That which man seeks for is his highest concept of good. This material life is simply a state of seeking, and material man, uninfluenced by immaterial aims and aspirations, manifests little more purpose than do some of his supposed earlier forms of existence; like the Spongida, he simply absorbs and exudes, inhales and exhales. We read in the earth's own volume—whose leaves are the strata, whose words are the fossils and flora—of those bygone epochs which are but the counterfeitings of eternity; how the elementary chaos began to counterfeit the divine cosmos, began to reach out, to seek outside of its self-contained nothingness for something. This really was its first acknowledgment of its own nonentity; but it was an unconscious acknowledgment—this blind seeking—and we shall see as we proceed that when it, paradoxically, is conscious of its own nothingness, when its highest effort, generic mortal man, acknowledges his nothingness, its claims to existence will cease, and the true man and the true universe will stand revealed, unchallenged, unconscious even of there ever having been a supposititious challenge.

The trees and flowers send their roots downward, seeking for nutriment, and their shoots upward, searching for light. The new-born infant directs his earliest efforts to a search for food; later on, dissatisfied with his staring idleness, he reaches out for a toy; when that fails to interest, he flings it away to strive for some other object that has caught his attention, or failing some fresh object will strive again for the one he has just discarded—he must strive for something. This is really the epitome of his whole future material existence. He blows bubbles as a boy, and he finds that they break; he will blow bubbles as a man, and will experience the same result. If he is wise, he will ponder over the accumulating data that go to prove the temporal nature of the material world, and he will lay aside his bubble pipe and bowl, his mortal capacity to formulate dreams, and then he will seek for the eternal. Men seek for the ideal in matter, in the flesh; but they never find it. Then, if they possess a gift in one of the arts, they write poetry about their ideal, or paint a picture to symbolize it, or compose music to convey it by the ear to the consciouness of their fellow-mortals. These, reading, seeing, or listening to the delineations of the seeker's ideal, are often led to believe more earnestly in the unreal.

We who live in this printing age, who have the histories of the rise, decline, and fall of nations, the birth, growth, maturity, and decay of epochs, all printed in unromantic, hard, passionless type and placed within eye-distance of all,—we are inexcusably blind if we do not see the transitory nature of all things material. What a blow to our pride of modern intellect to see that, thousands of years ago, a man discovered and confessed what we are so unwilling to acknowledge, that "all is vanity, and vexation of spirit."

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May 30, 1908

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