Agape Research


  Our spirituality defines our humanity

Spirituality in Education
Rolf A. F. Witzsche

At the end of a long valley in British Columbia, Canada, the highway splits up into several directions. There, at the crossroads lies a small town named Hope. In one of its restaurants, near an emergency exits, is a small sign has been hung on a wall that talks about a Flat Earth Society. The sign has been there for a long time, apparently as a joke since the very notion is startling. After all, wasn't it proven by Christopher Columbus in his celebrated 1492 voyage, that the earth is a sphere? Sure, some of his sailors were fearful that the expedition would come to the end of the earth and fall off. Columbus knew there was no chance for that to happen. We wasn't a likely candidate for the Flat Earth Society. He was a pioneer in that regard, armed with the new scientific knowledge that the earth is indeed a sphere.

Still, there is a great tragedy associated with that story. The simple fact is, that the pioneering assumption that Columbus had acted on, had once already been established 2000 years before his time by Pythagoras in app. 500 B.C.. Nor was it Columbus who carried out the first transoceanic voyage. That had already been done over 1700 years earlier by the Egyptians, under captain Maui, who set out in 232 B.C. from the Red Sea  across the Pacific to the American continent. Nor was Maui's quest to capture new colonies. His purpose was to prove through navigation Erastosthenes' (275-194 B.C.) calculation of the circumference of the earth that had been made at this time. 

All of that knowledge had become lost.  We shouldn't celebrate therefore, that Magellan, a few years after Columbus (in 1519-1522), was the first voyager in history to completely circumnavigate the earth. We should cry about the tragedy that had kept humanity in the dark for 17 centuries, to complete a task for which Erastosthenes had already developed the tools prior to 232 B.C..

So, why did humanity suffer this tragedy? Why did we loose so much of a great culture that once existed? 

These are not idle questions, because by answering them we can discover why we are going that same route today again. This answer in turn, takes us to the question of who are? Who are we that we should have the capability to gain such fantastic knowledge as we have gained? There certainly isn't an animal in the world, or any other form of life that we know of, that is able of recognizing the earth as a sphere, and to accurately calculate its circumference, such as we human beings have, even 25 centuries ago.

What is a human being?

It appears that this question has already been asked by Homer in 800 B.C.. He faced a dilemma. The people of Greece, at this time, were a collection of primitive isolated mountain tribes. They were constantly being invaded and plundered. Homer apparently wondered how it is possible to inspire such a society to become a nation which a national identity and a common defense. He realized that in order to reach that goal, the people needed a rich and complex language. It is obviously impossible to contemplate complex concepts with a 150 word vocabulary. One has to be able to formulate ideas and express them. Also, the Greek society was spiritually suppressed by subjection to a mythology of countless overbearing Gods who where dominating the mental landscape with threats of punishment. That's what Homer set out to free them from. He succeeded.

Homer was a poet. With his famous epic poetry, the Illiad and the Odyessy, he crated a high level language and a higher identity of the people as human beings. He defined them as spiritual beings with a capacity that no animal has; the capacity to shape their world and their destiny. That mental ended the ancient Greeks' self-perception as being the playthings of the god or some mindless creatures bound to mere reflexes and reactions to them.

Out of this background came one of the greatest cultural development in human history. With this cultural development also came a profound economic development. However, with that, problems arose, the kind of problems that are associated with the sudden emergence of wealth and a suddenly emerging money mad society. 

However, there also arose a cultural solution to these problems as typified by the famous Athenian lawgiver, Solon. 

Solon formulated a set of laws to 'regulate' society. The laws for formulated in a manner that both the rich and the poor had to abide by them, voluntarily, by which society was able to continue to function and prosper. He gave the poor some rights that the rich could live with, and imposed 'contributions' (taxes) on the rich. It wasn't a perfect arrangement, but it was a profound step away from the dog eat dog anarchy that sudden riches often bring. He introduced a rule of principles.

He was asked near the end whether he gave his "best" laws. He said no. He said he gave them, "the best they were able to receive." 

Solon evidently recognized that the recognition of advanced principles depends on an advanced level of scientific and spiritual development in society. In other words, it depends on society's education, on its recognition of itself as a species of spiritual beings. 

That kind of development was very much evident in the work of Pythagoras who came onto the scene a hundred years later. One of his most famous achievements is the recognition of a universal principle in geometry, that for all right triangles the sum of the squares over the smaller sides is equal to the square over the larger side. In modern times this theorem is routinely utilized, however, only a few people in today's scientific world are able to prove geometrically that Pythagoras' theorem is actually true. That small example illustrates to some degree what remarkable breakthrough discoveries had been made in those early years, for which this period was later identified as the Greek Classical period.

The loss of a great culture through greed.

You may ask here: What about that the Peloponnesian War? What about the horrendous insanity of that war by which that highly developed culture was trashed? 

Yes, that war happened. Evidently, when the inner eye, the spiritual sense that defines our humanity, becomes dimmed, usually by greed, insanity begins to rule. So it was that for 27 years the Peloponnesian Wars raged (431-404 B.C.) in which much became lost. It was a senseless war. It was a colonial war in which the Athenian alliance first fought against the Spartans and their alliance. It was a war in which Greek people against one another, until at last the legendary arrogance of Athens that had started the whole mess. backfired, and Athens was totally defeated. With this defeat the classical age ended.

Rebuilding a civilization from the ashes.

Plato (427-347 B.C.) was born during the early years of this war. When the war was finally over he must have asked himself: How do we rebuild ourselves? How do we build a new civilization out of the ashes of the old? Evidently, Socrates (469-399 B.C.) asked himself the same question. It appears that both men looked at the culture that had existed before, that was based on the image of a human being as something far greater than an animal, with the capacity to discover universal principles that the eye can never see, but which the mind or mankind's spiritual sense, our human intellect, can enable us to behold. Plato tells us that what the eye sees is too limited to give us an accurate picture of the world in which we live. He illustrated his point in his parable of the cave.

We are told in the parable about some prisoners who are kept inside a cave, chained behind a wall. There is a fire lit in front of the wall, but out of sight from the prisoners. The prisoners can see only the light from it that is reflected off the walls of the cave, and in the light they can see the shadows of objects that are passed in front of the fire. Those shadow images define their world, signaling when food was being delivered, and so on.

One day, one of the prisoners breaks free. He scales the wall and recognizes how the shadows are created. Thus, he realizes that there is much more to the world than what he had believed it to be. Of course no one believes him. Eventually, he finds an exit from the cave and discovers that the entire cave is itself but a minute speck of a much larger reality. 

That is the kind of challenge that almost every human being is facing. We are challenged to discover with our spiritual sense, with our intellect, with our mind, the larger sphere of truth that we can never see if we keep ourselves confined to small-minded thinking. Being boxed in by small-minded thinking we are literally locked up, as in cave. 

Plato tells us that we encounter a paradox, when something doesn't look quite right, which forces us to open our eyes and look behind the facade in order to discover the principles that resolve the paradox. Plato suggested that this is what it means to live like a human being.

Socrates was of the same mindset as Plato. He recognized that a human being is of such a quality that he doesn't need to be taught anything in the standard sense. Socrates recognized that any human being is capable of making profound discoveries. Plato gave us a flavor of this in his "Meno" dialog. 

In the Meno dialog a friend of Socrates desires to be taught by him. Socrates replies, "There is no such thing as teaching." To prove his point, Socrates asked his friend, Menon, to pick anyone from his people, and he would illustrated the fact. Menon called a slave boys to him who worked on the plantation. Socrates challenged the boy with a complex task in geometry, that of doubling a square. He asked the boy a few questions, and in this manner, guided the boy to discover the answer by his own reasoning. When it was all over, Menon had to agree, that Socrates hadn't taught the boy anything. Still, he had managed to solve the problem.

Allow me to illustrate how complex a problem this was. A group of students made an experiment. They set up a table on the streets of Detroit and offered $100 to whoever could geometrically double the square. That must have seemed like an easy problem to solve. People lined up, eager to earn the money, but no one could do it. The money remained in the till, unpaid, by the end of the day.

What had happened? Are we lesser human beings than the slave boy had been? No, but we have lost sight of the Socratic Platonic method of scientific discovery. We have adapted the Aristotelian method of thinking instead.

The spiritual and scientific collapse

Contrary to popular opinion, Aristotle wasn't a 'student' of Plato. He was his intellectual enemy; his opposite. Aristotle's fame rests largely on his infamous theory of natural slavery. He said, that only what you see is the truth, period. Don't bother thinking. He said that there are a lot of people in the world who don't have it all where it really counts in the mental domain. Those deficient people are therefore the natural slaves. He also said that there are a few other people, a very few, who have a lot of it where it counts. Those, are therefore the natural masters; the super-men, born to rule. 

Naturally every empire loved Aristotle for his 'scientific insight' that justified slavery. The imperial oligarchy even kept his name and called themselves the Aristocracy. They became the foundation of Rome, and the bankers and the slave traders after Rome. 

Nevertheless, Aristotle was a fraud. His "natural masters" turned out to be greedy idiots. Rome was destroyed by their idiocies, and the slave traders and the bankers that became the Aristocracy in later years, perished too and destroyed all of Europe in the process.  Yes, they killed half of the population of Europe with their policies, back in 1347. They were looting Europe, creating mountains of debt and demanding high interest rates, as high as 40%. Does that sound familiar? Back in the 1200s already, Dante Alighiri (1265-1313), the famous poet, warned the Lombard bankers and financiers that they were destroying society, and themselves with it. They wouldn't hear it. They kicked Dante out. They exiled him. Some say the Venetian oligarchy eventually killed him.

Still, Dante had been right with his warning. In 1345 the Lombard dominated European financial system collapsed. On its way to ruin, the European economies were dragged down with it. The physical disintegration that caused, caused a biological disintegration. Then, two years later, when some Venetian traders brought the black plaque with them from China, it spread like wildfire. Half the population of Europe died as a consequence. In some places there remained not enough people alive to bury the dead.

The Golden Renaissance

At the end of this horrendous chaos, some people must have wondered what on earth is human existence all about? So they searched for answers. As they did, old manuscripts of Plato were discovered . 

In those days before the printing presses manuscripts had to be copied by hand when copies were needed. This job was unially done in the monasteries. In order to speed the process young boys were brought in. They were taught to read and write, and copy. But while doing this work, they were reading Plato. They leaned the art of making scientific discoveries. They became independent thinkers. When this phenomenon became apparent, a formal teaching order, called "The Brotherhood of the Common Life, was set in the 1390s, based on this processes." Many of the leaders of the Renaissance were educated in this way. They were educated to become geniuses. The Renaissance was to a large degree built on a paradigm shift back to Plato's way of thinking.

The Renaissance was eventually destroyed by the Venetian empire. The platonic method of thinking will always be a danger to any oligarchic society. If people discover the truth about themselves as independent thinkers and sovereign human beings, endowed with the capacity to make discoveries of universal principles, any ruling oligarchy is doomed. It would loose its power. 

Venice saved itself from this process. It set out to wipe out the Renaissance. It staged a deep reaching religious and cultural warfare that tore apart the European scene from 1511 to 1648. The old Aristotelian notion was given new life in the process. 

Thomas Hobbes, and many philosophers like him, declared the human being to be basically an animal, a very evil animal at that. They said that mankind is so hopelessly evil that society must surrender it sovereignty into the hands of a sovereign (a king), who would protect society from itself. It was also said that love has no place in politics and business. This treacherous philosophy opened the scene to eighty years war and the worst military bestially that would not be superceded until the 20th Century. So, once again, half of the population of Europe was wiped out as the result of insanity.

The last in this string of wars was the Thirty Years War.  All of that was brought to an end in 1648 by another reverse paradigm shift, back to the platonic method of thinking. A new image emerged for the human being, with a new sense of worth and dignity. The end result became the Treaty of Westphalia in which each nation recognized and respected the sovereignty of any other, regardless of its size and power. All hostilities were stopped, and all financial debts were forgiven as well. Nor did the humanist revival stop there. The idea was put forward, almost immediately, to create a true nation state republic in the platonic sense, which had been a Renaissance ideal. It was to be a republic in which the human being itself is sovereign and the general welfare of society is the forever focal point. It was to be a republic bound by a common recognition of universal principles; a kind of community of principle. 

The USA became that precious republic. It was created by the brightest minds of Europe that came out of the Treaty of Westphalia background, working in collaboration with the brightest minds in America. The outcome was a historic achievement.

That celebrated outcome, however, created once again a problem for the imperial oligarchy which had relocated itself by this time, from Venice to England. In order prevent any further American style independence movements from totally destroying the British colonial empire, the empire fought back. It fought on the battle field, without avail. Then it fought like the Venetian's did, that had once again destroyed the Renaissance spirit that had endangered the empire. This time around the war against the Renaissance spirit was fought by Lord Shelburne of the British Empire, and by his helper Jeremy Bentham, who together with the Martinist circles in France organized the French revolution. In the shadow of the Jacobin terror of that revolution the scientific elite of France was systematically eliminated. Shortly thereafter Napoleon was put in power, who spread the same kind of destruction throughout Europe as the first full-fledged beast-man fascist on modern history.

The Socratic and Platonic method remained alive in America

Only America lay beyond the reach of the beast-men. The civil war was eventually set up in an attempt to bring America down, but that failed. The scientific and spiritual development that had created the USA continued on for a while longer, carried by the Socratic/platonic method of thinking. One might say the continuation created a quiet Renaissance in America while Europe was being torn apart once again.

One of the remarkable developments that came out this third renaissance in history, and virtually at the high point of it, was the rediscovery of the science of Christianity. It brought to light the divine Principle of scientific mental healing, reinstituting the Christ healing that had ushered in the Christian era 2000 years earlier. 

The discovery was made in Massachusetts, in 1866, just a year after the Civil War ended. The discoverer was a woman by the name of Mary Baker Eddy. She became widely known in the decades that followed, as the discoverer and founder of Christian Science. She founded her own church under that name in 1879, to carry forward the discovered method of scientific spiritual healing that the mainstream churches were too rigid to accept. 

Over the years volumes of testimonies of healing have been compiled, of virtually every disease known to man. She added to her textbook on Christian Science a hundred pages of testimonials of healing that represent but a tiny fragment of the healing work that had been accomplished at this time.

Still, Mary Baker Eddy accomplished a great deal more than that. She created an extensive pedagogical structure that incorporates all the essential elements of the Socratic/platonic method of thinking. It comes to light as an educational platform designed to advance the Renaissance in thinking by which her profound healing discovery was made, and by which it can be maintained and be advanced. Unfortunately, this part of Mary Baker Eddy's work remains still virtually unknown, even in the Christian Science field.

Mary Baker Eddy's pedagogical structure is extremely extensive. Naturally, it is related to her discovery. However, if one begins to explore its design, it comes to light as essentially a scientific method for making discoveries about our humanity and ourselves as human beings. Herein lies its greatest value. It is built on the great discoveries made in the past. For example, she didn't impose a doctrine or a finished product that one can sit down and study. Instead, she presents but a vague general outline and leaves the rest open for individual discovery. She also provides the building blocks to be used with the pedagogical structure, but she doesn't tell anyone how to apply them. That implies that one need to first discover the principles that the structure is supposed to represent, and then to discover how the building blocks fit the principles. 

There are many building blocks provided for the pedagogical structure which combines eleven individual complete structures, some of which are quite extensive in themselves. One of them is made up of 144 parts. It is mind boggling to note how many combinations and permutations are possible with 144 unique elements? If one were to add them all up, the result would likely yield a number that is over 150 digits long. There probably are not as many grains of sand on all the seashores of the world to match that number. In other words, she has set up a huge canvass for our scientific and spiritual development.

Now, when one is done with putting the whole thing together to the best of one's ability, the question arises; What has one got? There simply is no one around who can confirm what is right and what is wrong. She provided no examples, nor the finished product, only a structure that forces one to ask oneself evermore questions which advance one's own self-development, and scientific self-discovery as a human being.

Socrates would have applauded her, I am certain, he would have. He would have said, why would anyone need to be taught anything if anyone is capable of making discoveries? Plato would have said, that's a paradox, creating other paradoxes; a heaven for making discoveries. Her pedagogical structure forces one to answer oneself questions that one world normally never dream of asking. That kind of platform is the ultimate platform for self-education, isn't it?

A structure for scientific and spiritual development

So, what does her structure look like, painted with a broad brush? 

Basically, it looks like a foursquare matrix. A foursquare matrix is made up of sixteen elements. Four elements wide, and four elements high.

 

1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16

Here the fun begins. What are we going to do with it? 

In horizontal alignment, the four rows represent four levels

If we look at the matrix in terms of four horizontal rows, which combines the elements horizontally, such as element 5, 6, 7, and 8, we find that the combined elements are all related to the same level on the matrix, representing the same level of thinking.

In the case of our foursquare matrix, we have four levels of thinking identified. In the most basic sense, Mary Baker Eddy has defined these four levels as:

1. the divine
2. the spiritual
3. the moral
4. depravity

She also gave us several more sets of definitions to work with, which are all synonymous in defining the four levels of the matrix, but for the sake of simplicity, they are not shown here.

In vertical alignment - four development flows

One can also perceive the matrix elements vertically aligned (such as 2, 6, 10, and 14) into an arrangement of four columns. 

Mary Baler Eddy gives us some hints as to what the columns may present. In the Glossary of her textbook she gives us a set of four definition for the four rivers in Genesis 2. The four rivers are:

Pison (river). The love of the good and beautiful, and their immortality.

Gihon (river). The rights of woman acknowledged morally, civilly, and socially.

Hiddekel (river). Divine Science understood and acknowledged.

Euphrates (river). Divine Science encompassing the universe and man; the true idea of God; a type of the glory which is to come; metaphysics taking the place of physics; the reign of righteousness. The atmosphere of human belief before it accepts sin, sickness, or death; a state of mortal thought, the only error of which is limitation; finity; the opposite of infinity.

The metaphor of a river tells us that there is something flowing or moving. In the mental sense, this means development. In other words we are dealing with four unique development stream here, each of which is related to a unique type of development, as defined by the definition of the rivers.

Among several other definition for the columns, Mary Baker Eddy gives us four geographic references, identified as, northward, eastward, southward, and westward. At first these references don't make a great deal of sense, but when we relate them to the daily cycle of the sun, they become rather significant, as is shown below.

 

1 - Pison

northward

the hue of dawn

2 - Gihon

eastward

the sunrise

3 - Hiddekel

southward

heat of the day

4 - Euphrates

westward

the sunset

 Mary Baker Eddy defined the geographic references as follows:

Northward, its gates open to the North Star, the Word, the polar magnet of Revelation; 

eastward, to the star seen by the Wisemen of the Orient, who followed it to the manger of Jesus; 

southward, to the genial tropics, with the Southern Cross in the skies, - the Cross of Calvary, which binds human society into solemn union; 

westward, to the grand realization of the Golden Shore of Love and the Peaceful Sea of Harmony.

 

The matrix seen as 16 individual elements

Naturally, our 4x4 matrix can also been seen as 16 individual elements. There, of course, continue to relate to the four defined levels and the four defined columns as development streams. It is obviously not by accident that Mary Baker Eddy created her textbook on Christian Science to match this structure, by creating it as a structure made up of 16 parts (16 chapters).

No the challenge arises of how to logically map the chapters to the matrix. A study shows that the textbook chapters are arranged in a upwards unfolding sequence, similar to the columns that represent an upwards developmental flow. The means that one will have to correlate the starting chapter of the textbook with the starting position (the lowest position) of the first column. The rest of the correlation unfolds upwards, column by column as shown below.

 

4 8 12 16
3 7 11 15
2 6 10 14
1 5 9 13


But what do we do with that?

What has anything of that got to do with education?

It has a great deal to do with education, because the goal in education is to learn the process of making discoveries; of discovering Truth. Education has been misrepresented for more than a century. It has been defined as a process of passing on facts. That perception is primitive and dangerous. 

Consider the following: Who determines what is factual? 

  • The teacher says: Dear students, the fact is what I tell you it is. Repeat after me and you will pass the course. 

  • The newspaper owner says: Dear citizen, the fact is what I print. Repeat what I print and you'll be speaking the truth. 

  • The politician says: I represent the truth, vote for me! 

  • The priest says: Son, let me give you the truth. Believe it, whether it makes any sense or not, and repeat it faithfully. 

And so the public becomes 'educated.' 

The danger is that this process of accepting what is paraded as the truth by countless people, leaves one vulnerable to the imposition of countless errors and countless lies. Germany's Dr. Joseph Goebbels had pointed out that the bigger the lie that is imposed, and the more often it is repeated, the more firmly do people accept it as the truth. Obviously he knew what he was talking about. After all, he was Hitler's propaganda minister.

So, how do we protect ourselves from that exposure. How does one determine the truth for oneself? Plato would answer that one begins a process of discovery. Plato's Meno dialog illustrates this process well. Mary Baker Eddy utilizes that process too. She is the only educator I know, who utilizes this process exclusively, in all of her pedagogical work. She never says, repeat after me. To the contrary. As a first step she required society to discover the actual existence of her pedagogical structure. Then she required it to ponder what it is all about, what principles it represents. Instead of providing answers along the way, she demanded that questions be asked and that one finds answers for them. Obviously, that process open up one's inner resources. In a very real sense, she has set up a stage for education that involves no teaching whatsoever. Indeed, the challenges that she presents cannot be addressed by methods of teaching.

The first column

The first column all by itself presents a huge challenge.

Her textbook chapter for position 3 is "Marriage." One would expect to find this subject referenced on the moral level. Instead, she presents it on the spiritual level. And more than that, in the next chapter, right above it, she challenges people to recognize that in the final analysis the very concept of individual spirits and souls is a scientific impossibility. Obviously, if God is All-in-all, and is reflected in man and the universe, there exists but one single humanity that we all express, that we all share, that reflects one divine Soul, one Mind, one Spirit, and one universal divine Love. 

an you imagine what this means? That poses a huge challenge. The challenge is that we uplift our sense of marriage to embrace that higher reality, even to embrace the principle of universal Love.

Just imagine what it means in the social domain to embrace the principle of universal love? In the present marriage context that is regarded as treason. A long time ago I decided to write a novel about it, to explore the concept of universal love in the social domain. By the time I was finished, almost two decades later, the project had resulted in a series of five novels under the summary title, The Lodging for the Rose. 

I might add here that this huge challenge is imposed already by considering just the first one of the four columns. The rest pose similar challenges.

To me the first column that deal with the challenge of our universal oneness represents the dimension of our peace and our universal kiss.

Historically, the principle of universal love is found expressed, even though faintly, in every period of renaissance. It was a central part of Homer's work, and the work of Plato and Socrates. It stood behind the Golden Renaissance, and profoundly so behind the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. It was also reflected again shortly thereafter in the fundamental design of the United States of America as a republic dedicated to the general welfare of society as a founding principle. In other words, we have been trying to come to terms with this principle for the last 3000 years, maybe even longer.

The second column

An equally great challenge unfolds in the second column, in the way Mary Baker Eddy set up her references. That challenge is centered on sex. 

One of Mary Baker Eddy's numerous structures that is related to her foursquare matrix is her illustrated poem Christ and Christmas. The book contains 16 verses associated with illustrative paintings. To two of these contain references to sex. One reference is associated with position 6 (shown above) which is located in the "moral" domain. Also her definition for the second river is of a sexual nature, "The rights of woman acknowledged morally, civilly, and socially." Naturally, the higher we raise the concept of "woman," in this development stream, from the moral to the spiritual level, and from the spiritual level to the divine, the more 'complete' the sexual identity becomes. A beautiful description of the fully complete concept can be found in Revelation 12:1, where the revelator talks about "a woman clothed with the
sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars" (the stars in the crown of rejoicing).

Actually the concept of humanity being "clothed with the sun" supercedes our common sense of completeness. The sunlight includes not only all the colors in perfect balance, but is also d metaphor for life-giving warmth. 

Rather than sex reflecting incompleteness, our humanity that we are all a part of, which includes the qualities of sex, is rich with a superabundance of these qualities, regardless of our individual sexual specialization. That image certainly takes us far beyond the current axioms that have created the deep sexual division of humanity that has isolated almost the whole of humanity from one another along sexual lines.

The unity of the sexual completeness of the human being is clearly reflected in the biological process of human generation. The sexual specialization doesn't begin until quite late in the genetic setup process. Until that point the male and the female fetus are identical. Only in the third or forth week does the presence of a y-chromosome cause a minute variance with which the gender specialization begins that adds another dimension to the riches of our humanity that we have yet to learn to embrace more fully and to cherish more profoundly. One day perhaps, we will find the riches of our being reflected in the radiant brilliance of the sun.

The higher sense of the rich completeness of the human being can also be seen to stand in metaphor for the spiritual completeness of the human being in terms of our profound intellect and our capacity to discover, understand, and create. The capacities that unfold out this spiritual completeness is the true power that powers our economies and transforms and enriches the physical world. The development of physical power, such a nuclear power systems or whatever else powers our economies, are but secondary reflections of the spiritual power of the human being. 

All of this adds up to a profoundly bright picture. In my estimation, Mary Baker Eddy's second column represents the wondrous dimension of our joy as human beings. It is our profound spiritual right to live in that dimension. Indeed, we have claimed this right to some degree on countless occasions in history. We find it reflected in every period of renaissance, in creations of beauty expressed in art, music, literature, architecture, clothing, and an evermore productive living. When we loose sight of it, however, our civilization invariably collapses and disintegrates into poverty, war, diseases, and death.

The third column

The third column represents to me the dimension of our power as human beings.

The central key element that I find in Mary Baker Eddy's references for her third column, relates to the human capacity for dialog and the development of high level languages to express profound ideas and to share and communicate those ideas. The ancient Greek mountain tribes had an extremely small vocabulary. Homer had enriched this scene by leaps and bounds in order to lift his people out of the nightmare of their mythologies. This 'spiritual explosion' created the stage for one of the richest humanist cultures in history. Dante did the same thing in Italy 2000 years later. He created a rich and beautiful language that furnished the stage for the unfolding of the Golden Renaissance.

We do require a high level language to discover, develop, and understand complex ideas with which we push forward the leading edge of human knowledge. It is in this domain where the great battles are fought with which we solve the human problems. It is also the arena in which the Christ idea unfolded most profoundly in universal history. Christ Jesus emerged at the end of the great cultural development period that was started by Homer, carried forward by Pythagoras, Solon, etc., and uplifted again by Socrates and Plato and so on. One can see many aspects of Plato's method of thinking reflected in Christ Jesus' works, thereby giving rise to an acknowledgement that Plato was a major cultural stepping stone in developing the spiritual background for the emergence of Christianity.

Mary Baker Eddy's rediscovery of Christ healing on a scientific basis resulted likewise at the high-end period of a chain of profound cultural developments. These had begun with the Golden Renaissance. They were carried forward in the European Renaissance centered around the Treaty of Westphalia and the founding of the United States as the first nation state republic in history. These in tern became the foundation for a cultural renaissance in America in which Mary Baker Eddy made her breakthrough discoveries. 

High level spiritual achievements, such as Christ healing, are evidently deeply intertwined with advanced humanist and cultural development, together with advances in scientific development. When these elements are lacking in human consciousness, or are allowed to decay, history tells that Christ healing fades into obscurity alongside with many other cultural dimensions.

The fourth column.

To me, the fourth column represents the dimension of human freedom. Mary Baker Eddy simply labeled it, Divine Science. 

Her fourth river is focused on the development of the science of the divinity of the human being. This too, is a dimension where a great deal of development is needed in our modern world. This development has become urgent as we enter the 21st Century, since we have become evermore determined to blow ourselves up with nuclear weapons. We have boxed ourselves in, mentally, into a commitment to what we call "Mutually Assured Destruction." We regard this as a platform for security in the nuclear armed world. For fifty years we have struggled to get out of the confinement of the box in which our physical destruction is virtually assured, but have found no way to do it. 

We see ourselves as being hopelessly impotent, in this regard and many others, against the grinding of regressive forces that have deep roots and shape our world contrary to our hopes, needs, and wishes. Except this perceived impotence is not justified. In many cases our consciousness has been 'privatized' and shaped to conform with the ruling axioms of an imposed world of repressive ideologies. Fortunately, this repressive confinement does not reflect the basic reality of our being as a divine reflection endowed with the power to shape the universe. The development of divine Science is an essential aspect for gaining the dominion over our world, which is rooted in our spirituality as human beings.

Our political and economic entrapment is only one of many similar boxed in conditions, which we have the power to free ourselves from. For thousands of years we have bowed to the demands of imperialism, even while they are destroying our culture, our economies, to the point that they are threatening our very existence. Likewise we have been boxed in individually, by false axioms in social and ideological terms, and by the perception of iron-clad material limitations. None of these are divinely legitimate, and we do have to power to step out of these entrapments. Quite literally, we do have the power to become the sons and daughters of God in our self-perception, to acknowledge who we in reality are.

It appears that we have a long way yet to go in this development stream; in recognizing and developing an understanding of the divinity of our humanity. We are human beings, but we are also divine beings. We don't exist to be boxed in, but to develop our capacities and to embrace infinity. Scientific mental healing is but one example of our innate capacity as human beings to free ourselves from these boxed in conditions. The quality of our existence and our future, even the very assurance that we will have a future, depends on the development of this dimension of our humanity.

The final analysis

It becomes evident form the above that the kind of education that we most obviously need is not the kind of "repeat after me" process that we call education today. It becomes evident that education needs to be a process for making discoveries and advancing our spiritual and scientific development. Naturally, we want to reach back into the past in the course of this process, to relieve the great discoveries of the greatest geniuses of humanity, and find that genius that is reflected there, also reflected in our own genius, and so to learn the process of making discoveries and of determining the truth.

The truths that Mary Baker Eddy has discovered on the road of her own spiritual development is the simple fact that the division and isolation of our humanity does not reflect the reality of our being. Only universal Love does. Neither does the sense of incompleteness and individual insignificance, which has become prevalent, reflect the reality of our being. They have no foundation to exist in as much as they do not reflect the completeness and fullness of God in which we find our being.

These kind of things cannot be taught. They are elements of an ongoing discovery and an unfolding recognition and acknowledgement of discovered truth, including the communication of that truth. The power of our humanity is in the mental domain, in scientific advances, including our power to heal. Nor can the divine nature of our humanity as human beings be taught. The freedom that results from that can only be gained through processes of scientific and spiritual development. As we step away from the repeat after me environment into the dimension of true education through processes of discovery and spiritual and scientific development, we find that we can begin to master the challenges before us. Mary Baker Eddy has discovered for herself that this can be done. In order that this process of self-discovery can become a universal process, she created the most extensive pedagogical structure ever created, that is so advanced in its profundity that it took a hundred years just to be recognized to exist.

A few elements of it have been recognized as far back as the 1940s by a teacher of Christian Science named John Doorly. Some subsequent teachings have been developed based on these early discoveries. Still, it took another forty years before the vast scope of Mary Baker Eddy's pedagogical structure was beginning to come to light. Even that took almost twenty years to unfold. How long it will be until humanity will begin to generally avail itself of the new direction in education that Mary Baker Eddy has put on the table cannot be predicted. One can only present her work as a critical choice by which civilization can be uplifted beyond anything that we yet dreamed of. One can forecast however, that this potential will one day be realized. All history tells us that infinite scientific and spiritual development is the destiny of humanity. It could be realized in our age. It might also not happen until the end of the next ice age 100,000 years from now, or the one after that. The question of how soon depends on humanity's response to the critical choice that Mary Baker Eddy has put before us all, and that includes our individual response to it.

 

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Spirituality is not something that we acquire. It is the nature of our being. It defines our divinity and our humanity. In it, we find our riches, our integrity, and our economy; our joy, our peace, our power, and our love.

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