[Editor: This is a chapter from Australianism (1954) by John Fisher.]
The theory of revolution
Since earliest times, human understanding has been widened by the discovery of natural laws. Intellectually alert people, irrespective of their material circumstances, have discovered simple truths that come ever closer to fundamentals; truths that have produced, throughout history, revolutions for good or bad, according to their accuracy.
These laws have not been revealed uniformly across the broad field of human endeavor, co-ordinating in a well-balanced religion or philosophy, but have appeared at random, causing frequent deflections from the path of fastest progress.
At any time in history, the beliefs held, and the social motives acting, are the result of this random evolution, and are transmitted by the moulding of successive generations into whatever degree of confusion and ignorance exists at that time.
This is no less true of the present day, and the unprejudiced observer must be prepared to see each and every idol of popular worship demolished if necessary.
Consider the human race in a thousand years’ time. If modern barbarism does not destroy the world within a few years, it can be expected that the human way of life will have developed into, by that far off date, something wonderful and enchanting beyond belief, taking into account the present rate of progress. Historians in those times will no doubt see the change over the whole millennium as the result of a single, simple, cause.
As the human vision widens into a larger perspective, the basic nature of all existence becomes clearer and easier to understand. The unbiassed student must, therefore, search always for simpler and wider laws in striving to understand all things.
In understanding the deepest problems, there should be no such thing as over-simplification, therefore, but only inaccuracy. The supreme maxim of scientific philosophising is, according to Russell, “wherever possible logical constructions are to be substituted for inferred entities,” which suggests the same point.
People who say that things change very slowly are merely revealing their lack of imagination. The cause of human progress through the ages must be unchanging and, as seen by God, simple in the extreme. This notion is, in essence, the single source of all great human inspiration. Atheists, and some impatient scientists, challenge the believer to produce God for inspection, like a rabbit out of a hat, suggesting unconsciously that a rabbit could have created the universe.
In the realm of philosophy, it is possible to “prove” any argument whatsoever. The impatient demand for the immediate solution of all problems, however, is based upon the false assumption that the human mind is an absolute observer, rather than an instrument that is obviously evolving. This should not discourage the search for the absolute, for its pursuit is the only way to acquire an improving perspective of all existence. This improving perspective is the simple meaning of spiritual development and the immediate cause of human progress.
In these pages, “mind,” “happiness,” “soul,” “spirit,” “personality,” “wisdom,” etc., are used broadly to denote the stronger creative link with the infinite which distinguishes man from the beasts. The tendency of professional philosophers to expend their reforming energies in debating the meaning of words has always resulted in a large proportion of the world’s peoples remaining at a low cultural level.
Three simple laws will be given which, together with several simple suggestions for facilitating clear thinking, will enable every individual to understand himself, his fellows, and society in general, and to initiate a world-wide transformation into a new co-operative society and free way of life such as mankind has never before experienced.
John Fisher, Australianism, self-published: Harcourt Gardens (SA), , pages 2-3
Russell = Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), Welsh author and philosopher
[Editor: Changed “millenium” to “millennium”. Added a closing quotation mark after “personality”.]