function, and on most of which it can function in a manner far superior to that possible in matter, where opportunities are hampered and curtailed by low velocity, which is the chief characteristic of that which is physical.
Such a new Galileo, however, would meet with just as much intolerance, and with just as vigorous efforts at suppression, as did the Galileo who in 1616 was haled before the tribunal of Rome and made to deny that the earth moves, and commanded: “That you should neither teach it to others, defend it, nor say anything concerning it; and that if you should not submit to this order, you should be put in jail.”
Today, even as in that time, there are two powerful groups of people who hold positions of special privilege because they are looked up to as the final authority in their particular domain. Many in both of these groups are willing to resort to almost any unfair practice to prevent people being presented with facts which, by proving those in these groups are in error in the doctrines they teach, would destroy their prestige and, in the long run, tend to deprive them of the financial, social and other special privileges which they enjoy.
One of these groups embraces certain academic individuals who pose before the world as the final and infallible authority on everything scientific. They realize that proof that there is an inner plane on which personality functions after the dissolution of the material body, or proof that there are inner-plane energies that affect human life and destiny such as those which astrology implies, destroys the materialistic scheme of the universe which they have so painstakingly constructed, and upon which all the doctrines they teach, as well as their own prestige, rest.
The other of these groups embraces certain leaders of the orthodox churches. By them, it has been held to be the exclusive province of church dignitaries to report on that which is not physical. As these dignitaries are ignorant of inner-plane energies which influence human life, they are unwilling to jeopardize their reputation for infallibility by admitting such energies exist as those emanating from the planets. Furthermore, they have taught that life is of a certain kind and amid conditions determined by adherence or non adherence to the code of their particular church. But extrasensory perception, while confirming their teaching that conscious life persists after physical death, fails to confirm the conditions of that life as taught for many hundreds of years by such church dignitaries. And the fact that almost anyone who takes the pains can develop enough extrasensory perception to learn first hand something, at least, of after-death conditions, attacks their Drive for Significance.
These two intolerant groups, whose position of supreme authority either in the field of science or in the field of religion, is attacked by the facts of astrology and the facts of extrasensory perception, have at the present time succeeded in getting laws passed in some communities not merely prohibiting the practice of astrology but, in spite of our vaunted freedom of speech, prohibiting the teaching of astrology.
Also, they have succeeded in some communities, in spite of our supposed freedom of worship, in getting laws passed prohibiting any demonstration that those who have passed from the physical still persist and can communicate with those yet in the flesh.
Not only do the two mentioned intolerant groups strive cunningly to maintain their prestige, but the desire of others to seem important denied to Mohammedan women the possession of souls. And in the slavery days of the United States it was debated from the pulpit whether or not Negroes had souls. His ego causes man to wish to be unique. Your good churchman, right now, will claim to have a soul, but will deny his horse or his cow has one. He thinks, because he is ignorant of biology, that he is different in kind from the animals about him; when in truth he differs only in degree.
It is true that he possesses a type of intelligence—self-consciousness—not possessed in any measure by other physical creatures. It is true that he is the most highly developed creature occupying material form on the earth. But the soul is not a matter of brain power, for the brain disintegrates at death. The soul is the sum total of intelligence which resides in the finer bodies; that which is known to modern psychology as the unconscious mind.
Lesser Creatures Have Souls
All life forms possess an unconscious mind. The unconscious mind, or soul, directs all the activities and life processes not consciously determined by reason. And even where man is concerned, only a minute number of his total activities are determined by reason. Reason, however, does not comprise the soul, character, or unconscious mind. Reason is merely one type of intelligence displayed by the soul when it has reached a stage of development where it is able to build about it, and function through, the form of man. Souls lower in the scale of evolution display less developed forms of intelligence; but intelligence, nevertheless.
And such an intelligence, no matter what the level of its expression, is derived from the experiences of an entity. This entity, whether of the astral plane solely, or occupying and functioning through a physical form, because it expresses intelligence, is a soul. In fact, the sum total of the experiences it has had, which are retained as states of consciousness within its finer forms, not only constitutes the source of whatever intelligence it expresses, but constitutes its soul.
It will be a great shock to the colossal egotism of some to learn that even an amoeba has a soul. If it did not have a soul it could not move over, ingest and assimilate the bacteria which are its prey. I am not suggesting that the soul of an amoeba is as important as the soul of a man. But I am pointing out that biologically, psychologically, and as watched by clairvoyant vision, the difference is that of complexity and degree of development, rather than of kind.
Where intelligence finds expression, there you may find a soul; for intelligence is the manifestation of those states of consciousness which, whether numerous or few, nevertheless, constitute a soul.
Furthermore, once radiated from the Divine Mind, the scintillating sparks of potentiality, numerous as photons of light, which collect experiences and thus develop souls, never come to rest, never are blotted out, never cease their endeavors. Such a potentiality, that ever moves on collecting experiences, we term the ego.
Back of even the lowly soul of a single-celled amoeba is an ego. Back of the soul of every living cell in your body is a spark of Divinity, an ego. And these egos, like your own, are collecting experiences. They are moving forward in their own development paths, as you are moving in yours. They use your body for certain experiences they need, as you use their bodies to help you gain the experiences you need. But except for this temporary association of mutual advantage, you are independent of them and they of you.
I am not trying to convey the idea that souls are the same; for as a matter of fact, two souls not having had just the same experiences, cannot be just alike. Because the states of consciousness which constitute souls have been derived from widely diversified experiences, the souls themselves are widely different. The soul of an amoeba is a very simple one compared to the soul of a man. Yet they possess much in common: They express some degree of intelligence. This intelligence, which even on earth really resides in the astral counterpart, continues to live in the astral form after the dissolution of the physical. And whether on the physical or in the astral, the impulse of the Divine Mind which we call the ego continues to impel the soul to struggle for new experiences and greater perfection.
When man deflates himself enough to recognize that every life form is an expression of intelligence, and that this intelligence implies a soul, which like his own may ultimately arrive at a state where it is immortal, he will have taken a long step in his mental liberation from conceptions forced upon the race by those completely ignorant of biology. After which, to complete his enfranchisement, he needs to realize, what accumulating evidence proves, that the physical realm is the bottom, and except as a starting point the least important region, of a universe which extends, inner-plane level upon inner-plane level even higher than the gaze of seer has seen.
When he has thus freed himself from traditional authority—a traditional authority which came into existence among those who believed the earth to be flat and the center of the universe, and who knew nothing of the processes of life within the human body, and looked upon other forms of life than man as insensate—let him look about him with the eyes of one interested in other than human creatures.
Problems Common to All Life Forms
He will find that their lives differ in degree, but not in kind, from his own. He will find the same variations in prosperity, the same variations in suffering, the same struggles, obstacles, problems, and vicissitudes which cause men’s lives to differ one from another, in almost every species of plant and animal with which he becomes familiar.
Every species or individual of life upon the earth has its problems and its difficulties. The problem of securing adequate nourishment, of securing protection from enemies and protection from the inclemencies of the environment, the problem of finding a suitable mate, or suitable conditions for the propagation of the species, the problem of providing for the needs of the offspring, and all the other vital problems are shared alike by man, by beast, by insect, and by plant, and by every one of the multitudinous species of these. The problems which the various forms of life upon the earth must face vary in their details, but in their essentials they are the same for all. Man is not some vastly different creature.
Consider the microscopic diatoms, for instance, which in Chapter 1 (Serial Lesson 209) I mentioned as the source of the oil deposits in California. They are single-celled vegetables, floating on the water. But the food supply where one of them may live, due to salt water currents and the impouring of a river, may be vastly superior to the food supply where another one floats about. One diatom spends its life surrounded by wealth, and another is so poverty stricken that it dies from malnourishment long before the common span of diatomic life has been encompassed.
Chemical elements in the water, and other environmental circumstances, may hasten, may retard, or even prevent, the propagation of its race. One diatom is successful, due to favorable conditions about it, in perpetuating its kind; while another diatom, differently situated, is compelled to be sterile. In its family relations one of these minute vegetables is a marked success and another is a dismal failure; and between these two extremes are other individual diatoms who have various degrees of success and various degrees of failure, where family life is concerned.
Diatoms, like other plants and like animals, may be healthy or may suffer illness. One may be robust and strong, and another sickly and weak. The names for the various types of illness may not number so many as in the human race, but there is similar latitude in the gradation of their complaints.
One diatom, through no effort of his own, lives to a hearty old age. His neighbor diatom, who seems to be quite as moral in his conduct, at least insofar as the present life is concerned, is gulped down by a minute passing crustacean. These diatoms form the basic food supply of the fishes in the sea, tiny fish eating the minute crustaceans which feed upon the diatoms, and larger fish preying upon the tiny ones.
Soon after birth some diatoms meet a tragic end, others live to middle life, and still others are devoured in old age. Yet, as the oil supply suggests, myriads of them here in California met no tragic end; and in the past of Virginia untold other millions died a natural death, as attested by the fact that the city of Richmond is built upon a fossiliferous bed of them which measures some twenty to eighty feet in depth and several miles in length.
Fish also are known to die of starvation. The waters where some abound have an abundant supply of smaller fry upon which they feed. But in other localities such smaller fry become exterminated through the over demand for them, or through many other causes. Some fish spend their lives amid abundance, some alternately are rich and poor, and others eke out a poverty-stricken existence for a time and then die of starvation.
Watch the salmon at spawning time, or any other species of fish, and you will soon become convinced that some meet the problem of perpetuating the race successfully and that others do not. Of the hordes of salmon which fight their way upstream toward the gravelly shallows in the high mountains where they lay their eggs, and where the male must fertilize them, only a portion reach their destination. And of these, the eggs of one may be fertilized and nearly all bring forth young, while the eggs of another, except perhaps half a dozen, are devoured by hungry trout before they have opportunity to hatch. Some fish are successful in family life, and others are a failure.
Some fish live in good health and some suffer prolonged illness. Any angler will tell you of catching fish covered with sores, of fish that evidently were unhealthy, of those the prey of parasites. Were these ills the result of moral transgressions?
And the large trout that lives in the deep hole, where the shadow of the overhanging ledge falls, and year after year has refused to take the angler’s fly! Why has he so long outlived his tragic-fated brethren? Fish seem to continue growing as long as they live. But some come to an untimely end as food for the larger fishes, and others reach the frying pan before their prime, due to a vestigial trait of present-day man.
For thousands of years, in order to survive, man strove for skill in fishing and in the chase. In a bygone day he either caught fish and killed game or went without food. And it was thus quite natural that he should develop a delight in the capture of that which kept him alive.
In a day still further gone, migratory birds took circuitous routes south to avoid mountains, and in other parts of their semiannual journey followed the courses of streams. These ancient mountains have long since been worn to level plains, and these ancient water courses have long since dried up. But, although the need no longer exists, so strong is the force of a habit which has become instinctive, that present-day birds follow, greatly to their detriment, the path from north to south and from south to north that their ancestors did. They continue to dodge mountain ranges and to follow streams that have an existence only in their racial memory.
And the man now, who finds delight in fishing, in hunting, or in killing anything, is just as surely getting his pleasure through the exercises of tastes which no longer necessary, are an inheritance from savage ancestors. To delight in the suffering of any living thing is foreign to the tastes of true civilization. It is an atavistic trait, an instinct which throws back to stark savagery. And he who indulges it, even though his relation to his human associates seems kind and gentle, in this respect is expressing the bestiality of the tiger.
Birds sometimes die of starvation; although when food becomes so scarce that they are greatly weakened, and unable to preserve their usual alertness, they usually fall prey to other creatures before this slower process can bring about their demise. Some birds, due to the locality in which they live, even though they keep alive, must labor early and late for a mere subsistence. Yet in my back yard I keep a bird table, where other birds of the same species feed to repletion without effort, every day. That is, in the material things of life, some birds are poverty stricken and others are prosperous.
Most birds are successful in finding mates, but some fail in this and, perforce, must go through the breeding season without the joys of connubial association.
One year, two pairs of jays nested in my back yard. One pair nested in an arbor vitae and the other pair in a pepper tree. A prowling cat found and devoured all the young from the nest in the arbor vitae, and a few mornings later I found the feathers where this cat, or some other, had also killed one of the parent birds.
The pair which nested in the pepper tree raised three lusty youngsters; and became a great nuisance with their early morning ranting at stray cats, and the bawling out they customarily gave any human whom they spied. They fought other birds from the feeding table, and stuffed their babies with food. And ultimately, as the season advanced, the whole five flew away to some spot less adjacent to suspicious acting humans; much to the relief of the towhees, linnets and mocking birds.
In my wanderings through woods and field I have picked up birds which have died of disease, and in the marshes of Playa del Rey one can any day find sickly shore birds, which droop, and are not permitted to associate with others of their kind.
That some birds meet tragic ends early, and some at an advanced age, and that some do not, needs no illustration. But birds also, as well as many species of mammals, are sometimes subject to the persecution of their kind. I have witnessed, for instance, a willet which had a slight injury to its wing, try to join a flock of its fellows. But because it acted slightly different from them, they set upon it with wing and beak and mauled it almost into insensibility. In fact, among most gregarious birds it fares ill with any individual who departs markedly from the conventional standard of conduct.
The Morals of a Lilac
One summer I spent my vacation in Lassen Volcanic National Park. During the days I wandered about the volcano, and at night slept on the ground amid the friendly yellow pines. I wanted no tent over me, because I wished to awaken at times and look up at the white stars and feel their nearness to me.
A little creek flowed down from the mountain past the spot where I camped. The underbrush on both sides of this little creek was chiefly a species of ceanothus, commonly called wild lilac. To the north of the creek this ceanothus was healthy and strong, and the little capsules containing the seeds were filled to plumpness. But, except for here and there a shrub which miraculously had escaped, the bushes to the south of the creek had almost completely been defoliated by a black caterpillar. Among acres and acres of it, hardly a dozen shrubs could be seen which had not been devastated. Whether these shrubs whose leaves had all provided forage for hungry caterpillars would die I do not know; but I do know, from investigation, that they were able to produce no seeds that year.
As I walked amid these wand-like branches bare of leaves, I speculated on why these should have been punished, and their brethren to the north of the little creek permitted to flourish. And I thought how like the time of Pharaoh, when he thwarted Moses and was visited by a plague of locusts; only I could not imagine just how the shrubs to the north of the creek had come into God’s favor and how those to the south had gained his displeasure. But for that matter, after reading their history I never could perceive either, why God should have been so partial to the bloodthirsty Jews.
And I thought also of the dozen righteous bushes, still standing with full foliage of green-varnished leaves, amid the multitude of those in desolation. What had this dozen done, that they, of all the thousands of their fellows to the south of the little creek, should have been saved? I couldn’t help thinking of the 144,000 who, according to Revelation and certain men of gospel knowledge, are to be saved, while the rest of us must perish. I couldn’t see, from my shortsighted station of human life, that they had lived in greater righteousness than their fellows. Perhaps, however, they had lived exemplary lives in a previous incarnation. But whatever the explanation, luck was certainly with them.
Butterflies, reddish above with black markings, and like black velvet beneath, were everywhere. They had fed as caterpillars on the ceanothus leaves; had passed through the chrysalis stage, and now were migrating from the brush patch up the side of the mountain. There were countless thousands of them, and as I watched, a western chipping sparrow dropped from a low branch of a pine, captured one, daintily plucked off its wings and legs, and carried it off, no doubt to feed its young in a nest nearby.
But what sin had this particular butterfly committed, either in this life or in a past one, to merit having its limbs plucked from its body so ruthlessly? Why, of the countless thousands in sight, was it singled out to suffer such a terrible death?
Pondering this, I returned to the healthy shrubs to the north of the little stream, to observe their life more closely. And as I moved among them I found that some grew on loose and fertile ground, in a soil rich and nourishing; while in other spots the ground gave way to rock, and the little shrubs growing here had a terrific struggle against that universal foe of life, poverty.
Next day I climbed the mountain. And as I ascended, the vegetation grew smaller, hugging the ground. Up here, a great part of the year there were icy blasts of a ferocity to tear from its moorings any tree or shrub which dared to rear its head from the mountain slope. And for nine months, or more, a blanket of snow, yards in depth, bore down upon every growing thing. And I wondered why those struggling forms of life must put up with almost unendurable hardships, while members of the same species two thousand feet below live a life of comparative ease and luxury. And I compared them, in the meagerness of their advantages and the bleakness of their surroundings, to some of the fisher folk of New Foundland.
And right at the edge of the timberline I found a hemlock of greater size than his fellows. His trunk, hugging the ground to keep from being swept away, was some eight inches in diameter. At no point was any branch or twig more than three feet from the sloping ground. A rough estimate, judged by counting the rings of a smaller one lower down, where it had been cut by those who built the trail, placed its age at around a hundred years.
Down below, at the mountain’s base, I could see its fellow hemlocks standing straight and proud, each protected by the others, and all a thriving prosperous colony, the finest hemlock forest in the United States, according to John Muir. But this fellow was a pioneer. Not only had he taken root higher than any of his compatriots, but he had held on for perhaps a hundred years. He had battled with the poverty of the soil. Valiantly he had resisted terrific winds. The long imprisonment by snow had not broken his spirit.
On almost every mountain high enough, such pioneers will be found. But in addition to these tremendous afflictions, time and again he had been scorched by the blasts of the volcano in eruption. He held fast on a patch of southern slope which in recent years had not been a crater and had not been blanketed with erupted material. Just around the corner to the left, so recently that no trees, but only shrubs have as yet taken root there, the west side of the mountain had been inundated by molten lava. And just around the corner to the right, in 1915, the whole east side of the mountain blew out, and the hot blast devastated a wide area, leaving acres of charred brush and trees along the edge of its complete destruction.
But this pioneer hemlock had persisted through this and other eruptions. Suffering greatly, it had escaped a killing heat. And I wondered why it should have been compelled to pass through travail such as other trees know nothing of.
And around that corner to the right, where hot blasts were followed by the mud formed by powdered rock mixing with almost instantly melting snow, there is a completely devastated area, some miles long and a few hundred yards to a mile in width, in which every living thing perished. Trees three feet in diameter were broken off like matches, or uprooted, and the country scoured as by a mighty sand blast.
When thousands of other trees perished, what karma, or what favoritism of Jehovah, prevented this hemlock, whose tribulations were far in excess of those experienced by Job, from passing to the next life?
Still pondering this, my inspection of the mountain’s top completed I descended through the hemlocks to a lower elevation where dwell the lodgepole pines. And I observed that most of these were healthy, but that here and there one had become sickly, through an attack of borers. What sin, in this life or some other, had these borer-infested pines committed to deserve such punishment?
The Ways of Chipmunks
Back at camp, I sat upon a log eating my evening meal. And at this particular spot, Manzanita Camp, there is an unusual abundance both of the little striped chipmunks and the larger golden-mantled ground squirrels. As many as seven or eight at a time, as a result of a few days’ feeding, scampered about, expecting their customary bits of bread. The few days I had been there had permitted me to make good friends of all these little chaps. No longer were they afraid.
There was one golden-mantled ground squirrel, I always recognized him because of his potbelly, I called my alderman. But he might better have represented a mayor, for he bossed the whole lot. When he wanted a certain bit of bread, no one disputed his right. When he came along, all the others stepped to one side. Plainly, he was the kingpin of the rodent community.
Then there was another of almost equal size, but lacking the potbelly, who gave obeisance to the alderman, but who chased any of the others away from a coveted bit of food. I called him the lieutenant. Then there were other ground squirrels, sometimes more and sometimes fewer being present, but each well understanding he could boss some and had to be bossed by others.
Any chipmunk had to yield way to any ground squirrel, because the ground squirrels were almost twice as large. But one chipmunk was the major domo among them. He made the other chipmunks stand to one side, while they in turn drove weaker chipmunks from their path. And finally, there was a little mangy runt of a chipmunk that everyone picked on and browbeat. The only way he could retain a mouthful of food, even when I threw it directly beneath his nose, was to grab and flee for his life; for there was sure to be some larger fellow trying to make him drop it.
If you have ever been in a mining camp, a logging camp, or associated with a construction crew, you will recognize the type. There is always some poor devil, lacking in wit or backbone, who becomes the butt of all jokes, who is picked on by every bully, and who furnishes boisterous amusement for the others. His inferiority gives them, who resent being ordered about by their superiors, a certain feeling of compensation. Their self-esteem is somewhat raised by being able to compare themselves with this poor fellow.
And the big potbellied ground squirrel is another type we have with us in human form. Not only did he collect all the food he could eat, but after he was full he would drive the others off, to the extent he could, and gather up more, and hoard it away in a secret retreat. It is not likely that bread, due to its perishable nature when dampened, would keep even if stored in a better place than the hole he dug amid the pine needles. But, irrespective of its value to him, he was bound and determined that as little of it as possible should come into the possession of chipmunks and other ground squirrels.
In 1929 the world entered a period of great economic depression, brought about by humans who had the same conception of life as did this potbellied ground squirrel. Not content to accumulate what they can make use of, such people try their utmost to monopolize as much wealth as possible. They grab it and store it away. Such surplus is of no value to them, but it does deprive the other people of the world of that which is necessary for them to live. And the same spirit of greed which I observed in this big ground squirrel has been the cause of other depressions, and of many other human calamities.
Watching these chipmunks and these ground squirrels, and their attitude toward each other, the stronger always oppressing the weaker, gave me much to think about in reference to humanity.
That I recount, even in brief outline rather than in detail, my observations of Nature during one day, may seem strange to those anxious to gain occult knowledge. But I must impress upon you that no one can get any correct knowledge of occultism in its application to life, who so narrows his mind as to shut out the rest of Nature.
You cannot become a naturalist, which means one who studies Nature, without becoming convinced that man is simply a somewhat more complex expression of the same intelligence to be observed in plants and birds and mammals. To understand occult law, and at the same time to place mankind in some special airtight compartment, is as impossible as it is to understand the nature of heat without some knowledge of chemistry. The same things, due allowance being made for degree, happen to plants, to animals, and to man. And the same occult laws, due allowance being made for degree, are applicable to plants, to animals, and to man.
Life Differs Only in Degree
If you continue to believe that God took up a handful of clay and breathed the breath of life into it, and thus man was a special creation, you are wasting your energy in trying to comprehend occultism. But if you perceive that all life has a basic similarity, that it does not remain just as it now is, but is moving forward to greater and greater perfection, you have a sound foundation for spiritual studies.
With such a conception of things you cannot set man off from the rest of Nature. To any naturalist he is just a higher animal. But every type of animal has capacities that other animals do not have. And man possesses self-consciousness as his distinguishing trait.
Yet man is similar to all other physical organisms on earth in that they all have the same fundamental problems to meet: the problem of resisting illness and external foes, the problem of providing protection from the inclemencies of the environment, the problem of making a living, the problem of a successful family life, etc. Why, then, should we presume that man’s success or failure to solve any one or all of these problems common to other life forms on earth, is due to any other causes than those that determine the success or failure of these other kindred creatures to meet the same kind of problems?
The same kind of reasoning that denied the Mohammedan women any place in paradise, which in slavery days denied the black man a soul, and which causes men of one nation to consider men of another nation atrocious criminals when they do the things that their own nation sanctions, may draw the conclusion that creatures other than men do not suffer as he does.
No one who has entered into rapport with a robin or a meadowlark singing in the spring can deny that birds, for instance, feel joys and experience raptures keener than those that come to most men. No one who has felt with a mother quail, as she trailed her wing along the ground and feigned to be mortally wounded, while her young sought the cover of some leaf or clump of grass, will claim that the feeling of anxiety is alone the attribute of man. And the dog which starves on his master’s grave, as a token of mourning for his loss, is the very exemplification of sorrow.
Birds and beasts, insects and fishes, fight to the death in the attempt to win and hold a mate. Are we to think, because they are not human, that those terrific combats are meaningless to them? Are we to believe that the failure to gain the object loved is less important to them than it is to some man who every two or three years sends a different wife to Reno to make legal their separation?
As for loyalty, either to mate or to young, the examples that can be taken from the lives of creatures other than man are so numerous that whole volumes might be filled with interesting accounts of them. It is the rule, rather than the exception, that the mother shall defend her young against great odds, that the male shall defend the female, and that the members of the gregarious species shall protect the common life and interests. Give a hornet’s nest a poke, or try to invade the home of a swarm of bees, and of this you will immediately suffer conviction.
Many male birds bring the female food during the period the eggs are incubating. And many mammals, such as the kit fox of our California deserts, bring food to the mother while the young are helpless and she must nurse them. Such a fox, though gaunt with hunger, will carry the game he has caught, for miles to place it at the foot of the nursing mother.
Certain scorpion mothers, to provide a sure supply of food for the young, permit them to cling to her and suck the juices from her body. The young actually, though slowly, devour her, and in her devotion to their welfare she encourages this cannibalistic practice.
But why go on with other illustrations? To watch the creatures about us is to become convinced, not only that they feel the same basic emotions—anger, fear, joy, hope, and sorrow—that are common to the human race, but that they also live as rigidly close to the code of morals adopted by their race as does man.
The various types of men each have their own code of morals. The morals of a Hottentot, those of a Chinese farmer, those of a Negrito headhunter, those of an Eskimo, those of a native of Bengal, and those of a Caucasian of the Manhattan area of New York, vary as widely as the code of morals do which is observed among animals lower in the scale of life than man.
Those morals, while the priests may have led their followers to believe they were handed down from above, are mostly erected by the needs of a particular people, but given a twist by the most powerful among them, so that these would in some manner receive certain advantages and otherwise be unduly favored. They take their roots in survival needs. How much truth they contain depends upon the enlightenment of the people, and their freedom from powerful individuals who warp that truth to give them a selfish advantage.
And the morals of lesser creatures are likewise based upon survival needs. They may, or may not, be successful in providing for the survival of the race; but they sprang into existence in this attempt. Just so, the morals of certain people, based upon false assumptions, often hinder, rather than aid, survival. But the aim is to benefit the race.
As to suffering, if you will observe the frantic efforts of any creature to live, you cannot doubt that it suffers. I grant that a sensitive nervous system, such as man possesses, may bring to the mind more acute reports of pain than the blunt perceptions of many lower creatures will permit. Yet one who can enter into sympathetic rapport with one of the red-blooded animals, especially a bird or a mammal when it is being killed, or while it is in terror, or is being mistreated, or while it is ill, can have no illusions that man suffers supremely more than they.
And even where plants and more simply organized animals are concerned, the difference in suffering is that of degree and not that of kind. Other creatures suffer physical pain and experience mental anguish. They have joys and sorrows, hopes and fears, successes and failures. Man is like them, except he is at the top of the scale of complexity.
If, therefore, we believe that the sufferings of man are due to punishment by Jehovah for transgressions of moral laws, we must believe also that the sufferings of plants and animals must be due to their transgressions of their moral laws, and the offense they have thus given Jehovah. And if we are to believe the successes and joys of this life which man experiences are due to his conformity in a past life to whatever moral code his tribe holds, we must believe that the plants and animals which have success and joy in this life have lived in conformity to a plant or animal code of some kind in a past life. If we believe the suffering of man in this life is due to sins in a previous life, then we must believe that the suffering of animals and plants in this life is due to their transgressions in a previous life.
One Universal Law for All
What I insist on as a naturalist, as a seer, and as a student of all things occult, is that man is not set apart from other living things, but that all forms of life come under one uniform and universal law.
Daniel Frohman Chart
August 22, 1851, 2:00 a.m. 82:45W. 41:27N
Data from him personally.
1880, business manager Madison Square Theatre: Jupiter trine Mars r and Moon r long time aspect, Venus square Mars r.
1885, leased Old Lyceum Theatre in N. Y. and for years maintained here a “stock” company of great excellence: Jupiter trine Moon r, Mercury square Mars r and conjunction Mercury r.
1902, last performance in Old Lyceum: Mars semisextile Mars r.
1903, opened New Lyceum Theatre, near Broadway: Sun conjunction Jupiter r.
1915, brother drowned on Lusitania: Mars square Saturn r.
1915, appointed joint-manager Charles Frohman, Inc.: Venus trine Neptune r.
1933, produced “Yoshe Kalb” at the National, N. Y.: Sun semisextile Jupiter r.
Samuel Harwick Chart
June 2, 1883, 1:00 p.m. LMT. 28:40E. 47:10N.
Data from him personally.
1905, mechanical engineer: Sun sextile Mars r.
1912, taught mechanical drawing and mathematics: Mercury conjunction Venus p, Venus semisquare Mars r.
1917, Sept., Capt. Engineers U.S. Army: Sun conjunction Jupiter p.
1924, built various Fox West Coast theatres: Sun sextile Uranus p, sextile Neptune p.
1926, built post offices and theatres: Mars semisextile Moon r.
1933, Dist. Engineer Bldg. Dept. L. A. Co.: Sun sextile Pluto r.
1941, Dec., U.S. war construction: Sun sextile Saturn p.