The Absolute  (1894) 
by William James Roe

SOME who call themselves atheists deny the existence of an ultimate authority of conduct, and, considered as a bodily being, they are right.
But such people when they do a sum in mental arithmetic admit the incorporeal existence of mathematics. When they analyse a substance they are consenting to the great fact of an overruling chemistry.
Mathematics and chemistry are spirits to be propitiated, if you choose, by sums and equations, analyses and syntheses, and “worshipped ” by diligence and devotion, with faith in the spirit of principles, works in the process, and thanksgiving for results.
The sophistry, commonly called a paradox, contained in the fable of Achilles and the tortoise, and in the cissoid of Diocles and the asymptote seems to me transparent enough. The endeavor to solve it rationally is like trying to see with the ears or taste with the eyes.
The answer is true mathematically,–the result can never be. In that case the solution is a function of relation. The answer is also true physically,–the result must be. In that case the solution is a function of action.
Superficially action seems a form of relation ; but it is really radically different. Relation is static ; action dynamic. Relation is the constancy of rest, or the variant of motion ; but action is that which changes relation, which moves or arrests movement.
The “spirit" of relation is accuracy, justice or right. The “spirit” of action is power, whether force or energy, or forces or energies.
But besides these two “spirits” Relation and Action, which are basic, ultimate, and unconditioned in their originality in the universe, is a third—the “spirit” of Volition, which is quite self-evidently neither relation nor action ; but that which impels to change of relation, and which whatever its form is essentially motive or will. I. Relation is that which is ; Its God is I AM. II. Action is that which does ; Its God is I MAKE. III. Volition is that which wills; Its God is I LOVE. These three are the primal triad of principle ; self- existing, without creator or destroyer, without father or mother, or beginning of days or end of life.I / IV. And these three are one, for this trinity of principle is essential to unity of being. V. This Being is spirit, and this spirit is God. This category, which has the audacity to claim for itself infallibility, may be confounded with that of Spinoza or the speculative rhapsody of Swedenborg ; but after all only Aristotle and Kant approximated to the scientific category, and even they only approximated. These, and all other thinkers of whose thoughts the writer is aware, have seen visions and dreamed dreams. They have seen the seven hued bow of truth clearly as it appears, but of the reality back of appear- ances, the simple science of ultimate certainty,+nothing. Having now the three ultimate principles and being satisfied that they are axiomatic we are prepared to deduce by processes as rigorously logical as those of geometry, problems, and theorems with their corollaries in the domain of the science of religion. VI. The Union of Relation and Action produces Law. VII. The Union of perfect relation, which is Justice, with perfect action, which is Power, produces perfect Law, which is Wisdom. VIII. The Union of Relation and Volition produces Character. IX. The Union of perfect Relation—Justice, with perfect Volition—Love, produces perfect Character— Equity. X. The Union of Volition and Action produces Nature. XI. The Union of Love and Power, perfect forms of Volition and Action, produces Life, the perfect form of Nature. A1 I 2 3 X The above diagram of the asymptote may serve to illustrate nature in its threefold departments. First, the Right line, A X, inflexible, fixed, rigid, implacaable, having a perceptible location at A where we perceive, or conceivable where we conceive, and being prolonged in theory to X, supposed to be infinitely distant, representing RELATION. Second, the curve B X, so related to the right line as to continually approach it and become tangent at the infinite distance X. As this line changes its direction and therefore relation to the line A X at every point, it represents with accuracy ACTION. Third, that region, which is neither rigid being, nor continuous change, the region of “spirit,” of the infinite, of VOLITION, is rep- resented by the continuous effort to reconcile Relation and action ; the constant progression of evolution. This is the region of the science of religion, the region of the paradox, where the inconceivable is as certain as the inevitable ; where loss is not failure, but success, where, like Columbus, we sail west, confident of finding there our orient. Politics, economics, ethics, all these and more are practical departments of this realm. These are religion's industrial arts, which can only be carried to perfection when the truth upon which they must be based to make them effectual is recognised as science. Faith in axioms is the foundation of exact science. Credulity no longer imposes upon thought ; science does not profess beliefs, it states facts. - That which in ourselves we recognise as conscious- ness is a function of the three absolute existences. We combine in our individual unity the trinity of relation in our being, of action in our energies, and of volition in the motives that move us. When I discern an eternal principle for each temporal incident; when I see the accuracy with which all the phases and forms of nature perform their tasks; when I see how immeasurably more intelligent the “atom " is than I, the conclusion is irresistible that the universe is endowed with more than intelligence. That consciousness which is fulfilled in all living cannot fail with life itself. There may be no a God; but there is God, and that Being is more than con- scious. He is consciousness self.

This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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