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Philosophic Encyclopedia

Questions Concerning Animals

Question: Why do animals, which are a lower evolution, have an instinct which seems so much more reliable than the reason of human beings?

Answer: The answer to that question has to do with the descent of the Ego into matter, but in the first place, we must differentiate between the separate animal spirits and the group spirit, which is their guardian. The separate animal spirits are as yet not self-conscious, hence they act without question according to the suggestions of the group spirit. The latter is an entity belonging to a different evolution, and it functions in the Invisible Worlds where things are much more apparent than they are here. It follows, therefore, that what we call instinct is really the suggestions of the group spirit in the Invisible World which guides the animals.

The human spirits, on the other hand, have descended directly into the Physical World and are, consequently, blinded to a certain extent by the denser matter of this plane of existence. An illustration may perhaps serve to elucidate the reason of the fact that although the spirit is exceedingly wise in the higher worlds, the increased materiality which it attains on account of its descent necessarily obscures that wisdom.

The hand is the most valuable instrument of man and its dexterity is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in the case of a musician. A master musician may produce from his beloved instrument the most soul stirring melody by the caressing touch of his well trained and sensitive fingers, but let him put on a pair of gloves and at once the delicate touch has vanished; if he adds a second pair of gloves over the first pair and these are thicker and of heavier material, he will probably be unable to produce even a melody, and should he finally put a pair of mitts over the gloves, he would be unable to play at all, but would produce discord should he make the attempt. The various gloves on the hand of a musician find their counterpart in the different vehicles which the spirit puts on in its descent into matter. The mitt corresponds to the physical body.

Anyone seeing the musician attempt to play with the mitt on his hand, and who had not heard him play before he put on gloves, might suppose him incapable of playing, but the inference would be wrong. The human Ego is in a similar position, its spiritual powers have been obscured by the vehicles in which it is at present encased, but there will come a time when it has learned how to use these vehicles properly and then its spiritual power will shine forth in a splendor at present unimaginable.

Question:Can you throw some light on what our attitude toward the lower forms of life should be? Have we the right to kill anything harmless, since every living thing is in a sense our brother? How about the venomous insects and reptiles?

Answer: There is only One Life in the Universe, which is God's life. "In Him we live, and move and have our being." And not only we, but all that lives is thus a manifestation of God. We are in time to become creators, as He is a Creator. But so long as we brutally destroy the forms of other beings we are hindering ourselves. The inquirer is right when he says that the lower animals are our brothers, but, sad to say, instead of caring for them and inspiring them with confidence and love, we have managed to make ourselves feared by every animal upon the face of the earth by the ruthless destruction we have spread among them, and it seems but a just retribution that we, ourselves, should be in constant fear of microscopic life in the form of bacilli, which cannot be killed by gun or knife.

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As for the destructive insects and reptiles, they may in many cases be said to be an embodiment of our own evil thoughts and produced by our own unclean habits. Science has shows us how by proper sanitation we may get rid of them, at least in a very great measure, without the necessity of killing them. The larger reptiles, such as snakes, are not as dangerous as they are often thought to be. In the temples in India, where certain classes of people have cultivated an attitude of absolute harmlessness by refusing to kill even the smallest thing, one may see as a daily occurrence venomous snakes crawling among the people congregated there, never doing them the slightest harm, and if we would cultivate a harmless attitude toward the lower creatures they would soon learn to trust us as they now fear us. Stories are on record of sailors who went to desert islands where man's foot had never before trodden, and found the birds there perfectly devoid of fear until a number had been killed by the invading ruffians. Then the birds learned to fly away at the approach of man.

We have also made human beings into beasts of prey—thieves and robbers we call them—who waylay their fellow-men, deprive them of their goods and often harm them bodily, even to committing murder, and all as a result of our harsh treatment which is dictated by fear. If we had love we should have no fear, "for perfect love casteth out all fear"; and if we had no fear, nothing could harm us, for the fearless and trusting attitude is a safer protection than pistol and lock. Therefore, we should cultivate that attitude of love for everything that lives and breathes; we should cease killing the lower animals by the millions for food, and for sport, which is the worst form of cruelty. An attitude of love toward our fellow men would generate in them similar emotions and locksmiths and gun makers would very soon be useless. We complain of the enormous taxes necessary to support a strong police force, the machinery of the courts, great jails and penitentiaries, but all of these institutions would disappear as if by magic if we would replace fear by love. The Bible pictures to us a time when the lion and the ox, the little child and the venomous reptile shall all play together in peace. That may indeed become a fact, for the beasts of prey have not always been carnivorous. In the far past man had his share in their development, and in the future it will be his task to change these conditions.

Question: Are not venomous and destructive reptiles created by the evil thoughts of men, so far as the form is concerned? And, therefore, is it not an act of love to kill them and thus liberate the divine spark within so that it may occupy a higher form?

Answer: None of the animal forms which we see about us have been created by man. All these forms, from the highest to the lowest, are the emanations of group spirits, which are spiritual entities belonging to another evolution than the human kingdom, But man is a creator by means of his thoughts, and the evil thoughts, the thoughts of fear and hatred, do take form and in the course of centuries they crystallize into what we know as bacilli. The bacilli of infectious diseases are particularly the embodiments of fear and hate, and therefore they are also vanquished by the opposite force, courage. As a tuning fork will commence to vibrate when we strike another tuning fork of the same pitch, so also will these microscopic germs. If we enter the presence of a person infection with a contagious disease in fear and trembling, we most assuredly draw to ourselves the death dealing poisonous microbes. If on the other hand, we approach that person in a perfectly fearless attitude, we shall escape the infection, particularly if we are prompted by love. But love does not prompt us to kill in the usual sense of the word. It is true that if we could deal directly with the life of evil and poisonous things and help them into a higher form, we might be doing good; but in the first place we are not capable of judging when that present form has outlived its usefulness, and, therefore, we cannot presume to take the responsibility of depriving the informing life of its instrument in loving kindness. The only time when we may sometimes properly kill for love is in case an animal has been maimed beyond chance of recovery, and we kill it to end its sufferings.

Question: What is a Group Spirit, where is it, and what does it look like?

Answer: As a man has a body composed of many cells, each with an individual consciousness, so is a group spirit an entity functioning in the Spiritual Worlds and possessing a spiritual body composed of many separate animal spirits. The group spirit itself cannot function in the Physical World, but it evolves by sending the different animal spirits into a form of body which it creates, and which then forms a species or tribe of animals, and the group spirit guides all these animal bodies by means of suggestions which we call instinct. When the body of an animal dies, the animal spirit has unconsciously derived a certain experience from functioning in that vehicle, and after a time it is reabsorbed into the spiritual body of the group spirit, where it remains for some time while the group spirit assimilates the experience gathered by that separate animal spirit. Thus in time the group spirit grows and evolves. So do the animal spirits which are its wards. They will become human in a future incarnation of the earth, and then the group spirit will look after them as race or a national spirit until they have become perfectly capable of taking care of themselves individually. The group spirits of the animals are in the Desire World and circle the surface of the earth. The group spirits of the plants are in that part of the Region of Concrete Thought which occupies the center of the earth, and the group spirits of the minerals have not yet properly entered the atmosphere of our earth. They are in the Region of Abstract Thought.

The group spirits of the animals are very often seen in the Desire World having human bodies and animal heads. The illustrations upon the Egyptian temples represent in a crude way the appearance of these group spirits. The trained investigator finds no difficulty in conversing with them and often he has cause to marvel at their erudition.

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Question: Are animals amenable to the Law of Causation?

Answer: No, not in the sense of being morally responsible. Of course, if an animal jumps out a window from a high building, that as a cause will produce lesions according to the nature of the fall it sustains, just as when a human beings jumps out of the window. But in the case of the animal there is only the physical effect shown by the hurt it suffers, while the man who deliberately commits such an act not only sustains certain lesions, but he is also morally responsible for the instrument which he possesses, and the law of causation brings to him an adequate moral retribution of such a nature that he will learn to take care of his instrument and not seek to destroy it by such acts in the future.

The reason why the animal has no moral responsibility is that is has no reasoning power, but ordinarily acts by direction of the group spirit which we call instinct, and it may be that instinct has instilled a fear into the animal which causes it to commit an act resulting in injury to its body. Before anyone can be morally responsible to the law of causation, he must have a certain free will and choice, also the power of reasoning properly, and, therefore, we reiterate that as animals are devoid of these attributes, they are not at all amenable morally to the law of causation.

Question: Do animals live after death?

Answer: That which lives is the Spirit, which has neither beginning nor end, It Is. But what you mean is, most likely, does it persist in the shape of an animal? To that question we may say yes, it persists for a longer or a shorter time, according to the stage of its evolution, in a desire body made of the material of the Desire World. Even the beetle that crawls over the sidewalk and is stepped upon may be seen by the clairvoyant to walk a few feet away and then gradually fade to nothingness. It persists only for a few moments in its shape before the spirit returns to the central source of the group spirit. In the case of a horse, a cow, or any of the higher animals, there is a correspondingly longer time and more consciousness in the Desire World than in the case of these lower forms. As an illustration we may mention a case which attracted considerable attention a few years ago when Rider Haggard, the English novelist, published a remarkable dream. He had a dog to whom he was very much attached, and one night he dreamed that the dog came to him showing signs of embarrassment and distress, beckoning him to come along. Rider Haggard in his dream followed the dog which led the way some distance to a brook. There among some bulrushes, it showed Rider Haggard itself lying dead, looking up at him in mute and piteous appeal for an explanation.

When Rider Haggard woke the following morning, he remembered the dream most vividly, but took no notice of it until later in the day when it was discovered that the dog was missing. After a search had been made in the immediate neighborhood, Rider Haggard finally betook himself to the spot seen in his dream. There he found among the bulrushes the body of his dog in the very position he had seen it in his dream. Explanations, of course, could not be given; it was a puzzling experience and that was all. But to the esotericist it is very plain that the intelligent dog, having met death and finding itself in the Desire World at night, went to its master, who was at that time also outside his body, and brought him to the place of the accident in order to obtain his help and explanation.

Question: When a pet dog or cat dies, does the entire Group Spirit to which it belongs die at the same time? Also what becomes of the animal soul, and does the human love and care it has received help it on its upward journey?

Answer: The question shows that the inquire has not the proper idea of what a group spirit is. As our body is composed of innumerable cells, each cell having its own little cell life, but all the cells subjected to our own central intelligence, so the group spirit of a species of animals is a spiritual entity belonging to a different evolution and having a spiritual body composed of many evolving animal spirits. These animal spirits it sends into incarnation from time to time into the animal bodies of its tribe, one spirit to each body, and at death they return to the group spirit, having gained a higher grade of consciousness than when they were born. This helps the group spirit to evolve, and in return it governs the spirits of the separate animals in its tribe. Like all other spirits, a group spirit cannot die. It is the guardian of the animal spirits, and as they evolve the spiritual body of the group spirit undergoes a metamorphosis. When the separate animal spirits have evolved sufficiently, they become individualized human beings, but continue in charge of the same group spirit, as we see nations or races under the domination of a race spirit. They do not become their own masters until they have evolved even beyond the point of having family or national ties. That was why Christ said that "unless a man leave father and mother he cannot follow me," for father and mother are bodies—they are ties and clogs. The spirits have no father and no mother, but are all one in the ultimate.

As to what becomes of the animal soul at death, we may say that after passing out of this body it soon returns to the group spirit, and the love and care which we have given it naturally further it greatly in its evolution, for while the wild animals act entirely under the dictates of the group spirit by that which we call instinct, the domestic animals show a capability of thought, entirely beyond their normal evolution at the present time. They have received that ability from us on the same principle that when we take a wire highly charged with electricity and place another wire which is not charged close to it, the uncharged wire will become charged with electricity of a lower voltage. In a similar manner the animal which comes in contact with human beings is not itself capable of thinking, but learns to do so in a measure by this contact. And we may safely infer that those animals which have become domesticated will in time become the teachers of their less advanced brothers.

Question: What substance does a person or animal throw off whereby they can be traced, as, for example, criminals are traced by bloodhounds?

Answer: When a clairvoyant looks at other persons with etheric sight for the first time, he is usually astonished at beholding showers of stars, pyramids, double pyramids and all other geometrical forms issuing from their hands and faces, and he wonders greatly what they are. Later on, he learns that they are the crystals of which his body is composed and which are thus being excreted by the skin. Most of the excretions remain in the clothing, and furnish bloodhounds or dogs with the necessary starting point for their search. As these atoms decay, they emit an effluvia similar to that of all decaying bodies. This effluvia we sense ourselves where soiled clothing is left unlaundered for some time. The dogs, having a keener scent than human beings, distinguish between the effluvia from one person and another, and as the atoms left by a person fleeing from justice are strewn along the path he has taken, it is easy for the bloodhound to distinguish these from the atoms of other people or animals for a short time after the fugitive has passed.



Contemporary Mystic Christianity


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