The Democracy of Mind

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Now that so much is thought and talked of the world being made safe for democracy, it is interesting to analyze just what is meant by such an assertion and by what methods the task may be accomplished. Pure democracy is unknown to the governments of the world to-day, although it may be found, in very nearly the exact expression of the word, in some of the cantons of Switzerland, and in certain New England townships. All students of history know that the word democracy derives from the Greek and means “rule by the people.” In its Greek form, democracy originated as long ago as 594 B.C., when Solon, known as the founder of Athenian democracy, drafted laws by which he established a new code of equality for the people. At one time democracy was defined as mob rule or rule by the masses, a definition that has not been able to stand the test of time because such a classification fails entirely to take into consideration intelligence, and implies a rule by mere numbers, that utterly disregards the power of right idea.

“It is not until democracy is seen as government by the one Mind that opposition to government will cease.”

Clarisse Hale

With the passing of years, which is in reality the unfoldment of eternity, any conception of government undergoes a change, and it is not until democracy is seen as government by the one Mind that opposition to government will cease. The establishment, without contravention, of the rule of Mind and its expression, to be effective must be accomplished not by the sword or any human agency but through education in its highest sense. The phrase, making the world safe for democracy, generally conveys to people the thought that through the unrivaled prestige of those nations most nearly approximating individual freedom, the ideal of democratic government may be assured of never being overthrown by an attack of autocracy in any form of limited human control. And this is undeniably true, for the nations most nearly exemplifying the democracy of Mind can never be destroyed; the truth that they express is the power of spiritual idea against which the aggression of so-called reactionary forces is entirely futile. The machinery of government may be needed, but when recognized as the activity of Principle, it can never tyrannize, it can never crush out liberty of thought and action, it can never be other than truly democratic.

With the passing of years, which is in reality the unfoldment of eternity, any conception of government undergoes a change, and it is not until democracy is seen as government by the one Mind that opposition to government will cease. The establishment, without contravention, of the rule of Mind and its expression, to be effective must be accomplished not by the sword or any human agency but through education in its highest sense. The phrase, making the world safe for democracy, generally conveys to people the thought that through the unrivaled prestige of those nations most nearly approximating individual freedom, the ideal of democratic government may be assured of never being overthrown by an attack of autocracy in any form of limited human control. And this is undeniably true, for the nations most nearly exemplifying the democracy of Mind can never be destroyed; the truth that they express is the power of spiritual idea against which the aggression of so-called reactionary forces is entirely futile. The machinery of government may be needed, but when recognized as the activity of Principle, it can never tyrannize, it can never crush out liberty of thought and action, it can never be other than truly democratic.

“The machinery of government may be needed, but when recognized as the activity of Principle, it can never tyrannize, it can never crush out liberty of thought and action, it can never be other than truly democratic.”

In The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, beginning on page 246, Mrs. Eddy gives a definition of pure democracy which is applicable for all times and circumstances, and which, seen in its metaphysical aspect and demonstrated, will prove the millennium at hand: “The Magna Charta of Christian Science means much, multum in parvo,—all-in-one and one-in-all. It stands for the inalienable, universal rights of men. Essentially democratic, its government is administered by the common consent of the governed, wherein and whereby man governed by his creator is self-governed. The church is the mouthpiece of Christian Science,—its law and gospel are according to Christ Jesus; its rules are health, holiness, and immortality,—equal rights and privileges, equality of the sexes, rotation in office.” This quotation is familiar to all Christian Scientists and is their ideal of democratic government—government “by the common consent of the governed,” in other words, the consent of all those subject to the government. No one can be governed without his consent, a fact clearly recognized by Paul when he warned his hearers that they would be servants of that to which they yielded obedience, whether of sin or of righteousness. It is only the yielding obedience or consenting to the suggestions of error that allows the individual to be overwhelmed and controlled by the autocracy of sin and disease or false belief in any form. When recognizing the direction and guidance of Principle, manifested as the abundance of good, it can be said that one lives in the democracy of Mind.

History shows that the world has been making constant strides away from personal domination toward individual freedom or self-government whereby is acknowledged the freedom of the individual to be governed by Mind, to demonstrate the guidance of Principle in his course of conduct. Three outstanding historical documents marking the advent of a higher understanding of democracy are the Magna Charta, mentioned in the above quotation, the Declaration of Independence, and Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. In comparing the Declaration of Independence with Christian Science, on page 106 of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures Mrs. Eddy has this to say: “Like our nation, Christian Science has its Declaration of Independence. God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, and conscience. Man is properly self-governed only when he is guided rightly and governed by his Maker, divine Truth and Love. Man’s rights are invaded when the divine order is interfered with, and the mental trespasser incurs the divine penalty due this crime.” Throughout, the teachings of Christian Science emphasize the fact that man is influenced alone by God, Principle, and being amenable only to the law of God, the individual finds priestcraft, medical domination, human will—autocracy in any of its myriad appearances—of none effect.

“When recognizing the direction and guidance of Principle, manifested as the abundance of good, it can be said that one lives in the democracy of Mind.”

The human will to rule or ruin in its autocratic determination to deprive man of the inalienable right to his own demonstration of the word of God is the antipode of true democracy which finds its practice summarized in the Sermon on the Mount. Christianity and the democracy of Mind are identical. Contrariwise, the apathetic phase of mortal mind that desires to be ruled and the phase of mortal mind that lusts to rule are equally expressions of the autocracy of the human mind. Woolsey in his Political Science says: “The extreme democratic spirit, like the despotic, is the substitution of will for law, and thus all constitutional limitations are so many curbs to its hasty action. But the will of the individual cannot be made the rule for others, unless he persuades them that he knows what is for their interest better than they do.” Thus if one allows himself to be deceived into submitting to the control of the human will, either of his own or another’s, the individual will surely reap the harvest of autocracy in losing his ability to demonstrate Principle. The perception that one lives under the rule of Mind permits of no personal interference or domination but enables a man to recognize the absolute government of God expressed through every phase of experience.

Neither wars, revolutions, nor abortive attempts to overthrow governments will in and of themselves bring liberty to those in bondage, whereas the knowledge that man, the image of Mind, is governed by God, will make manifest in every way the freedom that has been the desideratum for which men have struggled throughout the ages. “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God,” then, is the method of Christian Science, by which democracy may be established for all mankind.

(Originally published in the March 19, 1921 Christian Science Sentinel)

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