IT might well be considered ridiculous for anyone to undertake to give a lecture on Cosmic Evolution, because, of course, it is a subject which neither I nor any other mortal knows anything about, and consequently we are utterly unable to express ourselves upon it. Nevertheless, there are certain deductions we can make under the law of analogy which may lead us to very interesting realms of thought.
We have for several weeks been considering the evolution of the atom from stage to stage, until we included the entire solar system under the term "atom." We studied first, along general lines, the atom of substance, then we studied the human atom, and later we applied what we knew about both these atoms to the still larger sphere, or atom, a planet, which we called a planetary atom; then we extended the idea still further to the atom of the solar system, predicating it as having a position within a still greater whole.
We studied three methods of evolution, or development, in connection with this subject. We  considered the aspects which were evolved by means of these atoms, their qualities, or psychic nature, and we saw how in the atom of substance the only psychic quality we could postulate about it was the quality of intelligence. We passed on then to atomic forms, subhuman forms, and saw how the forms in the two kingdoms of nature, the vegetable and animal, demonstrated another quality of the Deity, that of sensation, feeling, or embryo love and emotion; we also found that in the animal kingdom a third quality, that of rudimentary mind, began to show itself, and that when we arrived at the human atom, we had three aspects demonstrating—intelligence, love, and a central will. We extended this concept to the planet and to the solar system, and found that, working out through the form of the solar system, we had a great Intelligence or Mind; that the object of His utilisation of form was the demonstration of another quality: love or wisdom, the whole being energised by a great central WILL. We deduced therefrom that this central Will might be the manifestation of an Entity Who informs the entire system, from the very lowest atom of substance up to that great Life Who energises the planetary scheme.
Having laid down these fundamentals we passed on to the consideration of the evolution  of the conscious life within the atomic form, finding that a higher type of consciousness is consistently evolved by each atom; that the human consciousness is distinguished from all other lower forms in that it is self-conscious; that man is an intelligent will, consciously performing every action, becoming aware of his surroundings, and working out a definite line of activity with a specific objective in view. The self-consciousness of man leads on again to something wider still, to the consciousness of the great planetary Spirit, which may perhaps be best expressed in the term 'group consciousness.' As evolution proceeds man will pass from the stage of self-consciousness in which you and I now are, to a realisation of what is meant by group consciousness, something as yet practically unknown, except as some beautiful ideal, and a dream which may, at some distant time, materialise. Group consciousness, again, will logically lead on to that which we, for lack of a better term, might call God consciousness, though I deprecate the use of the word God because of the many quarrels it causes in the world between the different thinkers of the human family. These differences are founded largely upon differences in phraseology, upon the terms used to express fundamental ideas, and upon varying methods of organisation. When the scientist, for  instance, speaks of force, or energy, and the Christian speaks of God, and the Hindu uses terms analogous to the 'I am that I am,' or the Self, they are all speaking of one and the same great life, but have lost much time in endeavouring to prove each other wrong, and to demonstrate the accuracy of their own interpretation.
We next saw that, roughly speaking, atomic evolution could be divided into two parts or stages; one stage we called the atomic stage, and another we called, for lack of a better term, the radio-active stage. The atomic stage is that in which the atom pursues its own self-centred life, is concerned entirely with its own evolution, and the effect of the contacts it makes. As evolution proceeds, it becomes apparent that in time the atom begins to react to a greater life outside itself, and in this you have the period analogous to that of the form-building stage, in which these atoms of substance are attracted by a greater charge of energy, or positive electrical force (if you like to call it such), which draws them, or attracts them to itself, and builds out of them a form; these atoms of substance, in turn, become then electrons. We found, then, how in your case and mine, as in the case of every self-conscious unit, the same procedure is followed, and that we have a central life holding within the sphere of its influence the  atoms that constitute the different bodies, mental, emotional, and physical; that we manifest, that we move and carry on our life, and work out our purposes, by attracting to ourselves the atoms of substance that are adequate to our needs, and through which we can make the necessary contacts. These atoms are to us, the central life, what the electrons are to the central positive charge in the atom of substance. Then we saw that if this is true, namely, that there is a self-centred stage, or purely atomic period, for the atom, and for the human atom, then again for the atom of the planet, indwelt by its central spiritual life, we should be able to predicate logically a similar state of affairs. Thus we were led into the field of speculation. We considered then whether all that transpires upon our planet may not be due to the self-centred condition of the Entity Who is working out His purposes by means of it. Finally we carried forward the same idea in connection with the solar system itself.
We passed on then to the consideration of the second stage, that which the scientist has been studying in connection with the atom of the chemist and physicist for the last twenty years, the radio-active stage; we saw how there was a condition analogous to this in the evolution of the human atom, and that there is a period preceding  it which parallels the atomic stage, wherein man is purely selfish, entirely self-centred, and pays no attention to the welfare of the group of which he is a part. This prior stage is very apparent in the world to-day. A large percentage of the human family is in the atomic stage, but we must remember that it is a protective and necessary one; it is passed through by every unit of the human family in the process of finding its place within the group, and enables it to develop something of value to give to that group when the second stage is entered.
In the world to-day there are also units of the human family who are passing into the second stage, they are becoming radio-active and magnetic, they influence other forms and are becoming group conscious; they are passing out of the "I am" stage into the "I am that" realisation; the life and purpose of the great Entity of Whose body they are a part, is beginning to be cognised by them; they are becoming aware of the purpose back of the life of the planetary Spirit Who is the subjective impulse lying behind objective manifestation upon our earth. They are beginning to co-operate with His plans, to work for the betterment of their group; and the difference between them and other atoms of the human family is that they are now group conscious, they have a wider horizon, a group recognition, and  a larger purpose. At the same time they do not lose their self-consciousness, nor their own individual identity, and their own spheroidal life remains, but they put the whole force and energy which flows through them not into the working out of their own plans, but into an intelligent co-operation with the greater Life of which they are a part. Such men are few and far between, but when they are more in number, then we can look for a change in world conditions, and for that time to arrive, of which St. Paul speaks when he says: "There should be no division in the body, but the members should have the same care one for another. Whether one member suffer, all members suffer with it, or one member be honoured, all rejoice with it...it is the same God which worketh all in all. There are diversities of gifts but the same spirit; there are differences of ministries (or service) but the same Lord." When we are all group conscious, when we are all aware of the purpose which lies back of manifestation upon our planet, when we are consciously active, and throwing all our energy into the working out of group plans, then we shall have what the Christian calls the "millennium."
Now, if you have in the evolution of the atom of substance, and the human atom, these two stages, if they are the basis of all future development, then within the planetary atom you will  have the same two stages, that in which the planetary Life is working out His own plans, and a later one in which He falls in with the greater plans of the Life which animates the solar system. Not yet being in a position to have an interview with the planetary Spirit, I am unable to tell you whether He is as yet co-operating in the purposes of the solar Logos; but we might be able to get some idea of the general purposes by the study of race evolution and the development of the great international plans within the planet. We must bear in mind also, that, though we human beings consider ourselves as the highest and greatest manifestation upon the planet, there may be other evolutions through which the central Life may be working, of which we know as yet but little. We must study not only man, but should consider also the angel evolution, or the deva evolution, as the Hindu calls it. This opens up for us an immense field of study and speculation.
Again, within the solar system we shall expect to find analogous stages. We shall find, probably, that the great Life animating the entire solar system, the great Entity Who is using it for the working out of a definite purpose, energises it by means of these great centres of force which we call planetary atoms; that these centres, in their turn, work by means of lesser centres or groups, passing their energy on down through  groups of human atoms to the various kingdoms of nature, and thus to the little atom of substance which, in its turn, reflects the entire solar system. This question of atomic life, if we think it out, is vastly interesting, and leads us into many lines of conjecture. One of the main points of interest which it opens up is the intimate correlation, and close interaction of the atoms of every kind, and the all-pervading unity which must ultimately be recognised. If we have found that there comes a stage in the evolution of all atoms of every kind in which they feel and search for their place within the group, and from being positive become negative in regard to a greater life, if it is true in all these manifestations of consciousness there is a self-conscious stage and group-conscious stage, is it not logical and possible that perhaps, after all, our solar system is but an atom within a greater whole? May there not be for our solar system, and our solar Logos, a central larger life towards which the informing Spirit within the solar sphere is gradually attracted, and towards Whose consciousness our Deity aspires? Are there anywhere indications of such an attractive force, or goal? Are there greater spheres of solar life outside our system, that have a definite effect upon it? This may be but a speculation, but it has its points of interest. If we study astronomical books, and seek to ascertain whether  astronomers say that this is so, we shall meet with a vast amount of contradictory opinion; we shall find that some astronomers say that within the Pleiades is a central point around which our solar system revolves; others say that in the constellation of Hercules is the point of magnetic attraction for our solar system. On the other hand, you will find this flatly contradicted. We shall find some astronomers talking about "star-drift," and saying that the drift or trend, of certain stars is in a specific direction; others argue that the distances are so vast that it is impossible to determine whether certain systems are following a definite orbit or not.
Nevertheless, if we go to some of the ancient books, those which we call mythological (and a myth may be defined as something which holds a great truth hidden until we are ready to understand it), and if we study the ancient books of the East, we shall find that in all of them there are two or three constellations which are regarded as having a peculiarly intimate relation to our solar system. Towards these views modern astronomers as yet hold an agnostic attitude, and from the point of view of materialistic science, rightly so. What I seek to emphasise here is that a topic upon which scientists and astronomers are divided, yet which is nevertheless a subject of  contention, and one upon which the Oriental books sound a clear note, must have a basis in fact, and that there is probably an aspect of truth in the assertion. I would personally suggest here that that aspect of truth will be found, not along physical Hlines of interpretation, but along the lines of consciousness; that it is the psychic evolution that is going on within all atoms (using psychic in the sense of the subjective consciousness) which is hinted at in these books, and the emphasis is laid upon our having an occult relationship with other solar systems. Here the truth may perhaps be found. The life subjective may be one; the energy flowing between them may be one; but in the physical form lies diversity. Perhaps in the evolution of the intelligence, in the manifestation of love, or group consciousness, and in the development of will or purpose, lies unity, the oneness of the subjective life, and the eventual recognition that within the form, and in the form only, lies separation and differentiation.
The ancient books of the East point out, in considering this subject, that the seven stars of the Great Bear, the seven stars of the Pleiades, and the sun Sirius, have a very close connection with our solar system, and that they hold an intimate psychic magnetic relation to our solar Logos.
We have seen that the goal for the atom of substance is self-consciousness; and that for the Entity Who is evolving through a planet, the goal may be God consciousness. Now, of course, when you consider the solar Logos words fail, yet for Him also there must be a goal. You can call this Absolute Consciousness, if you like. Let us again illustrate this. Our body, we have been told, is made up of a multiplicity of little lives, or cells, or atoms, each having its own individual consciousness. This corresponds to its self-consciousness. The consciousness of the physical body, viewed as a whole, might, from the atom's point of view, be regarded as its group consciousness. Then we have the consciousness of man, the thinker. He is the one who energises the body, and turns it to his will—that is, to the atom in his body, analogous to what we might call God consciousness. Our self-conscious realisation is as far removed from that of the atom as the consciousness of the solar Logos is from ours. Now to the atom in our body that consciousness of the solar Logos might be called Absolute Consciousness, might it not? This thought can be extended to the human atom, to the planetary atom, and you can further predicate that the solar Logos reaches out to a consciousness beyond His own analogous to that which stretches between the atom in your body and Him. Here  you have a very marvellous vista opening up. Yet this is, in itself, encouraging; for if we study closely the cell in a physical body, and consider the long road that has been travelled between its consciousness, and that which a man now knows to be his, we have for ourselves the promise and hope of future achievement, and the incentive to persist in our endeavour.
The old books of the East have held secreted for many ages the truth about much which is only now beginning to sink into the consciousness of the Occidental. They taught the radio-activity of matter thousands of years ago, and so perhaps, after all, there may be an equal amount of truth in their teaching about the constellations. Perhaps in the stars that we can see in the distant heavens, and in the life that is evolving within them, we have the objective of our solar Logos, and the influences that are flowing towards him, attracting him towards them, and making him, in due course of time, radio-active. In the Eastern books they say that in the sun Sirius lies the source of wisdom, and that the influence or the energy of love emanates from there. Then they say that there is a constellation that is even more closely connected with our solar Logos, the reason being that He is not, as yet, sufficiently evolved so that He can respond completely to Sirius, but He can respond to the influence of the seven sisters of  the Pleiades. This group is a most interesting one. If you will go to the dictionary and look up the word "electricity," you will find it suggested that it may be traced back to the star Electra, one of the seven sisters, and supposed by some to be the little lost Pleiad. The Eastern teachers say that in the mystery of electricity is hidden all knowledge, and that when we have fathomed that we shall know all there is to be known. What the relationship of the Pleiades to our solar system may be, it is not possible for us to say, but even our Christian Bible recognises it, and Job speaks of "the sweet influences of the Pleiades," whilst some of the Oriental Scriptures affirm that the connection lies in sound or vibration. Perhaps the Pleiades are the source of the atomic life of our Logos, the active intelligent aspect, that one which was first developed, and which we might call electrical matter.
Then there is the Great Bear. There is much that is interesting said about the relation between the Great Bear and the Pleiades in Oriental writings. The seven sisters are said to be the seven wives of the seven stars of the Great Bear. Now what is perhaps the truth back of that legend? If the Pleiades are the source of the electrical manifestation, the active intelligent aspect of the solar system, and their energy that which animates all matter, they may perhaps  represent the negative aspect, whose polar opposite, or the positive aspect, is their seven husbands, the seven stars of the Great Bear. Perhaps the union of these two is what produces our solar system. Perhaps these two types of energy, one from the Pleiades and the other from the Great Bear, meet, and in their conjunction produce that blazing forth in the heavens which we call our solar system.
The relationship of these two constellations, or rather their subjective relationship, must surely have some basis in fact, or we would not have it hinted at in the different mythologies. There must be something that connects them, out of all the myriads of constellations, with our solar system. But when we endeavour to give it a purely physical application we go astray. If we work it out along the lines of the subjective life, and connect it with energy, quality, or force, we are liable to stumble upon truth, and find out some of the reality which may underlie what appears at first sight to be a senseless fable. Anything that widens our horizon, that enables us to take a broader vision and a clearer view of what is going on in the evolutionary process, is of value to us, not because the accumulation of ascertained facts is of value, but because of what it enables us to do within ourselves; our ability to think in wider and larger terms is increased;  we are enabled to look beyond our self-centred point of view, and to include within our consciousness other and different aspects than our own. In doing this we are developing group consciousness, and we shall realise eventually that the apparently stupendous facts which we fought and died for down the ages, and emphasised as the entire truth, were after all but fragments of a plan, and infinitesimal portions of a gigantic sumtotal. Perhaps, therefore, when we come back to earth again, and can look back upon the things that interest us now, and which we consider so important, we shall find how erroneous facts were as we then apprehended them. Facts, after all, do not matter; the facts of the last century are not facts now, and in the next century scientists may laugh at our dogmatic assertions, and wonder how we could have looked upon matter as we did. It is the development of the life, and the relationship of the life to all that is around, that really matters; and, above all, the effect that we are having upon those with whom we are associated, and the work we do, which affects, for better or for worse, the group in which we find ourselves.
In closing this series of lectures, I cannot do better than quote again from St. Paul, where he says: "I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the  glory which shall he revealed in us...for we are saved by hope...for I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God."