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A HOUSE DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF

From the November 1908 issue of The Christian Science Journal

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THE truth is simple. Untruth is always complicated and elusive, and grows more and more so with attempts to make use of it and to place dependence upon it. This is so universally true that absence of simplicity, the presence of intricacy and complication in statement or appearance, induce uncertainty and distrust, a feeling that somewhere there is error, the discovery of which will account for and do away with the involved condition. A structure, physical or philosophical, may have interest and charm, due wholly to its elaborateness and intricacy or to the skill used in its construction; but when vital interests are concerned, we turn to the straight lines and solid bases of simplicity with a sense of safety and security.

Among those concerned in the investigation of animal life, perhaps most pride is felt in the result of the work along the lines of bacteriology and physiological chemistry. During the past few years especially, the work in these departments has been tireless and enthusiastic, and the changes produced in the beliefs of medical men have been nothing short of revolutionary. According to these findings, the animal body is a laboratory in which at least the greater number of its forces are employed in the manufacture of poisons. It is held that some of these are so powerful in their toxic action that a very small fraction of a grain set free in the blood-stream is sufficient to cause death in a few seconds. These asserted poisons are of various natures, and counteract one another. It is said that there must be just the right amount of each poison secreted and set free in the blood, and overproduction, underproduction, or misdirection of any one of them is attended by grave danger to the whole body, unless such effect is counteracted by its antidote. Their so-called normal action is such that if discontinued from any cause, debility or death of the body follows. The countless hordes and species of bacteria believed to inhabit the body produce by their life-processes substances which are poisonous to themselves. It is upon this assumption that antitoxins are developed and administered in certain diseases. There are also said to be in the normal blood countless millions of soldiers,—organisms whose function it is to make war upon other organisms by devouring them, thus preventing their harmful action. These processes are believed to be under the direction and control of the sympathetic nervous system, the different departments of which are scattered throughout the body with a network of nerves connecting them.

Now these various departments are by no means of the same opinion, as we have seen. Each station and substation may be said to act as a separate intelligence. To cite a most familiar example: A substance taken into the mouth may be approved of by the taste organs, meet with decided opposition in the stomach, and in the analytic and synthetic processes through which it passes before it is done with the inquisitorial examination by all the organs before which it comes, there will be many differing judgments. Moreover, this sympathetic nervous system, with its army of ganglia and their products, pays slight if any attention to the brain, the will or the so-called mind of the person, who imagines that he controls "his" body. It determines, by the amount of the different poisons it manufactures and their distribution, whether the man shall be happy or sad, courageous or cowardly, hopeful or discouraged, as well as physically strong or weak. According to all these findings, the human body—which is, from the standpoint of the materialist, the human being—is seen to be a manufactory of implements for its own destruction; a battle-ship on board which there is continual mutiny, and which must inevitably be destroyed by its own crew; a many-minded aggregation, from which the mortal feels himself separated; of which he stands in awful fear, and to whose decisions he is compelled to bow down; a charnelhouse in which he finds himself chained; a body which is not his, but whose he is; a master whom lie despises; a servant whom he fears and obeys and before whom he cringes; a leaderless mob of deadly forces which will not listen to reason, entreaties, threats, or promises.

The "mind" of which he is so proud, and which he thinks distinguishes him from all other forms of life, the "mind" that he believes—through theories of mesmerism. hypnotism, and psychology—he can use to raise himself above the vicissitudes of the body in which it is believed to reside, and over which he is supposed to have been given dominion,—this "mind" is so little master of the body, is so far from having dominion over the forces of physical nature, that it is in fact the abject slave and victim of any one of the countless little minds scattered throughout this body. By the exercise and cultivation of will-power —the mental quality which he 'calls "mind"—he can to a slight extent control the external manifestations of some of the reactions going on within the body; some of his muscles may thus be taken out of the class called involuntary and brought under the heading of voluntary muscles; but he soon finds that the will itself may be forced to yield to the power of some insignificant ganglion of which his consciousness has never heard.

Surely these investigations present to us the picture of a house divided against itself, and we have the authority of the great Teacher himself that such a house cannot stand. Our own experience—the experience of the human race—is to the same effect, that the human body as materially understood is a house that does not stand, and is certainly destined to succumb to its own products. The more thorough the investigations of physical scientists into the history, nature, and workings of the animal body, the more conclusively is it shown that self-destruction is the end of all organization based upon material belief. Whence then comes that instinct for life, "the will to live," the sense in every one that man is something more than a physical body, which impels him to refuse submission to any decree or claim of power that involves extinction of or control over that which he feels himself to be? It is the question of the ages, but is there not, in the very fact that the question will not down, evidence that there is an answer? And are such investigations as we have here glanced at leading toward a satisfactory answer to the question? Does not the history of all material research prove that it leads farther and farther away from that which is fundamental in the consciousness of man, the instinct for life, and inevitably toward the conclusion that death is the fact and the end of life?

The results of and conclusions from the work done in these physical sciences are wanting in reliability and value to mankind, and for the reason that biologists, physiological chemists, and bacteriologists, one and all, have left out of their laboratory equipment, have omitted from their calculations, the one element which determines the character of any substance. Their test-tubes do not contain the factor upon which depends the reaction. In investigating a commonwealth, they have left out of account the executive power. Consequently the laboratory shows irreconcilably conflicting results; the test-tube is found to contain a mixture, not a solution; the commonwealth seems to be a battle-field, where every man's hand is against the hand of his neighbor. The element, the reagent, the executive which is needed to bring order out of this murderous chaos and non-understandable confusion, is the recognition and understanding of the one Mind which has planned and created the infinite spiritual forms that have been counterfeited as mortals, poisons, enemies, and other false beliefs. It is entirely possible and practicable for us to recognize, realize, and utilize, as an available power, the existence of this one Mind as the supreme and only power, a harmonious unit. The Discoverer of Christian Science wrote years ago: "An acknowledgment of the perfection of the infinite Unseen confers a power nothing else can" (Unity of Good, p. 7). And that consciousness whose instinct is life, harmony, freedom, and love, and which is the real man, is capable of recognizing, and in fact always does recognize, the one power, Mind. Moreover, the real man is never satisfied with less, never acknowledges, and by his very nature never can acknowledge or be satisfied with any other condition as the truth.

By the application of the truth of being in human consciousness Christian Science is eliminating discord and disease from the minds and bodies of men. It is proving likewise that discord can be eliminated from the body politic by the power of this same right idea which destroys the fallacy of minds many. This is being done scientifically, and where physical scientists, through the non-recognition of the controlling factor, are now finding confusion and contradiction, they will find harmony when divine Principle is apprehended and the truth utilized. Their investigations and experiments are bringing out facts which may have a certain value from the physical standpoint, but on account of the lack of fundamental truth in their premises, their conclusions and interpretations can accomplish nothing toward the solution of the human problem. The tragedies of battle and death are eliminated by the truth of being. The sense and fear of poison are neutralized by the dynamic force of spiritual understanding. The conception of matter as real is overcome by the realization that Spirit is the only substance, and that the universe is Spirit's manifestation; hence spiritual and perfect. Until the government of Truth is acknowledged and obeyed in human consciousness, error's misrule, with its sequence of suffering and death, will continue. There can be neither peace nor progress in our human life, whether individual or communal, until the one Mind, infinite Spirit, is honored and obeyed.

Scientifically, and exactly in proportion to the acknowledgment in consciousness of the supremacy and allness of the one Mind, is there eliminated from experience all that makes for disorder, disease, and death,—the product and results of the belief of mind in matter. Says our Leader, "Life is inorganic, infinite Spirit; if Life, or Spirit, were organic, disorganization would destroy Spirit and annihilate man" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 56).

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