—August 15, 1894
How Theosophy Affects One’s View of Life
—A Paper Read Before the Dublin Lodge.
In asking you to consider with me the influence of the system of thought called Theosophy upon one’s view of all the things which are included in the term Life, I have to preface my remarks by the confession that I have not extracted my ideas from portly volumes, or indeed, engaged in any great research; and I have further to ask you to believe that what you will hear is the most unbiased statement, as far as possible, on the subjects which will necessarily come under notice.
The outlook of any individual mind is not a constant quantity; it is to some extent determined by education, environment, and the innate tendencies; but it is always subject to alteration; it is constantly feeling the influence of subtle forces and circumstances, and it changes with every fresh experience and every new sensation. Still these influences seldom evince their presence by a great reversal of the mental attitude, and we are best able to sense them by seeing how the actions of the individual, which are very largely the voluntary or involuntary expression of his standpoint, represent at different times changes in that standpoint. Indeed, one’s own experience will supply plenty of material to work upon; for, I daresay no one will insist that his present attitude towards the rest of the universe is identical with that of ten or five years ago, or even one year. A little examination will show that the mental processes which precede some definite action are altered in some important manner from those of 1890. The question which is of importance is to find out how the change has come about, and whether one is to allow extraneous events to mast his mental conclusions, or one is to become, through wisdom acquired by effort, the conscious master of his destiny.
Theosophy has for its leading tenet the absolute unity in essence and correlation of all life, whether visible, invisible, material, intellectual, spiritual, and this affords at once a clue to the consideration of the present subject; for, according to the view which the individual thinker takes of the powers and relations of the mind itself will be his view of the duties and responsibilities which these powers and relations involve; in other words, Ethics or moral philosophy must be based upon metaphysics. Now, I wish to be as brief as possible in pointing out the theosophic view of the mind, and soul, and their powers and relations; and were it not that it is necessary for the unity of my remarks, I would take refuge in referring to the numerous able, intellectual, and forcible expositions of this matter which you have heard in this room.