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The Consciousness of the Atom - The Evolution of Substance
Lecture II

The Evolution of Substance

It is obvious that in such a series of lectures as this it would be impossible to deal adequately in any way with this stupendous subject, even were I equipped to lecture on such a fundamentally scientific matter. Again, if the conclusions of science were definite upon the evolution of matter, the topic would be, even then, too vast to handle, but they are not, and hence the further complicating of the subject. Therefore I want to preface my remarks tonight by stating that my aim is to speak particularly for those who have no scientific training of any kind, and to give them a general concept of the usually accepted ideas; I seek, then, to make some suggestions which we may find helpful in adjusting our minds to this great problem of matter. Usually when the substance aspect of manifestation has been considered, it has been as a thing apart, and it is only lately that what I might call the "psychology of matter" is beginning to come before the mind of the public through the investigations and conclusions of the broader-minded scientists. [32]

You will remember that last week I endeavored, in a broad and general way, to point out to you that there were three lines of approach to the study of the material universe. There is the line which considers only the materialistic aspect, and is occupied only with that which can be seen, which is tangible, and which can be proven. A second line is that of supernaturalism, which recognizes not so much the material side of things as that which is called divine; it deals with the life side, and with the spirit aspect, viewing that Life as a power extraneous to the solar system and to man, and positing that power as a great creative Agent, Who creates and guides the objective universe and yet is outside of it. These two lines of thought can be seen upheld by the frankly materialistic scientist, the orthodox Christian, and the deist of every faith.

I indicated next a third line of approach to the problem, and we called it the idealistic concept. It recognizes the material form, but sees also the life within it, and it posits a Consciousness or Intelligence which is evolving by means of that outer form. You will find, I think, that that is the line which I shall emphasize and stress in these lectures. No speaker is able, after all, to dissociate himself entirely from his own point of view, and in these talks I have set myself the task of working along this third line, for to me it [33] synthesizes the other two, and adds certain concepts which produce a coherent whole when merged with the other two. It is for you to decide if this third standpoint is logical, reasonable, and clear.

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