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The Consciousness of the Atom - The Evolution of Form
In the Christian Bible the same thought is borne out by St. Paul in a letter to the Church at Ephesus. In the second chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians he says: "We are his workmanship." Literally, the correct translation from the Greek is: "We are his poem, or idea," and the thought in the mind of the apostle is that through the medium of every human life, or in the aggregate of lives which compose a solar system, God is, through the form, whatever it may be, working out an idea, a specific concept, or detailed poem. A man is an embodied thought, and this is also the concept latent in the definition of Plutarch. You have therein first the idea of a self-conscious entity, you have then to recognize the thought or purpose which that entity is seeking to express, and finally, you have the body or form which is the sequential result.

The term Logos, translated as the Word, is frequently used in the New Testament, in speaking of the Deity. The outstanding passage in which this is the case is the first chapter of St. John's Gospel, where the words occur: "In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with [57] God, and the word was God." Let us consider for a minute the meaning of the expression. Its literal translation is 'the Word,' and it has been defined as "the rendering in objective expression of a concealed thought." If you take any noun, or similar word, for instance, and study its objective significance, you will find that always a definite thought is conveyed to the mind, involving purpose, intent, or perhaps some abstract concept. If this same method of study can be extended to include the idea of the Deity or the Logos, much light may be gained upon this abstruse question of the manifestation of God, the central Intelligence, by the means of the material form, whether we see Him manifested through the tiny form of a chemical atom, or that gigantic physical body of His we call a solar system.

We found in our lecture last week that there was one thing that could be predicated of all atoms, and that scientists everywhere were coming to recognize one distinguishing characteristic. They have been shown to possess symptoms of mind and a rudimentary form of intelligence. The atom demonstrates the quality of discrimination, of selective power, and of ability to attract or repel. It may seem curious to use the word intelligence in connection with an atom of chemistry, for instance, but nevertheless the root meaning of the word embodies this idea perfectly. [58] It comes from two Latin words: inter, between, and legere to choose. Intelligence, therefore, is the capacity to think or choose, to select, and to discriminate. It is, in reality, that abstract, inexplicable something which lies back of the great law of attraction and repulsion, one of the basic laws of manifestation. This fundamental faculty of intelligence characterizes all atomic matter, and also governs the building up of forms, or the aggregation of atoms.

We have earlier dealt with the atom per se, but have in no way considered its building into form, or into that totality of forms which we call a kingdom in nature. We have considered somewhat the essential nature of the atom, and its prime characteristic of intelligence, and have laid our emphasis upon that out of which all the different forms as we know them are built - all forms in the mineral kingdom, in the vegetable kingdom, in the animal kingdom, and in the human kingdom. In the sumtotal of all forms you have the totality of nature as generally understood.

Let us now extend our idea from the individual forms that go to the constitution of any of these four kingdoms of nature, and view them as providing that still greater form which we call the kingdom itself, and thus view that kingdom as a conscious unit, forming a homogeneous whole. Thus each kingdom in nature may be considered [59] as providing a form through which a consciousness of some kind or grade can manifest. Thus, also, the aggregate of animal forms composes that greater form which we designate the kingdom itself, and this animal kingdom likewise has its place within a still greater body. Through that kingdom a conscious life may be seeking expression, and through the aggregate of kingdoms a still greater subjective Life may be seeking manifestation.

In all these kingdoms which we are considering - mineral, vegetable, animal and human - we have three factors again present, provided, of course, that the basis of our reasoning is correct: first, that the original atom is itself a life; secondly, that all forms are built up of a multiplicity of lives, and thus a coherent whole is provided through which a subjective entity is working out a purpose; thirdly, that the central life within the form is its directing impulse, the source of its energy, the origin of its activity, and that which holds the form together as a unity.

This thought can well be worked out in connection with man, for instance. For the purpose of our lecture, man can be defined as that central energy, life, or intelligence, who works through a material manifestation or form, this form being built up of myriads of lesser lives. In this connection a curious phenomenon has been frequently [60] noticed at the time of death; it was brought very specially to my notice some years ago by one of the ablest surgical nurses of India. She had for a long time been an atheist, but had begun to question the ground of her unbelief after several times witnessing this phenomenon. She stated to me that, at the moment of death, in several cases, a flash of light had been seen by her issuing from the top of the head, and that in one particular case (that of a girl of apparently very advanced spiritual development and great purity and holiness of life) the room had appeared to be lit up momentarily by electricity. Again, not long ago, several of the leading members of the medical profession in a large Middle West city were approached by an interested investigator, by letter, and asked if they would be willing to state if they had noted any peculiar phenomena at the moment of death. Several replied by saying that they had observed a bluish light issuing from the top of the head, and one or two added that they had heard a snap in the region of the head. In this last instance we have a corroboration of the statement in Ecclesiastes, where the loosing of the silver cord is mentioned, or the breaking of that magnetic link which unites the indwelling entity or thinker to his vehicle of expression. In both the types of cases above mentioned can apparently be seen an ocular demonstration of the withdrawal [61] of the central light or life, and the consequent disintegration of the form, and the scattering of the myriad lesser lives.

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