Pagan and Christian Creeds HTML version

17. Conclusion
In conclusion there does not seem much to say, except to accentuate certain
points which may still appear doubtful or capable of being understood.
The fact that the main argument of this volume is along the lines of psychological
evolution will no doubt commend it to some, while on the other hand it will
discredit the book to others whose eyes, being fixed on purely MATERIAL
causes, can see no impetus in History except through these. But it must be
remembered that there is not the least reason for SEPARATING the two factors.
The fact that psychologically man has evolved from simple consciousness to self-
consciousness, and is now in process of evolution towards another and more
extended kind of consciousness, does not in the least bar the simultaneous
appearance and influence of material evolution. It is clear indeed that the two
must largely go together, acting and reacting on each other. Whatever the
physical conditions of the animal brain may be which connect themselves with
simple (unreflected and unreflecting) consciousness, it is evident that these
conditions--in animals and primitive man--lasted for an enormous period, before
the distinct consciousness of the individual and separate SELF arose. This
second order of consciousness seems to have germinated at or about the same
period as the discovery of the use of Tools (tools of stone, copper, bronze, &c.),
the adoption of picture-writing and the use of reflective words (like "I" and
"Thou"); and it led on to the appreciation of gold and of iron with their ornamental
and practical values, the accumulation of Property, the establishment of slavery
of various kinds, the subjection of Women, the encouragement of luxury and self-
indulgence, the growth of crowded cities and the endless conflicts and wars so
resulting. We can see plainly that the incoming of the self-motive exercised a
direct stimulus on the pursuit of these material objects and adaptations; and that
the material adaptations in their turn did largely accentuate the self-motive; but to
insist that the real explanation of the whole process is only to be found along one
channel--the material OR the psychical --is clearly quite unnecessary. Those who
understand that all matter is conscious in some degree, and that all
consciousness has a material form of some kind, will be the first to admit this.
The same remarks apply to the Third Stage. We can see that in modern times
the huge and unlimited powers of production by machinery, united with a growing
tendency towards intelligent Birth-control, are preparing the way for an age of
Communism and communal Plenty which will inevitably be associated (partly as
cause and partly as effect) with a new general phase of consciousness, involving
the mitigation of the struggle for existence, the growth of intuitional and psychical
perception, the spread of amity and solidarity, the disappearance of War, and the
realization (in degree) of the Cosmic life.