Nothing seems to me better adapted than this monistic perspective to give us the proper standard and the broad outlook which we need in the solution of the vast enigmas that surround us. It not only clearly indicates the true place of a man in Nature, but it dissipates the prevalent illusion of man's supreme importance and arrogance with which he sets himself apart from the illimitable universe, and exalts himself to the position of its most valuable element. This boundless presumption of conceited man has misled him into making himself "the image of God," claiming an "eternal life" for his ephemeral personality, and imagining that he possesses unlimited "freedom of will." The ridiculous imperial folly of Caligula is but a special form of man's arrogant assumption of divinity. Only when we have abandoned this untenable illusion, and taken up the correct cosmological perspective, can we hope to reach the solution of the Riddle of the Universe.
There was a man, once upon a day, who lived in East Aurora and kept a store. He sold everything from cough-syrup to blue ribbon; and some of the things he sold on time to philosophers who sat on nail-kegs every evening, and settled the coal strike.
And in due course of time the storekeeper compromised with his creditors, at twenty-nine cents on the dollar.
Some say the man went busted a-purpose to quit business and get out of East Aurora. And he himself generally allowed the opinion to gain ground in later years that he had planned his life throughout, from start to finish, thus proving the supremacy of the will. Yet others there be, and men of worth and social standing in the village--known for miles up the creek as persons of probity--who claim that it was too much confidence in the Genus Smart-Setter, and trotting horses at the County Fairs, that made it possible for our friend to avail himself of the Bankruptcy Act. Still others, too inert to follow the winding ways of a strange career and give reasons, dispose of the matter by simply saying, "Providence!"--rolling their eyes upward, then walking out, leaving the wordy contestants humiliated and undone.
It will be seen that I am interested in this chapter of Ancient History: and in truth, I myself occasionally ornament the nail-kegs. I claim it was neither Providence nor astute planning that mapped this man's course, but Providence, Planning and Luck; and I silence the adversary, for the time, by citing these facts:
Very shortly after Providence and the Sheriff of Erie County--whose name, by the way, was Grover Cleveland--had disposed of the East Aurora grocery, our friend met a man in Buffalo who had a sweeping scar on his chin, a wonderful secret, and nothing else worth mentioning.
This man secured his assets in Germany; he got them while attending the University of Jena. The secret was gotten by an understanding with a professor; the scar was received through a misunderstanding with a student. The secret was a plan by which you could make glucose from corn. In Germany it was only a laboratory experiment, because there was no corn in Europe to speak of.
Here we had corn to burn, since in that very year the farmers of Iowa were using corn for their fuel. Glucose is the active saccharine principle in maize, but it does not become active until the corn is treated chemically in a certain way, just as honey is not honey until a bee puts it through his Maeterlinck laboratory.
Glucose is a food; it can be used for all purposes where sugar is used--in degree, at least.
And every living person on earth uses sugar as food every day! Our ex-grocer knew all about Hambletonian Ten and Dexter; but dextrine, dextrose and glucose were out of his class. Yet he realized that if sugar could be made from corn, there was a fortune in it for somebody. Opportunity, we are told, knocks once at each man's door. Our David Harum was forty, past, and he had often thought Opportunity was tapping, but when he opened wide the door, darkness there, and nothing more! Opportunity had knocked, but was too timid to stay. This time, he heard the knock, and when he opened up the door, Opportunity made a rush for him, grabbed him by the collar--catch-as-catch-can--in a grip he could not shake off.
Mr. Harum examined as best he could the glucose the German student had made, and then he watched the whole experiment worked out over again. What the particular ingredients were, was still a secret. The man would not sell out; he wanted to organize a manufactory and take a certain per cent of the profits. David had saved a thousand dollars out of the wreck at East Aurora; but he knew if he could show certain men that the scheme was genuine, he would be able to raise more.
Five thousand dollars was secured. But the men who advanced the four thousand dollars demanded an insurance-policy on the life of the German chemist. This appealed to our David Harum as an excellent plan: if the man who held the secret should die, all would be lost save honor. They insured the life of the chemist for twenty thousand dollars. In a month after, he was killed in a railroad wreck on a Sunday School excursion. And the moral is--but never mind that now.
The twenty thousand dollars' insurance was paid to David Harum. He repaid his friends immediately their four thousand dollars, and reserved for himself, very properly, the sixteen thousand dollars to cover expenses. He then started for Jena.
Arriving there, he found that the making of glucose was no special secret, and to manufacture it on a large scale was simply a matter of evolving the right kind of system and a plant. He hired a young German chemist, who had just graduated, for a matter of, say, a thousand dollars a year and expenses, and the two started back for America.
From this arose the Glucose Industry in the United States. In ten years' time twelve million dollars was invested in the business; and in Nineteen Hundred Three more than a hundred million dollars was invested. Our East Aurora hero sold out his interests, in Eighteen Hundred Ninety, for some such bagatelle as thirteen million dollars.
The young German student is now back at the Jena university, taking a post-graduate course in chemistry--the first one is still dead.
* * * * * * *
I am told that there be folks who pooh-pooh college training and sneeze on mention of a University degree. Usually these good people have no University degrees, but have been greatly helped by those who have.
Our David Harums are not college-bred--a statement which I trust will go unchallenged.
The true type of German student is made in Germany, and when taken out of his native environment, often evolves into something less beautiful.
His lack of worldly ambition is his chief claim to immortality. His wants are few; he rises early and works late; he is most practical in his own particular specialty, but often most impractical outside of it; he is plodding, patient, painstaking, and will follow a microbe you can not see, as Thompson-Seton's hunter followed the famous Kootenay ram.
This simple reverence for the truth--this passion for an idea--this desire to know--these things have given to the world some of its richest treasures. We are aware of what the Rockfellers have done, but we seldom stop to think of the unknown laboratory students, who made possible such vast and far-reaching institutions as the Standard Oil Company, the Carborundum Company, the Amalgamated Copper Company, and the various beet-sugar factories, that give work to thousands, and lift whole counties, and even some States, from penury to plenty.
Germany honors her scholars; and one of the strongest instincts of her national life is her search for genius. Initiative is originality in motion. Originality is too rare to flout and scout. Not all originality is good, but all good things, so far as humanity is concerned, were once original. That is to say, they were the work of Genius.
Germany's sympathy for the best in thought has occasionally been broken in upon by pigmy rulers, who, for the moment, had a giant's power, so it seems hardly possible that a government which encouraged Goethe should have banished Wagner. The greatness of Kant was largely owing to the fact that he was set apart by Frederick and made free to do his work; and at this time, not another monarchy in the world would have had the insight to keep its coarse hands off this little man with the big head and the brain of a prophet.
And as Kant was the greatest and most original thinker of his time, so today does a German University house the world's greatest living scientist. Ernst Haeckel has been Professor of Natural History at Jena for forty-two years. All the efforts of various other Universities to lure him away have failed. He even declined to listen to the siren song of Major Pond, and only smiled at the big baits dangled on long poles from Cook County, Illinois.
"I have everything I want, everything I can use is right here; why should I think of uprooting my life?" he asked. And yet, Jena, there in the shadow of the Thuringian Mountains, is only a little town of less than ten thousand inhabitants.
In Nineteen Hundred Three, there were five hundred pupils registered at Jena, as against four thousand at Harvard, five thousand at Ann Arbor, and nearly the same at Lincoln, Nebraska.
It will not do to assume that those who graduate at big colleges are big men, any more than to imagine that folks who reside in big towns are bigger than those who live in little villages. Perhaps the greatest men have come from the small colleges: I believe the small colleges admit this.
And surely there is plenty of good argument handy, in way of proof; for while Harvard has her Barrett Wendell, with his caveat on clearness, force and elegance; and Ann Arbor has Cicero Trueblood, Professor of Oratory, whose official duty it is to formulate the College Yell; yet Amherst, with her scant five hundred pupils, has Professor David P. Todd, the greatest astronomer of the New World. I really wonder sometimes what a University that stands in fear of Triggsology would do with Professor Ernst Haeckel, whose disregard for tradition is very decidedly Ingersollian! The actual fact is, Ernst Haeckel, the world's greatest thinker, belongs in the little town of Jena, in Germany. At the village of Coniston, you see the little hall where Ruskin read the best things he ever wrote, to a dozen or two people.
At Hammersmith, the limit of a William Morris audience was about a hundred. At Jena, Ernst Haeckel sits secure in his little lecture-hall, and speaks or reads to fifty or sixty students, but the printed word goes to millions, so his thoughts here expressed in Jena are shots heard round the world.
American pedagogic institutions are mendicant--they depend upon private charity and are endowed by pious pirates and beneficent buccaneers. The individuals who made these institutions possible very naturally have a controlling voice in their management. The colleges in America that are not supported by direct mendicancy depend upon the dole of the legislator, and woe betide the pedagogic principal who offends the orthodox vote. His supplies are cut short, and purse-strings pucker until his voice moderates to a monotone and he dilutes his views to a dull neutral tint. I do not know a University in the United States that would not place Ernst Haeckel on half-rations, and make him fight for his life, or else he would be discharged and be reduced to the sad necessity of tilting windmills in popular lecture courses for the edification of agrarians. The German Government seeks to make men free. It even gives them the privilege of being absurd; for pioneers sometimes take the wrong track. We do not scout Columbus because his domestic voyages were failures; nor because he sought one thing and found another, and died without knowing the difference.
Haeckel's wants are all supplied; what he needs in the way of apparatus or material is his for the asking; he travels at will the round world over; visions of old age and yawning almshouses are not for him. He owns himself--he does what he wishes, he says what he thinks, and neither priest nor politician dare cry, hist! So we get the paradox: the only perfect freedom is to be found in a monarchy. "A Republic," says Schopenhauer, "is a land that is ruled by the many--that is to say, by the incompetent." But Schopenhauer, of course, knew nothing of the American primary, devised by altruistic Hibernians for the purpose of thwarting the incompetent many.
* * * * * * *
Ernst Haeckel was born in Eighteen Hundred Thirty-four, hence he is just seventy-seven years old at this writing. His parents were plain people, neither rich nor poor--and of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. The greatest error one can make in life is not to be well born; failing in this, a man struggles through life under an awful handicap.
Haeckel formed the habit of steady, systematic work in youth, and untiring effort has been the rule of his life. Man was made to be well, and he was made to work. It is only work--which is the constant effort to retain equilibrium--that makes life endurable. So we find Haeckel now, at near fourscore years, a model of manly vigor, with all the eager, curious, receptive qualities of youth--a happy man, but one who knows that happiness lies on the way to Heaven, and not in arriving there and sitting down to enjoy it.
Ernst Haeckel gathers his manna fresh every day. I believe Haeckel enjoys his pipe and mug after the day's work is done; but for stimulants in a general sense, he has no use. In his book on Ceylon, he attributes his escape from the jungle fever, from which most of his party suffered, to the fact that he never used strong drink, and ate sparingly.
He is jealous of the sunshine--a great walker--works daily with hoe and spade in his garden; and breathes deeply, pounding on his chest, when going from his house to the college, in a way that causes considerable amusement among the fledglings. Tall, spare rather than stout, bronzed, active, wearing shoes with thick soles, plain gray clothes, often accompanied by a half-dozen young men, he is a common figure on the roads that wind out of Jena, and lose themselves amid the mountains.
The distinguishing feature of the man is his animation. He is full of good cheer, and acts as if he were expecting to discover something wonderful very soon.
To find the balance between play and work has been the aim of his life; and surely, he has pretty nearly discovered it.
Once when a caller asked him what he considered the greatest achievement of his life, he took out of his pocket a leather case containing a bronze medal, and proudly passed it around.
This medal was presented to him in the year Eighteen Hundred Fifty-nine, in token of a running high jump--the world's record at the time, or not, as the case may be. Haeckel is essentially an out-of-door man, as opposed to the philosopher who works in a stuffy room, and grows round-shouldered over his microscope. "I may entrust laboratory analyses to others, but there is one thing I will never let another do for me, and that is take my daily walk a-field," he once said.
While lecturing he sits at a table and simply talks in a very informal way; often purposely arousing a discussion, or awakening a sleepy student with a question. Yet on occasion he can speak to a multitude, and, like Huxley, rise to the occasion. Oratory, however, he considers rather dangerous, as the speaker is usually influenced by the opinions of the audience, and is apt to grow more emphatic than exact--to generate more heat than light.
The comparison of Haeckel with Huxley is not out of place. He has been called the Huxley of Germany, just as Huxley was called the Haeckel of England. In temperament, they were much alike; although Haeckel perhaps does not use quite so much aqua fortis in his ink. Yet I can well imagine that if he were at a convention where the Bishop of Oxford would level at him a few theological spitballs, he would answer, unerringly, with a sling and a few smooth pebbles from the brook. And possibly, knowing himself, this is why he keeps out of society, and avoids all public gatherings where pseudo-science is exploited.
There is a superstition that really great men are quite oblivious of their greatness, and that the pride of achievement is not among their assets. Nothing could be wider of the mark. When Ernst Haeckel was asked, "Who is your favorite author?" he very promptly answered, "Ernst Haeckel."
His study is a big square room on the top floor of one of the college buildings; and in this room is a bookcase extending from ceiling to floor, given up to his own works.
Copies of every edition and of all translations are here.
And in a special case are the original manuscripts, solidly bound in boards, as carefully preserved as were the "literary remains" of William Morris, guarded with the instincts of a bibliophile.
Of the size of this Haeckel collection one can make a guess when it is stated that the man has written and published over fifty different books. These vary in size from simple lectures to volumes of a thousand pages. His work entitled, "The Natural History of Creation," has been translated into twelve languages, and has gone through fifteen editions in Germany, and about half as many in England.
The last book issued by Professor Haeckel was that intensely interesting essay, "The Riddle of the Universe," which was written in Eighteen Hundred Ninety-nine, in two months' time, during his summer vacation. He gave it out that he had gone to Italy, denied himself to all visitors who knew that he had not, and answered no letters. He reached his study every morning at six o'clock and locked himself in, and there he remained until eight o'clock at night. At noon one of his children brought him his lunch.
Unlike Herbert Spencer, whose later writings were all dictated--and very slowly and painstakingly at that--Haeckel writes with his own hand, and when the fit is on, he turns off manuscript at the rate of from two to four thousand words a day. In writing "The Riddle of the Universe," he took no exercise save to go up on the roof, breathing deeply and pounding his chest, varying the pounding by reaching his arms above his head and stretching. However, after a few weeks the villagers and visitors got to looking for him with opera-glasses; and he ceased going on the roof, taking his calisthenics at the open window.
This exercise of reaching and stretching until you lift yourself on tiptoe, he goes out of his way to recommend in his book on "Development," wherein he says, "There is a tendency as the years pass for the internal organs to drop, but the individual who will daily go through the motion of reaching for fruit on limbs of trees that are above his head, standing on tiptoe and slowly stretching up and up, occasionally throwing his head back and looking straight up, will of necessity breathe deeply, exercise the diaphragm, and I believe in most cases will ward off diseases and keep old age awaiting for long."
Here is a little commonsense advice given by a physician who is also a great scientist. To try it will cost you nothing--no apparatus is required--just throw open the window and reach up and up and up, first with one arm, then the other, and then both arms. "The person who does this daily for five minutes as a habit will probably have no need of a physician," adds Haeckel, and with this sage remark he dismisses the subject, branching off into an earnest talk on radiolaria.
* * * * * * *
Haeckel was educated for a physician and began his career by practising medicine. But his heart was not really in the work; he soon arrived at the very sane conclusion that constant dwelling on the pathological was not worth while. "Hereafter I'll devote my time to the normal, not the abnormal and distempered. The sick should learn to keep well," he wrote a friend.
And again, "If an individual is so lacking in will that he can not provide for himself, then his dissolution is no calamity to either himself, the State or the race." This was written in his twenties, and seems to sound rather sophomorish, but the idea of the boy is still with the old man, for in "The Riddle of the Universe" he says, "The final effect upon the race by the preservation of the unfit, through increased skill in surgery and medicine, is not yet known." In another place he throws in a side remark, thus: "Our almshouses, homes for imbeciles, and asylums where the hopelessly insane often outlive their keepers, may be a mistake, save as these things minister to the spirit of altruism which prompts their support. Let a wiser generation answer!"
Doubtless Haeckel could make a good argument in favor of the doctors if he wished, but probably if asked to do so his answer would paraphrase Robert Ingersoll, when that gentleman was taken to task for unfairness towards Moses, "Young man, you seem to forget that I am not the attorney of Moses--don't worry, there are more than ten millions of men looking after his case." Ernst Haeckel is not the attorney for either the doctors or the clergy.
It was Darwin and "The Origin of Species" that tipped the beam for Haeckel in favor of science. Very shortly after Darwin's great book was issued, in the year Eighteen Hundred Fifty-nine, a chance copy of the work fell into the hands of our young physician. He read and spoke English, and in a general way was interested in biology.
As he read of Darwin's observations and experiments the heavens seemed to open before him.
Things he had vaguely felt, Darwin stated, and thoughts that had been his, Darwin expressed. "I might have written much of this book, myself," he said.
The love of Nature had been upon the young man almost from his babyhood. All children love flowers and mix easily with the wonderful things that are found in woods and fields. At twelve years of age Ernst had formed a goodly herbarium, and was making a collection of bugs, and not knowing their names or even that they had names, he began naming them himself. Later it came to him with a shock of surprise and disappointment that the bugs and beetles had already had the attention of scholars. But he got even by declaring that he would hunt out some of the tiny things the scholars had overlooked and classify them. Every man imagines himself the first man, and to think that he is Adam and that he has to go forth, get acquainted with things and name them, reveals the true bent of the scientist.
Doctor Haeckel was ripe for Darwin's book. He was looking for it, and it took only a slight jolt to dislodge him from the medical profession and allow the Law of Affinity to do the rest.
Wallace had written Darwin's book under another name, and if these men had not written it, Haeckel surely would, for it was all packed away in his heart and head. As Darwin had studied and classified the Cirripedia, so would he write an essay on Rhizopods. Luck was with him--luck is always with the man of purpose. He had an opportunity to travel through Italy as medical caretaker to a rich invalid. Sickness surely has its uses; and rich invalids are not wholly a mistake on the part of Setebos. Haeckel secured the leisure and the opportunity to round up his Rhizopods.
He presented the work to the University of Jena, because this was the University that Goethe attended, and the gods of Haeckel were three--Goethe, Darwin and Johannes Muller.
Muller was instructor in Zoology at Berlin, a man quite of the Agassiz type who made himself beloved by the boys because he was what he was--a boy in heart, with a man's head and the soul of a saint. Some one said of Muller, "To him every look into a microscope was a service to God." In his reverent attitude he was like Linnĉus, who fell on his knees on first beholding the English gorse in full flower, and thanked Heaven that such a moment of divine joy was his.
Muller was a Jena man, too, and he gave Haeckel letters to the bigwigs. The wise men of Jena discovered that there was merit in Haeckel's discoveries.
Original investigators are rare--most of us write about the men who have done things, or else we tell about what they have done, and so we reach greatness by hitching our wagon to a star. For the essay on Rhizopods, Haeckel was made Professor Extraordinary of the University of Jena. This was in Eighteen Hundred Sixty-two; Haeckel was then twenty-eight years old; there he is today, after a service of forty-nine years.
* * * * * * *
Haeckel is married, with a big brood of children and grandchildren about him. Some of his own children and the grandchildren are about the same age, for Haeckel has two broods, having had two wives, both of whom sympathized with the Teddine philosophy.
With the whole household, including servants, the great scientist is on terms of absolute good camaraderie. The youngsters ride on his back; the older girls decorate him with garlands; the boys work with him in the garden, or together they tramp the fields and climb the hills.
But when it comes to study he goes to his own room in the Zoology Building, enters in and locks the door. When he travels he travels alone, without companion or secretary. Travel to him means intense work; and intense work means to him intense pleasure. Solitude seems necessary to close, consecutive thinking; and in the solitude of travel, through jungle, forest, crowded city, or across wide oceans, Haeckel finds his true and best self. Then it is that he puts his soul in touch with the Universal and realizes most fully Goethe's oft-repeated dictum, "All is one." And, indeed, to Goethe must be given the credit of preparing the mind of Haeckel for Darwinism.
In his book, "The Freedom and Science of Teaching," Haeckel applies the poetic monistic ideas of Goethe to biology and then to sociology. "All is one." And this oneness that everywhere exists is simply a differentiation of the original single cell.
The evolution of the cell mirrors the evolution of the species: the evolution of the individual mirrors the evolution of the race.
This law, expressed by Goethe, is the controlling shibboleth in all Haeckel's philosophy.
In embryology he has proved it to the satisfaction of the scientific world. When he applies it to sociology our Bellamys are looking backward to Sir Thomas More, and expect a sudden transformation to a Utopia, not unlike the change which the good old preachers used to tell us we would experience "in the twinkling of an eye."
Haeckel builds on Darwin and shows that as the Cirripedia which makes the bottom of the ocean, the coral "insect" which rears dangerous reefs and even mountain-ranges, and Rhizopods that make the chalk cliffs possible, did not change the earth's crust in the twinkling of an eye, so neither can the efforts of man instantly change the social condition. Souls do not make lightning changes. Karl Marx thought society would change in the twinkling of a ballot, but he was not a Monist, and therefore did not realize that humanity is a solidarity of souls, evolved from very lowly forms and still slowly ascending.
And the beauty of it is that the Marxians are helping the race to ascend, by supplying it an Ideal, even if they fail utterly to work their lightning change. In the end there is no defeat for any man or any thing. When men deserve the Ideal they will get it. So long as they prefer beer, tobacco, brawls and slums, these things will be supplied. When they get enough of these, something better will be evolved. The stupidity of George the Third was a necessary factor in the evolution of freedom for America. All is one; all is Good; and all is God.
The Marxians will eventually win, but by Fabian methods, and Socialism will come under another name. As opposed to Herbert Spencer, Haeckel does not admit the Unknowable, although, of course, he realizes the unknown. No man ever had a fuller faith, and if there is any such thing as a glorious deathbed it must come to men of this type who believe not only that all is well for themselves, but for every one else. How a deathbed could be "glorious" for a man who had perfect faith in his own salvation and an equally perfect faith in the damnation of most everybody else, is difficult to understand.
A true Monist would rather be in Hell asking for water than in Heaven denying it.
He loves humanity because he is Humanity, and he loves God because he is God. As a single drop of water mirrors the globe, so does a single man mirror the race. And the evolution, biological and sociological, of the man mirrors the evolution of the species.
When one once grasps the beauty and splendor of the monistic idea, how mean and small become all those little, fearsome "schemes of salvation," whereby men were to be separated and impassable gulfs fixed between them. Those who fix gulfs here and now are hotly intent on showing that God will fix gulfs hereafter; thus we see how man is continually creating God in his own image.
His idea of God's justice is always built on his own; and as usually our deities are more or less inherited, heirlooms of the past, we see that it is not at all strange that men should be better than their religion. They drag their dead creeds behind them like a stagecoach, with preachers and priests on top; kings and nobles inside; and coffins full of past sins in the boot. A man is always better than his creed--unless he makes his creed new every day. These hand-me-down religions seldom fit, and professional theology, it seems to me, is mostly a dealing in ol' clo'.
* * * * * * *
In the month of September, Nineteen Hundred Four, Haeckel was a delegate to the Freethinkers' Congress at Rome. To hold such a convention in the Eternal City, right under the eaves of the Vatican, was surely a trifle "indelicate," to use the words of the Pope. And it was no wonder that at the close of the Congress the Pope at once ordered a sacred housecleaning, a divine fumigation.
Forty years ago he would have acted before the Congress convened, and not afterward. Special mass was held in every one of the Catholic Churches in Rome, "partially to atone for the insult done to Almighty God."
Over three thousand delegates were present at the Congress, every civilized country being represented.
A committee was named to decorate the statue of Bruno that stands on the spot where he was burned for declaring that the earth revolved, and that the stars were not God's jewels hung in the sky each night by angels.
On this occasion, Haeckel said:
"This Congress is historic. It marks a white milepost in the onward and upward march of Freedom.
"We have met in Rome not accidentally or yet incidentally, but purposely. We have met here to show the world that times have changed, that the earth revolves, and to prove to ourselves in an impressive and undeniable way that the power of superstition is crippled, and at last Science and Free Speech need no longer cringe and crawl. We respect the Church for what she is, but our manhood must now realize that it is no longer the slave and tool of entrenched force and power that abrogates to itself the name of religion."
The Haeckel attitude of mind is essentially one of faith--Haeckel's hope for the race is sublime. There are several things we do not know, but we may know some time, just as men know things that children do not.
And yet we are only children in the kindergarten of God. And this garden where we work and play is our own. The boy of ten, or even the man of sixty, may never know, but there will come men greater than these and they will understand. The Monist, the man who believes in the One--the All--is essentially religious.
Haeckel has chosen this word Monism, as opposed to theism, deism, materialism, spiritism.
Doctor Paul Carus is today the ablest American exponent of Monism, and to him it is a positive religion. If Monism could make men of the superb mental type of Paul Carus, well might we place the subject on a compulsory basis and introduce it into our public schools. But Haeckel and Carus believe quite as much in freedom as in Monism. All violence of direction is contrary to growth, and delays evolution just that much.
The One of which we are part and particle--single cells, if you please--is constantly working for its own good. We advance individually as we lie low in the Lord's hand and allow ourselves to be receivers and conveyors of the Divine Will.
And we ourselves are the Divine Will. The contemplation of this divinity excites the religious emotions of awe, veneration, wonder and of worship. It is a world of correlation. The All is right here. There is no outside force or energy; no god or supreme being that looks on, interferes, dictates and decides. To admit that there is an outside power, something uncorrelated, is to invite fear, apprehension, uncertainty and terror. This undissolved residuum is the nest-egg of superstition. The man who believes that God is the Whole, and that every man is a necessary part of the Whole, has no need to placate or please an intangible Something. All he has to do is to be true to his own nature, to live his own life, to understand himself. This takes us back to the Socratic maxim, "Know Thyself." No man ever expressed one phase of Monism so well and beautifully as Emerson has in his "Essay on Compensation." This intelligence in which we are bathed rights every wrong, equalizes every injustice, balances every perversion, punishes the wrong and rewards the right. The Universe is self-lubricating and automatic. The Greeks clearly beheld the sublime truths of Compensation when they pictured Nemesis. It is absurd to punish--leave it to Nemesis--she never forgets--nothing can escape her.
Our duties lie in service to ourselves, and we best serve self by serving humanity. This is the only religion that pays compound interest to both borrower and lender. Worship Humanity and you honor yourself.
And the world has ever dimly perceived this, for history honors no men save those who have given their lives that others might live. The saviors of the world are only those who loved Humanity more than all else. All men who live honest lives are saviors--they live that others may live.
He that saveth his life shall lose it.
We grow through radiation, not by absorption or annexation. To him that hath shall be given. We keep things by giving them to others. The dead carry in their clenched hands only that which they have given away; and the living carry only the love in their hearts which they have bestowed on others.
"I and my Father are one"--the thought is old, but to prove it from the so-called material world through the study of biology has been the life-work of Ernst Haeckel.
Undaunted we press ever on.