The Inner Life

“All are needed by each one. Nothing is fair or good alone.”

THE most important epoch in human life begins with the discovery of the inner world, the world of individual consciousness, the home of creative thought, the inceptive point of action. For this discovery involves an entire change of attitude toward life, and is the clue to the obscurest problems, the beginning of all philosophical truth.

The consequences are, in fact, so great and so distinctly individual that one can hardly hope to suggest them to another.

The present series of discussions is, however, an analysis of the inner life, and the reader who has followed me thus far is ready to consider the vital issues logically suggested by the foregoing articles, and to apply to his particular inner life the conclusions which have become more and more emphatic as we approached the problem from successive points of view.

Our general subject has been the meaning and scope of action. We have found the ultimate meaning of life in the fact that the universe is the progressive manifestation of God, whose world plan involves the attainment of universal freedom and harmony, the realization of the highest moral and spiritual ideals. But the meaning of life, the nature of experience, for you and me, we have everywhere traced to the second great fact, namely, that man thinks and acts, that the entire universe is colored by the mood in which he approaches it, his reaction in relation to it. The meaning of finite action is that man is a creative organ of the universe, a free moral agent. The sphere of action in each of us is co-extensive with individuality. The limitations of action are the limitations of law; for example, the successive stages of evolution, no one of which can be omitted, and the bounds placed upon us by the fact that we are moral beings, members one of another. The genesis of action we have traced to the creative effort, arising in the far inner world of belief, conviction, will, love, and genius. The highest ideal of action we have found to be cooperation, adjustment to the advancing harmony of life, service, love. We have rejected the theory that man can do anything he pleases ; and although we discarded the easy optimism of believers in fate, and the doctrine that “all is good,” we still found it possible to believe in the ultimate goodness of things.


Horatio W. Dresser.

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