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Source: Universal Brotherhood Path
Source type: magazine
Document type: article
Document title: “Anarchy: A Living Question”
Author(s): D., G.
Date of publication: November 1901
Volume number: 16
Issue number: 8
Pagination: 421-28

 
Citation
D., G. “Anarchy: A Living Question.” Universal Brotherhood Path Nov. 1901 v16n8: pp. 421-28.
 
Transcription
full text
 
Keywords
anarchism (religious response); anarchism (religious interpretation); McKinley assassination (religious response); religion.
 
Named persons
Helena P. Blavatsky; William Q. Judge; William McKinley; Katherine Tingley.
 
Document

 

Anarchy: A Living Question

     THE subject that has most deeply affected the public mind during the past month is, of course, the assassination of our late President. We find ourselves compelled to pause and think. What does it indicate as to the past? What does it signify as to the future? We are face to face with a great problem.
     Time was when many would have felt the assassination to be in some measure atoned by the death of the assassin. No one feels so today. His trial, conviction and all that have followed during the current month are disagreeable contingencies which do not in any degree solve the real problem, but in fact, make it harder to solve. In spite of current talk of changed legislation with regard to anarchy, more stringent laws as to immigration, treason, etc., deep, deep beneath all this chatter there is in the national heart a conviction that these man-made laws will avail little, that we must begin to understand and follow the Higher Law. There is a growing conviction that all this calamity is “God’s will” and that any remedy which leaves out of the question the Higher Law or God, will be no remedy at all.
     What is the meaning of this expression, “It is God’s will”? Not at all what it meant a hundred or even twenty-five years ago. For we have to thank the Dark Ages for a degrading ideal of God,—an arbitrary being who dwells outside of the Universe, ruling it in an arbitrary way, yet who may, by prayers, be induced to confer certain penalties or benefits. [421][422]
     Today there has sprung up in the hearts of many an unshakable trust in Law as the basis of all the processes of nature and of life. With it we find a higher conception of God, the Causeless Cause of all that is, informing and permeating all things, stone and atom as well as man, the One Life of which all nature is but the garment and expression.
     In the words of the Bhagavad-Gita: “Understand that all things are in me even as the mighty air which passes everywhere is in space. . . . . . I am the father and mother of this Universe, the grandsire and the preserver. I am the goal, the comforter, the Lord, the Witness, the resting place, the asylum and the Friend. I am the origin and the dissolution, the receptacle, the store-house and the eternal seed. . . . . . I am the cause unseen and the visible effect.”
     One who builds on a true conception of God is certain to think, certain to look below the plane of effects to that of causes. And there is every sign that throughout the nation there is coming to birth a deeper trust in God, a more abiding refuge in the Great Law of cause and effect. That is the assurance that this problem of anarchy, which has faced every nation of the Old World and so far has not been solved by any of them, this problem of which we are reminded by the recent assassination, will probably be solved by us.
     The fact is, the entire current of the world’s thought has been changed. And if we will examine the various theories and doctrines that have been given to the world during the last fifty years, it will be plain that we owe this to H. P. Blavatsky. She was the first messenger in this cycle of a true philosophy of life, a truer and diviner conception of God, a conception of the Higher Law as the basis and the dispenser of all that is.
     When she came she found humanity apathetic, unlighted. She brought it a philosophy of hope and of inspiration which has come to so permeate our mental atmosphere that many who may never have heard of her or of Theosophy as a specific doctrine, have felt a new light enter their lives and have found a fresh courage to go on and fight the battle out along higher lines. This is true because H. P. Blavatsky spoke to the soul of humanity and soul is one. Because she brought to us higher ideals of life and conduct and then proved them practical and true by a philosophy which is unassailable. She did what no other World Teacher has been able to do in centuries, she builded a bridge between the actual and the ideal, and over that bridge all humanity is one day destined to pass.
     And that is why, with regard to the many problems that confront us, we are more honest than in the past. We used to think that, whether we did our share or not, evolution, somehow, would go on just the same. Today we realize that we are not separate from humanity or from the world and that we cannot pass into a higher grade or evolutionary state until we have solved the problems and passed all the examinations that pertain to this one. Our souls realize this even though our brains may not and that is why there is something within us that compels us to think and think and think over this prob- [422][423] lem of anarchy. How shall we reach the hearts of the lawless, the jealous, the discontented? How shall we teach them that law cannot be abolished, that this is a law-governed universe with chaos as the only alternative, and that it is only by the help of the wise Law that the soul is able to lift the self to higher planes. How shall we teach them that all men are brothers, because all come from the same Absolute Source? How shall we lead them to understand that all the pain and disappointment of their own lives is but the result of past deeds, if not in this life then in another, that God is not mocked and that whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap. How shall we transform an element which today would destroy our civilization into an element that would desire to be a help to it and a part of it?
     What is anarchy? The two Greek words of which it is composed mean “without a Leader.” To us it signifies a total absence of government, total lawlessness. Those who believe in the Divine Order of things, who believe that the Universe and all that is sprang from the very bosom of the Infinite Law, realize what complete chaos would exist under a reign of anarchy. Imagine for a moment that the Solar system should abandon all law and whirl into anarchy. What would become of us? Suppose the seasons of the year should break the laws which govern them and vouchsafe to us a spring six months long and no harvest time at all, for two or three years? The people of the earth would starve. Suppose the law of gravity should become inoperative. Yet the same laws operate in the world of mind and soul, unseen, yet swifter, more far-reaching in action, more terrible in the penalties that befall those who break them. It is inconceivable that there are those who would sweep them aside. Yet there are such.
     But the beauty of it is that the Great Law is stronger than the caprices of any person or collection of persons. Its march cannot be stayed. Such a thing as anarchy is a simply impossibility. Yet, while it is true that a state of anarchy simply could not exist, we have had in our western states, at times, conditions that approached it. In California, during the rush which followed the “gold fever” in ’49, hundreds of mining camps sprung up in isolated districts in a very short time. At first, in some of these, there was a condition bordering on anarchy,—no Leader, no head, no government, each man for himself. But this did not last. Disease, crime and horror soon taught these men a sharp lesson. In no long time, invariably, the Leader appeared and organized his followers in the interests of law and order. Though the earliest of such organizations was not on a particularly high plane, though they were agents of much that was unjust and unwise—the very fact that these “Vigilance Committees” recognized the function and office of Leader, indicates that they were the first step toward good government. It also indicates that even reckless men prefer a Leader and a Law—though the Leader may be untrustworthy and the Law fallible,—to anarchy.
     The anarchists have very much to say of freedom. Yet their ideal of freedom differs greatly from the Theosophical ideal. And to understand the lat- [423][424] ter one must go back to the soul, the source of all. For the soul is the fundamental proposition. The ancient Wisdom Religion, today known as Theosophy, is the eternal, primeval Doctrine of the Soul. For the World-Saviors have always taught that the soul is the real man, and the brain and body are but the garment he wears, the instrument he uses. Just as the sunbeam is of one light and substance with the Sun, its parent, so the Soul is of the essence of God, the Absolute Source of all that is and ever will be. Thus, born of God as the sunbeam is born of the Sun, the soul descends into earth life and clothes itself with matter, that is, with the bodies it builds and uses. And the purpose of the soul in thus permeating and informing matter, has ever been to lift and spiritualize and purify matter, to lift it into a freedom as absolute as that of the soul itself. “Compassion is the Law of Laws, Alaya’s Self,” and this gives us the key to the process.
     Freedom is the Soul’s heritage, and the acts of the Soul are followed by no penalties, only by rewards. But our lower tendencies concern themselves mainly with self-indulgence. The elemental self never goes out in compassion, but, unless the soul prevents, it turns continually in on itself, a suicidal method. The very fact that the lower nature, if allowed to act unguided by the Soul, brings upon itself penalty after penalty is proof that it is not working with the Higher Law, but against it.
     Thus the Soul’s task is not easy and no doubt the elemental self often believes itself to be under a hard task-master. For the pricking of conscience which is the voice of the Soul often prevents a man from following the bent of his desires or appetites. Yet if he obeys the Soul’s still voice, is he less free or more so? Has he not by that very yielding to the Higher Law made a step upwards toward true freedom? For freedom is not a state wherein one may break all laws with impunity but a state in which the man works in such perfect harmony with the Great Law that he becomes verily one with it.
     Most of us do not find our freedom interfered with by the law against stealing. Yet the criminal does. And yet the laws upon our statute books are very fallible, at best but an outward and inadequate expression of the Higher Law. For the Higher Law is that of the Soul, unseen in workings but swift and sure in results, needing no detectives, no police, no executioners, for, as has been said, it contains within itself its own executioner.
     It seems strange that there are those who cannot distinguish between true freedom, perfect harmony with the Soul, and a licensing of appetite and desire. But there are such, a fact which can only be explained because man’s nature is dual. Within each heart is the angel and the demon, one seeking to lift man into true freedom, the other seeking ever to pull him down into the slavery of appetite or some selfish desire. If the man centers his consciousness in the lower, the process of being brought into harmony with the Soul is certain to be very uncomfortable and even terrible. It may be that the lower nature will utterly rebel and then the man will sink back into darkness and the Soul will leave him to his own devices. For this the Teacher must always do when his [424][425] pupil refuses to learn, and the Soul is the Teacher of the personality.
     But the wise man will lift his consciousness to the plane of soul, will endeavor, in spite of continual failure, to keep it always at its highest point and will be thankful that the Great Law has hedged his lower nature around with laws and penalties. For without these helps the soul could never lift it.
     We do not need fewer laws, we need more. We need to know more and not less of the Higher Law. We need to discover new phases, new applications of it as diligently as may be. Then, if we have the will and the perseverance to bring the lower nature into harmony with it, we shall be free, gods actually, creators. That is the theosophical ideal of freedom.
     It is not strange that anarchists have a perverted idea of freedom. “God! I don’t believe in God,” are the words of one of their exponents. “The first thing anarchists have to do is to destroy every altar, extinguish every religion and tear God from the heavens.” This then, is the basis upon which they build, a basis of nothing at all, of denial.
     It is not strange that they advocate the extermination of rulers, the very doctrine which incited the assassin to commit this crime. Yet these who taught him shrink away from him and say: “He is not one of us. He does not distinguish between violent anarchy and philosophical anarchy. Certainly we teach these doctrines, but only theoretically.”
     Do we need anything more to enable us to place doctrines of this stamp where they belong,—in the realm of confusion and of the shades. This age has no use for anything that is merely theoretical. It demands that theories be proven, be made practical or abandoned. And there is something grimly humorous in the spectacle of a group of people endeavoring to gain our respect for their doctrines on the plea that they are merely theoretical!
     Today, those who believe in theosophy and the theosophical movement are prouder of nothing than that every principle of this wisdom religion is practical and that the Universal Brotherhood stands before the world today as a practical organization and not a collection of dreamers.
     Another truth is brought to our minds forcibly at this time by the statements of the assassin and his associates: “Why should we grieve at the death of the President? His death is of no more consequence than that of a common laborer.”
     We are shocked at this expression because our souls remember, though perchance our brains do not, that ancient doctrine that humanity is a vast organism, having its head, its heart, its ganglionic centres, its innumerable conscious cells, each with its own function to perform. That this knowledge inheres in the soul is proven by our commonest expressions, “the public pulse,” “the public conscience,” “the public mind,” “the national heart;” another proof that H. P. Blavatsky did not bring us new doctrines, but came to remind us of old truths which, somehow, we had forgotten. And the truth that humanity is a living, pulsating organism and not a mere collection of isolated fragments, is one of the basic principles of Theosophy. [425][426]
     In degree, therefore, is our nation an organism and our President, on outer planes, functions as its head and heart, a centre of force, guiding, holding all together. Therefore the assault upon our President is as much more serious in its consequences than an assault upon an ordinary citizen, as an injury to the brain or heart is more serious in its effects upon the physical body than a similar injury to one of the extremities. It has been well characterized as “A stab at the Heart of American liberty.” Whether our President was wise or unwise scarcely enters the question, from this point of view. That he had both wisdom and goodness is our good fortune, and doubtless one reason why this nation has had such a marvelously rapid and healthy growth is because the head and heart has always been vigorous and full of health.
     How deeply significant are the words of Plato: “Not until kings are philosophers and philosophers are kings will cities cease from ill; no, nor the human race.” (The Republic).
     And because the innumerable cells of a healthy physical body work together in common helpfulness and harmony, we know that they are interdependent of their very nature. If certain cells refuse to perform their functions, or perform them badly, or try to perform functions that belong to other cells, which sometimes happens, disease and ill health results. If the unbrotherly cells cannot be brought into line, there is but one alternative, they must be cast out of the body. If, perchance, the body is not strong enough to do this, certainly then, sooner or later, it perishes.
     And as with the body, so with humanity. Each unit soul is a part of the great whole, interdependent, with a certain place to fill, certain work to do. Not one of us can do his own work, can even exist independent of the others. It is utterly impossible. Not one, if he do his work poorly or unwillingly, but can so interfere with the health of the whole, that more or less disturbance, or social disease is the result. We see all about us evidence of such a condition. Yet we dream of better days, when all shall work together and social health will result. And those who can “discern the signs of the times” know that such an era, a Golden Age, is even now coming to be. For beneath all the surface differences that appear to separate men, runs the golden cable-tow of brotherhood, linking all men together. It is the thread of soul, for soul is one, and it is because of this that all souls are verily children of God.
     No man liveth unto himself and no man dieth unto himself. We are our brother’s keeper in a deeper sense than we realize. Our acts, our words, our very unspoken thoughts influence others more than they do ourselves, though we may not realize it, may not even believe it. It is useless for those who have been preaching a counterfeit philosophy, called anarchy, to repudiate this abject fellow who has tried to practically apply their theories. They are more guilty than he, for their insight into life is greater, their opportunities have been more abundant. And not these, alone, are guilty. All about us is the mental atmosphere. Into it we pour our thoughts, good or vile, pure or [426][427] selfish. It is the air that the mental self breathes. The pure and wise and strong choose from it as they will, strong enough to refuse all that is selfish or sensual, and aware that the pure elements within it will gravitate toward themselves, inevitably. For the laws of magnetic attraction operate in the metaphysical as well as in the physical world.
     But few are strong enough so to choose. The weaker majority are constantly fed and vampirized by the evil in this mental atmosphere about them. How often do we hear of a criminal saying, “I am sorry. What made me do it?” And today the half responsible fellow who took the life of our President is less guilty than those who have made our thought atmosphere filthy with thoughts of revenge, of jealousy, of discontent, of atheism. Though our statutes do not recognize this, and inflict no penalty, yet there is a Higher Law which will exact its due even to the uttermost farthing.
     Yet does this relieve the assassin of the responsibility for his act? Not at all. Life after life he has had the chance to choose between good and evil, life after life has he chosen to drive out and crucify the warrior and to strengthen the demon within him. He has opened the gateway of the fortress of his soul to enemies, jealously, deceit, unbrotherliness. And these traitors, once within the Sacred City, have held open the gate until the evil of the race has entered in and the man was lost. Once he might have driven out these traitors and barred the door. At last it became too late. How true it is that “we do not possess our ideas; we are possessed by them.” The assassin has been his own victim. He might have been his own creator. Instead of choosing the true philosophy as his guide, he has chosen the false.
     But how are we to discriminate between the true and the false? Is there no criterion? There is an infallible criterion—the Soul. And the philosophy which alone can lead the restless mind into soul-knowledge, is and must be the eternal Doctrine of the Soul, as ancient as time itself, as necessary to the budding soul as is sunlight to the flower. And if today we are groping blindly, it is our own fault. The world has never been without the Great Teacher. The Cycles fail not of their due. The Higher Law forsakes not those who trust in it. And today, at their own Cyclic time, the Great Souls have come to teach their own, Helena P. Blavatsky, William Q. Judge and Katherine Tingley.
     Theosophy alone contains the solution of this problem of anarchy. And it does not counsel force. “Hatred ceaseth not by hatred,” said a great teacher of the Heart Doctrine centuries ago, “hatred ceaseth by love.” For Theosophy is the Heart Doctrine and never until it reaches the heart of humanity can we hope to solve the problems of human life. Once let the anarchist realize that all men are his brothers, King, President, statesman, that all have common interest, common sorrows, common temptations, and this problem will be very near solution.
     Yet we have a great responsibility here. Do we really feel as if the anarchist were our brother, or do were carefully keep him at arm’s length while we [427][428] talk law, and police, and deportation, and electrocution? It is plain enough that not until we have conquered ourselves, our own vanity, our self-righteousness and sense of separateness, can we hope to conquer him.
     On the other hand, as long as the anarchist denies God, denies the soul, so long as he refuses to recognize the soul thread that binds all men into one vast brotherhood on the soul plane, the gulf between the anarchist and humanity can never be bridged.
     Yet the matter is not hopeless, for these are the children. They belong to the nation to educate. And the nation is already beginning to realize that mere intellectual learning is not enough, that the heart has been neglected far too long. President McKinley was intellectually a great man. Yet his greatness is never associated with that, but always with the heart qualities that he possessed, his gentleness, purity, courage and brotherliness. It is the straw which shows the direction of the wind. It is plain that the world needs but the example of education on right lines, to follow and copy. And such an example is already before it in the Raja Yoga School for Children at Point Loma. There the children realize that they are Souls, they live in the sunshine and the joy of soul life, and the methods used are not experimental but are founded on principles that the ages have sifted and proven. When we can find men of good education in every penitentiary, every insane asylum, every disreputable line of business, it is evident that modern education does not educate. But these conditions will pass, for the education of the future will build upon that eternal foundation called the Soul.
     The test of greatness in a nation, as in an individual, is this; the ability to turn all circumstances, however unfavorable, to good. During the recent crisis this nation has stood the test. Above all petty political differences is a strong feeling of unity, of brotherhood. Above the snarl of those who say “I don’t believe in God,” there rises, like a song, from the heart of the nation a deep conviction that God is, a deep, abiding faith in the Higher Law. The whole nation uttered its faith in the last words of the President “It is God’s way. His will, not ours, be done.”
     As a shock clarifies the mind of an individual, so does a great calamity act to clarify the public mind. And it is plain at last that this nation has taken refuge in the Soul. On that basis is our future to be builded. Much that was dawn before to our statesmen will now become daylight, for the Sun is rising.

 

 


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