From Supremacy to Liberty and Love
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Supremacy to Liberty and Love
J. William Lloyd.
Evil pursues, and, driven continually by fear, disgust and all repulsions, the individual is put to it to get away, and to better himself and vindicate the inner impulse, fights and anon tastes the bliss of victory. All nature goes through the same process, follows the same method, and rises through battle.
And it is no sham fight, either, from the standpoint of the lower nature, for the peril is very real, no quarter is given, defeat means death or ruin. If it were otherwise there would be no stimulus, for these sluggish lower forms are not easily moved, or gifted with vivid imaginations. Nothing but fear and pain of the sharpest kind can move them.
But gradually they lift and gradually they conquer, and as they lift the ideal is gradually born into their consciousness and becomes ever more potent. A mere dim mind-picture of safety, food and comfort, at first, it continually grows more beautiful and vivid, until its drawing equals and at last exceeds the driving of Fear.
And, as the ideal gains, fear grows less, because the individual is with every victory gaining in courage, ingenuity, self-confidence, and the habit of success. Courage has always been worshipped, and rightly, for it tells just how far along an individual is on the path. It is the accumulated fruit of numberless victories, begins with the first one and grows with every successor. Fear may make a man fight desperately, but only courage enjoys peril. Cowardice is reversion and sin.
As fear grows less, hatred grows less; the battle begins to be enjoyed. There is dawning of respect for the enemy. At first the struggle is always for supremacy, and the victor is merciless, revengeful, wasteful, but gradually this softens. The victim, first slain, devoured, assimilated, or despoiled, begins to be an object of pursuit and desire, and thus is, in a manner, loved; in some moment of satiety is spared, perhaps enslaved, perhaps petted and embraced, perhaps emancipated and made an equal. From the rudest beginnings all sorts of kinder feelings sprout and grow, and aid the reconciliation and unity.
This holds good through all existence. The first stage is Supremacy, but later evolve Justice, Generosity, Liberty, Equality, larger and larger Unity, or Love.
Observe this in the relation of man to lower nature. At first, as man gets the victor's power, he is simply a fiend of destruction, and blasts all he touches, but gradually he changes and becomes himself an agent and creator of order, blessing and higher beauty—the desert is irrigated, the swamp drained, the mountain tunneled, the torrent bridged. Cultivation and protection take the place of wanton, wasteful, ugly spoliation, and man emerges the Artist and Protector, the Workman Beautiful and Beloved, where before was but the vandal.
And in man's relations to his fellows the same truth holds. The law of all lower nature is that Might is Right. All animals, plants, brutes know only this, with faint foreshadowings of higher adjustments, and man, in his early or brute stage, obeys the same law unhestitatingly. Force rules, and Supremacy is the only good.
At first the lust is only to rule, and to benefit self at others' expense, but this does not satisfy. The evils of such a state grow huge, and more and more intolerable, and force, finally, an uplift. It is inevitably perceived, sooner or later, that separateness and selfishness bring disaster and pain to self, and the growth once started in that direction cannot stop till it ultimates in mutual loving kindness, helpfulness, liberty, equality and peace.
Whenever the battle of life has lifted a man high enough to have ideals of peace, unselfishness, co-operation and liberty he has become evolved enough to no longer need the unmitigated pressure of evil as a driver. Instead, his ideals are now so high and attractive, and the habit-currents of his life so strongly set toward the center, that he is in a fit state to receive Evil as his Opportunity and, as a matter of fact, it does sooner or later dawn upon him in that light, and he no longer avoids it, but co-operates with it; no longer fears it, but welcomes it; no longer hates it, but lovingly thanks it for its services.
When this happens the Dawn is upon him, and he is attaining the Reconciliation.
- J. William Lloyd, “From Supremacy to Liberty and Love,” Mind 15, no. 4 (April 1905): 373-374.
- J. William Lloyd, Life’s Beautiful Battle: or, The Human Soul before Pain (Westfield, New Jersey: The Lloyd Group, 1910).