The Mary Baker Eddy Library
for the Betterment of Humanity(tm)
Its dimension of burial
by Rolf A. F. Witzsche - Dec. 3, 2002
A Library for Humanity
Please note, the newly established Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity, is according to its name not a "Christian Science" library. It is designed to house Mary Baker Eddy's published and unpublished writings, including a collection of over 400 editions of Mary Baker Eddy's work, Science and Health, generally referred to as the Christian Science textbook. Until now, the Christian Science textbook has been considered to be a unique and integral element of the Church of Christ Scientists, in the form of a religious textbook as it were. Indeed, Mary Baker Eddy refers to her work in numerous places in the Church Manual as "the Christian Science textbook." However, these numerous references all pertain to only one of its many applications. The book's own section on "Fruitage" presents another sphere of its application, which pertains to humanity as a whole. This section contains a hundred pages of testimonies of people whole who were healed of all sorts of diseases by the mere reading of the book, who had no specific connection with the church where it is officially used, together with the Bible, as its pastor.
With this pattern firmly established, Mary Baker Eddy opened the door to the textbook's even wider, and still more universal application that renders the textbook as a foundation for the scientific and spiritual development of humanity as a whole. This is not just a figure of speech. The fact is, the textbook contains most of the major elements of Mary Baker Eddy's structure for scientific and spiritual development, which makes it an indispensable foundation for the advanced development of humanity as a whole. The structure is focused on universal truth, universal fundamental principles, that pertain to all spheres of human endeavors. Christian Science, itself, is but one of its many aspects for consideration.
All these factors take the textbook out of the essentially religious domain into which it has been classified over the decades, and return it to the essentially universal domain of humanity's scientific and spiritual self-development. In this sense, it becomes the key element that enables the Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity to stand not only by name, but also by demonstrable substance. It is the key link that unites Mary Baker Eddy and humanity. Otherwise, the library will become a place of burial, a museum of the dead, a view into a time that has ended.
Mary Baker Eddy's earliest hope in connection with her discovery of Christian Science, was that all the Christian churches of the land, and some in far off lands would embrace her breakthrough discoveries and adopt them for the betterment of humanity in a Christian manner.
This hope, however, was not fulfilled. It was not fulfilled, because her recognition of truth, and her corresponding proofs, fell outside the narrow framework of authorized religious doctrines. They were therefore declared to be invalid. There is a danger today, that the same could happen again in respect to her outlined structure for scientific and spiritual development, on which all of her major works are founded. In this sense the founding of the Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity presents a significant challenge to the field of Christian Scientists, which is, to embrace that portion of Mary Baker Eddy's work that was designed to be brought to light through the process of discovery, the very process which its functionality was designed to support.
It is as if she is challenging society to step away from the domain of authorized religions towards a more scientific basis for authorization: an authorization that comes to light when the form of a construct is inherently subservient to universal truth and the highest recognized principles. This, evidently was Mary Baker Eddy's own criterion for judging the validity of her work. Listen to what she says on that subject. She said the following in her Message to the Mother Church for 1901: "Follow your Leader only as far as she follows Christ."(p.34) And she repeated that admonition a year later in her message for 1902 (p.4). With these statements she sets up a completely new criterion for authorization. The opening of the Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity presents a rare opportunity, by example, to encourage humanity to adopt that higher criterion universally.
Mary Baker Eddy's Bible Lessons
Mary Baker Eddy ordained the Bible and the Christian Science textbook to be the universal pastor of her church. She defined 26 subjects for the Bible Lesson Sermons that are read in every Church of Christ Scientists each Sunday, around the world. The subjects are repeated twice a year. She also created a unique interface that links the lesson subjects to her structure for scientific and spiritual development. However, there exists also a much more direct interface between the Bible Lesson Sermon and her structure for scientific and spiritual development. This direct interface is found in the relationship of the textbook's chapters to that structure. The structure as sixteen elements, which correspond to the sixteen chapters of the textbook, as do all of her major works since they were all created in sixteen parts, or multiples thereof. This huge complex of interrelationships to that sing structure can therefore be drawn directly into the Bible Lessons according to the textbook chapter to which an individual textbook citation of the lesson pertains.
In order to explore this huge dimension and its relationship to the Bible Lessons, I have created a computer software program that automatically selects and imbeds a number of key items of this larger dimension into the structure of the Christian Science Bible Lessons. The software was developed for the dual use as a research tool and as an enhancement for the study of the Bible Lessons themselves. It took a huge effort to create the software and the data bases to do that, spanning a time frame of several years. Oh, but the results were worth the effort.
It turned out that the biggest value of the effort is not so much derived from its function as a research tool, but is derived from its enriching of the Bible Lesson Sermons, that not only serve as a sermon during the Sunday services but also as a basis for individual study and self-development. Just imagine this: for each textbook citation the system automatically draws together eight additional references from Mary Baker Eddy's structure for scientific and spiritual development. Normally, one would never make these connections, whereby a great deal of the potential of the Bible Lessons would not be recognized. It goes without saying that this process makes the studying of the lessons a much richer experience, and a more healing one as well.
I have prepared a collection of over 600 Bible lessons in this manner, from the 1898 to 1909 time frame (link to article). I have also provided a representative sample of this work on one of my Web-sites (see Bible Lessons).
Now you have gone mad! someone might want to say to me in this context. Indeed, some people have implied that much. However, let me say this: Don't judge me by what I claim. Judge me in the way Mary Baker Eddy always desired to be judged, who said in so many ways, judge me by the healing effects that result from my work, that you experience in your life. Indeed, that is the criterion by which I must judge my own work. It is one of the fundamental postulates of Christian Science that truth is not an abstract element, but is knowable by its effect in elevating human existence.
Naturally, this aspect too, needs to be drawn into the context of the Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity if the name of the library is to have the meaning it is meant to have.
The Aeschylus connection.
This takes us back to Greek mythology and the gods that were said to dwell in the lofty realms of mount Olympus, with Zeus being chief among the gods. One of those less gods was named Prometheus, the fire bearing god, a rebel dissident among the gods. Many legends have been spun around Prometheus, who was said to have brought the technology of fire to humanity, and with it the gift of civilization. In Aeschylus' trilogy, Prometheus Bound, Prometheus is even portrayed as the preserver of civilization. Aeschylus ties together previous mythologies. He sets up a scene in which Zeus had intended to destroy humanity, which Prometheus prevented. Therefore Zeus has him chained to a crag at the ends of the earth, but Prometheus knows by what cause Zeus's downfall will occur, and keeps that secret as the price for his release.
While most of the trilogy has been lost, some subsequent treatments of the story have survived. In essence, Prometheus is not only bound, but is also tormented by an eagle that pecks out the liver of his living body that cannot die, thereby inflicting eternal agonies. The setup is to cause the audience to wish that Prometheus would reveal his secret to win his release, but the audience also knows that it can't wish that since the protector of humanity must not be defeated, or they themselves would cease to exist. It is precisely this conflict within themselves that Prometheus begins to resolve, whereby the story uplifts the audience to a higher level of thinking.
In the story, Prometheus doesn't surrender his secret. Instead, he laughs at Zeus, the chief of the gods of Olympus, and tells him that he really has no power at all. He tells Zeus that he can endure the agonies which he has inflicted on him, that he can bear that burden out of his love for humanity. Now, since this is the worst that Zeus can do to him, he really has no power at all over him and therefore has no standing, really, as a god. By this truth, Zeus is defeated.
It is not known how much of Aeschylus original story has been preserved in the later treatments of it, but one tiny element certainly did survive. The gods of Olympus are still aligned along the axis of power, in contrast to the forces of love. Even the name Olympus has remained attached to the games of power. The modern Olympic games are games of power, competitive games in which the participants are pitted against each other under a set of rules by which only one, the strongest, can win. These are not games designed to elevate the human scene to a higher level of civilization, but to lower it, to create competition for power, a quest for superior power. The game is not to ennoble humanity by developing a quality of endurance and performance to honor the beauty, skill, and strength of the human being. While some of that happens in the background, the goal is to develop superior ploys of power over all others that participate in element of the game. In the modern world, this process is deemed to be a reflection of human nature, but is this really true?
The prime focus of every human endeavor should be to uplift the human scene to higher and more spiritual levels of self-development. This is the force that creates civilization, that sets us apart as a species from the animal kingdom, that defines human nature in its truest sense.
To some degree the Olympic games uplift the scene of sports as the envelope of what can be achieved is constantly being enlarged. Limits are broken. New records are being set. Nevertheless, the focus remains solidly on the self-serving drive of an individual to put oneself above another person by means of a personal achievement. This sentiment of gaining dominance over another is very much represented throughout the animal world. The human being has the capacity to stand above this scene, to live on a higher level platform where scientific and spiritual development uplifts not just one person, but the whole of society, even the universe in which we live. This is the parameter by which the personal achievement of a human being should to be measured against the background of human civilization?
Today's platform that society has chosen is far removed from mankind's native humanist platform. We have embraced the Olympic platform almost universally. We have even convinced ourselves that this platform is a reasonable one as it makes us more animal like. Nevertheless, though it seems reasonable, this platform is contrary to what a human platform should be. It is even contrary to the platform that is illustrated in Prometheus' victory. Evidently, the ancient Greeks understood something about our humanity that we no longer wish to understand today. Prometheus wasn't created as a tragic figure as it seems at first, but as a truly heroic figure who didn't win by setting himself above another, but by uplifting the whole scene. He won by putting humanity first, and its welfare. This raised the entire game to a higher level on which he won without a contest and secured humanity's freedom from the gods of Olympus.
I am bringing Aeschylus into the context of the Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity, because Mary Baker Eddy's structure for discovery and scientific and spiritual development reflects that higher level platform on which Prometheus won for humanity, while it contains not a single element which supports Olympian competition that focuses on a person gaining superiority over another. Nothing of that sort can be found therein.
So what? someone may ask. What does it matter? Oh, let me present a word of caution here. The differences that we deal with here, in terms of their consequences, are great. The point that I am trying to make is an extremely important one in our modern age, because much of the world's financial and economic system has been turned into a giant Olympian contest arena, at the demise of the world's real economy. It has become a contest of beating one another to the punch, so to speak, and much more than that. Unspeakable treacheries are allowed in the financial arena, the kind of which would never even be allowed in an Olympian competition. In the financial arena the competitors don't merely aim to beat each other, they also beat each other up. Huge profits are drawn in this arena by clever means of stealing from one another. Actually the stealing should be self-evident. Since the trading of financial papers from one hand to another, doesn't produce anything of tangible value for society, where do the profits come from, that are drawn, if they are not cleverly stolen from processes where profits are actually created? This scene has become increasingly destructive and tragically detrimental to society.
Sure, I realize that some people will protest here and tell me that I know nothing about economics. On the other hand, this comment appears to be more to the point about those who object, who have lost sight of the purpose for which an economy exists. An economy exists to provide for the needs of the human society, its physical needs, as well as it cultural needs, and its needs for scientific and spiritual development. Beating one another to the punch, or stealing from one another, has nothing to do with what an economy exists for. Those processes may describe an animal ecology, but not what a human economy should be like. Actually, this difference would be self-evident were it not for the presently cultured environment in which scientific and spiritual development is deemed to be of no value.
During a discussion of the so-called Asia financial crisis a person from the financial community argued that the strong players in the global game have every right to exploit whatever weaknesses may exist around the world. He blamed the Asian nations for their own tragedy, by not having protected themselves properly against the financial predators. The moderator asked the man who made this comment if he believed that a strong man with a sledge hammer has the right to break down his neighbor's front door and take away all his belongings, simply because he has the means to do so?
This question ended the argument. It raised the entire scene onto a higher level of perception. It developed a new perception that is contrary to the generally accepted axioms of the present world-financial and economic structure. In time, more of this higher level development will occur. Still society does not have to wait until this falls into place by default or has to be learned in great agony. Mary Baker Eddy's structure for scientific and spiritual development has the potential to greatly enhance the higher level development process that is essential for the maintenance and advance of civilization.
Mary Baker Eddy's structure for scientific and spiritual development is designed for raising one another up, not to beat one another to the punch or to steal from one another. This is what the naming of the Mary Baker, Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity, should signify to everyone around the world by bringing Mary Baker Eddy's structure for scientific and spiritual development into focus for humanity.