Spirituality-Religions Spiritual Discovery Monism As Connecting Religion and Science

Monism As Connecting Religion and Science

Monism As Connecting Religion and Science
Catalog # SKU4042
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Ernst Haeckel, J. Gilchrist
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000


As Connecting
Religion and Science

Ernst Haeckel
J. Gilchrist

That we may rightly appreciate what this Monism is, let us now, from a philosophico-historical point of view cast a comprehensive glance over the development in time of man's knowledge of nature.

--New Edition, 13 point font



. A long series of varied conceptions and stages of human culture here passes before our mental vision. At the lowest stage, the rude-we may say animal-phase of prehistoric primitive man, is the "ape-man," who, in the course of the tertiary period, has only to a limited degree raised himself above his immediate pithecoid ancestors, the anthropoid apes. Next come successive stages of the lowest and simplest kind of culture, such as only the rudest of still existing primitive peoples enable us in some measure to conceive. These "savages" are succeeded by peoples of a low civilisation, and from these again, by a long series of intermediate steps, we rise little by little to the more highly civilised nations. To these alone-of the twelve races of mankind only to the Mediterranean and Mongolian-are we indebted for what is usually called "universal history." This last, extending over somewhat less than six thousand years, represents a period of infinitesimal duration in the long millions of years of the organic world's development.

Neither of the primitive men we have spoken of, nor of those who immediately succeeded them, can we rightly predicate any knowledge of nature. The rude primitive child of nature at this lowest stage of development is as yet far from being the restless Ursachenthier (cause-seeking animal) of Lichtenberg; his demand for causes has not yet risen above that of apes and dogs; his curiosity has not yet mounted to pure desire of knowledge. If we must speak of "reason" in connection with pithecoid primitive man, it can only be in the same sense as that in which we use the expression with reference to those other most highly developed Mammals, and the same remark holds true of the first beginnings of religion.3 It is indeed still not infrequently the custom to deny absolutely to the lower animals reason and religion. An unprejudiced comparison, however, convinces us that this is wrong. The slow and gradual process towards completeness which, in the course of thousands of years, civilised life has been working in the soul of man, has not passed away without leaving some trace on the soul of our highest domestic animals also (above all, of dogs and horses). Constant association with man, and the steady influence of his training, have gradually, and by heredity, developed in their brain higher associations of ideas and a more perfect judgment. Drill has become instinct, an undeniable example of "the transmission of acquired characters."4

Comparative psychology teaches us to recognise a very long series of successive steps in the development of soul in the animal kingdom. But it is only in the most highly developed vertebrates-birds and mammals-that we discern the first beginnings of reason, the first traces of religious and ethical conduct. In them we find not only the social virtues common to all the higher socially-living animals,-neighbourly love, friendship, fidelity, self-sacrifice, etc.,-but also consciousness, sense of duty, and conscience; in relation to man their lord, the same obedience, the same submissiveness, and the same craving for protection, which primitive man in his turn shows towards his "gods." But in him, as in them, there is yet wanting that higher degree of consciousness and of reason, which strives after a knowledge of the surrounding world, and which marks the first beginning of philosophy or "wisdom." This last is the much later attainment of civilised races; slowly and gradually has it been built up from lower religious conceptions.

At all stages of primitive religion and early philosophy, man is as yet far removed from monistic ideas. In searching out the causes of phenomena, and exercising his understanding thereon, he is in the first instance prone in every case to regard personal beings-in fact, anthropomorphic deities-as the agents at work. In thunder and lightning, in storm and earthquake, in the circling of sun and moon, in every striking meteorological and geological occurrence, he sees the direct activity of a personal god or spirit, who is usually thought of in a more or less anthropomorphic way. Gods are distinguished as good and bad, friendly and hostile, preserving and destroying, angels and devils.

84 pages - 5½ x 8½ softcover

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