We need not take up much of your time in speaking of the wonderful complex organism of some of the insect family, which are next on the scale above the crustacea. The wonders of spider-life—the almost human life of the ants—the spirit of the beehive—and all the rest of the wonders of insect life are familiar to all of our readers. A study of some good book on the life of the higher forms of the insect family will prove of value to anyone, for it will open his or her eyes to the wonderful manifestation of life and mind among these creatures. Remember the remark of Darwin, that the brain of the ant, although not much larger than a pin point, “is one of the most marvelous atoms of matter in the world, perhaps more so than the brain of man.”
Closely allied to the crustacea is the sub-family of the mollusca, which includes the oyster, clams, and similar creatures; also the snails, cuttle-fish, slugs, nautilus, sea-squirts, etc., etc. Some are protected by a hard shell, while others have a gristly outer skin, serving as an armor, while others still are naked. Those having shells secrete the material for their construction from the water. Some of them are fixed to rocks, etc., while others roam at will. Strange as it may appear at first sight, some of the higher forms of the mollusca show signs of a rudimentary vertebra, and science has hazarded the opinion that the sea-squirts and similar creatures were descended from some ancestor from whom also descended the vertebrate animals, of which man is the highest form known today on this planet. We shall mention this connection in our next lesson, where we will take up the story of “The Ascent of Man” from the lowly vertebrate forms.
And now, in closing this lesson, we must remind the reader that we are not teaching Evolution as it is conceived by modern science. We are viewing it from the opposite viewpoint of the Yogi Teaching. Modern Science teaches that Mind is a by-product of the evolving material forms—while the Yogi Teachings hold that there was Mind involved in the lowest form, and that that Mind constantly pressing forward for unfoldment compelled the gradual evolution, or unfoldment of the slowly advancing degrees of organization and function. Science teaches that “function precedes organization,” that is, that a form performs certain functions, imperfectly and crudely, before it evolves the organs suitable for the functioning. For instance the lower forms digested food before they evolved stomachs—the latter coming to meet the need. But the Yogi Teachings go further and claim that “desire precedes function,” that is, that the lowly life form “desires” to have digestive apparatus, in order to proceed in the evolutionary scale, before it begins the functioning that brings about the more complex organism. There is ever the “urge” of the Mind which craves unfoldment, and which the creature feels as a dim desire, which grows stronger