Dr. Bucke, in his work Cosmic Consciousness, published some ten years ago, stated that aerial navigation would become an accomplished fact in the near future, and that it would revolutionize the social and economic conditions of the world.
So far as the advent of the new means of travel is concerned, he has proved to be a true prophet, and I am convinced that his prophecy of its revolutionizing aspect will shortly begin to be proved true. Of this great revolution in its completion Dr. Bucke says:
"Before aerial navigation boundaries, tariffs, and perhaps, distinctions of language will fade out. Great cities will no longer have reason for being, and will melt away. The men who now dwell in cities will inhabit, in summer, the mountains and the sea shores; building often in airy and beautiful spots, now almost or quite inaccessible, commanding the most extensive and magnificent views. In the winter they will probably dwell in communities of moderate size. As the herding together, as now, in great cities, so the isolation of the worker of the soil will become a thing of the past. Space will be practically annihilated; there will be no crowding together and no enforced solitude."
The above is a beautiful picture of the result upon human society of the discovery of aviation, and it will no doubt prove true. Not that such a condition will be brought about rapidly. It will at least require several hundred years, and it is highly probable that it will be several thousand years before it is fully realized. As yet we are only in the crudest beginnings of flying, and the mastery of the air as a medium of human transit affords more scope for improvement and invention than any of the mechanical modes of locomotion hitherto employed. Invention will follow upon invention, through a long period of time, until men will be able to propel themselves through the air with a swiftness, a safety, and a skill perhaps equal to that of the migratory birds for the swiftest type. It was Edison who long years ago declared that the ultimate and perfected flying-machine would be built on the principle of the bird. While conforming more or less to this principle, the present machines are more on the principle of the kite, the motor-driving power taking the place of the string. In his book The Coming Race Lord Lytton describes the individuals of that race as each possessing a pair of mechanical wings which were under the complete control of the operator, and by means of which he soared into their and propelled himself gracefully through space. Doubtless this will be form which the perfected flying-machine will take, and it conforms to that "principle of the bird" referred to by Edison.
But the phase of aviation with which we are here concerned is that which connects it with the evolving consciousness of man; for out of that self-consciousness, which is now man's dominant condition, and which is inevitably connected with struggle and suffering, with labor and sorrow, the beginnings of a higher, diviner form of consciousness are making their appearances. From man's present state of imperfection, combined with ceaseless aspiration towards a better, but as yet undefined, state, there is surely coming, as form a matrix, a new order of life, a more blessed condition, a greatly evolved form of consciousness hitherto unknown to man except in a few isolated cases.
Invention is allied to progress—is, indeed, an outward manifestation of inward growth. All man's inventions are adaptations to his expanding consciousness, and they definitely mark important turning-points in the evolution of the race. At the moment man's necessity the new and needed thing appears. Just as the human intellect was preparing to break from the bonds of old superstitions, and sally forth in joyous and untrammeled freedom, the printing press appeared as the chief instrument of man's liberation. The coming of the steam engine tallied with the accelerated speed of human thought as it began to shake off its ancient lethargy; and when the expanding human mind could no longer move in a contracted local circle, or remain satisfied with petty selfish differences, the locomotive came forth to meet man's wider range, and to afford him scope for his increased mental activities and enlarged sympathies.
And now another invention has entered the field of actuality; one growing out of, yet more important than, any which have preceded it—that of flying. Man has hitherto employed the solid earth and the less solid water as the medium of material transit; but now he is to make and obedient servant of the tenuous atmosphere, using it to speed bird-like directly to his desired destination. And this is an important outward sign of the new stride in evolution which the race is now taking. Rapid and restless changes are marking the present transition period. Old religions and forms of government are passing away. New modes of thought and action are everywhere appearing. Man's consciousness is expanding. The human form of consciousness is about to touch, is indeed touching, the point of completion, and from it there will spring, is already springing, the Divine form of consciousness which is destined to transform the entire human race. For under that the reign of consciousness nearly everything, as it at present obtains in the world, will be reversed. Man, being then divine, will act divinely. All those powerful human passions which now dominate the race, and are the chief springs of action, will then take a subordinate place, and will be under the control and guidance of man's Divine will and wisdom. He will be master of himself and master of the earth.
Already man has been feeling the growing wings of this new consciousness wherewith he will soar into the highest regions of knowledge and blessedness. For ages, and under the guise of numerous religions, he has aspired to it, and the prophets have foretold it, and now he is to obtain his Divine birthright.
Aviation is the first outward symbol, as it were, of this new mind which is now taking shape. It is also more than a symbol, for its will form the first important material instrument by the aid of which the new consciousness will begin to materialize its glorious ideas and magnificent schemes for the happiness of today is misery compared with that blessed state which will obtain on the earth when the Divine condition has become well established.
The beginnings of this new condition, as aided by aviation, will be noticed in the breaking down of certain material limitations between man and man, and between nations, and the disappearance of war; along with it will come a free and fraternal industrial intercourse between the nations, and a growing tendency to adopt in practice those fundamental religious principles which are universal, and thus to inaugurate one great worldwide religion. As aviation becomes more perfected, and enters into man's economical schemes, these new conditions—the first seedlings, as it were, of the new consciousness—will begin to appear, for when men are rapidly fitting from country to country, from continent to continent, on "the wings of the wind," they will be brought so close together, both socially and industrially, that the old animosities which now exist between them will die out, the old national barriers will quietly break down and disappear, and, without any revolutionary upheaval, the nations will become as one country, sinking all those interests which are not for the mutual good of all nations.
The locomotive is an instance of the above, though in the region of self-consciousness, in that it rendered civil war impossible, making of each nation, formerly divided against itself, a united family working harmoniously together. Aviation, however, will be connected with a higher region of consciousness altogether, namely, the cosmic consciousness, and its results will be much more striking and more far-reaching than those which have hitherto taken place in man's self-conscious condition.
At present we are only in the experimental stage of aviation, but this will be quickly followed by the economic stage, in which flying will be adapted to human travel and mercantile uses; and almost immediately this is reached the new conditions is societies and nations will begin to manifest themselves, and once having commenced they will gradually absorb the old forms of life, using them as material on which to feed their growing beauty and grandeur. And new and grand men will arise having this higher consciousness, and they will be the leading instruments in establishing this new order of things upon the earth.
More Articles by This Author James Allen
James Allen was a little-known philosophical writer and poet. He is best recognized for his book, As a Man Thinketh. Allen wrote about complex subjects such as faith, destiny, love, patience, and religion but had the unique ability of explaining these subjects clearly and in a way that is easy to understand. He often wrote about cause and effect, sowing and reaping, as well as overcoming sadness, sorrow, and grief. For more information on the life of James Allen, click here.