~ Jagad Guru Chris Butler (Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa)

Edited by Paramahamsa Paribrajakacharyya Sri Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj

IDEALISM is one of the commonest forms of ego-worship. The empiricist are as a rule subject to hugging this form of error. It is a psychological product of the infatuated soul in his conditioned state. As soon as the soul begins to seek his own elevation it becomes necessary to set up an ideal is nothing but a fancied desirable state based on the experience of one's sensuous self. In the conditioned state the soul regards his own physical and mental welfare as the center of all his activities. This welfare is conceived in a twofold manner. It is supposed to consist of acquisitions of new and enlarged faculties for the improvement of the quality as well as volume of one's so-called "happiness". It is negatively considered as consisting of dropping certain mal acquisitions that have been found to be undesirable by actual experience. This picking and choosing process issues in the formulation of an ideal state which it is considered, is the duty of all rational persons to seek to realize as the goal of his activities.

This method is sufficiently bad as laying down the standard for the activities of an individual. It becomes a profane nuisance when it is used for the purpose of conceiving the Nature of Godhead Himself. The motive that obviously underlies all idealistic attempts for the formulation of a "theory" of the Absolute is to create a God who would be serviceable for the realization of the greatness of the manufacture of the "Ideal". The Subjective Existence of Godhead is to be wholly ignored. The necessity of having to serve the pleasure of this concoction of one's 'puppy brain' is also clean forgot.

Is it possible for a person rationally speaking to be the slave of an Idea? It would be nothing short of an agreement for stopping all activity for the sake of enjoying the supreme satisfaction of a stagnating stupefaction. The reason of man commits suicide the moment it is seriously impelled to tie itself to any ideal. All this is so evident that it is necessary to have an oxymoron in order to avoid the clear consequences of such a stupid folly. And accordingly we meet with the proposal of the duty of having a "progressive ideal".

But is not the real implication of the term 'progress' incompatible with the purpose that underlies the idealistic process itself? Let our memory be refreshed a little for realizing this fact. The "Ideal" is to be the goal of all our activities. A progressive goal is no goal but only the way side. Is it necessary to conceive a goal that is really in order to be misled thereby?

It is, of course, assumed by the fashionable empiric psychology that the process of thinking would be impossible if one is to be prevented from the attempt of realizing such a progressive ideal. The mental process is defined to start with the formulation of an ideal state on the basis of one's past experience, at any rate after the mechanical stages of puerile activities have been passed. As it is the nature of the mind to act in this way one has to be content with it whether it is reasonable or not. The idealist is a very frank person who is "sure as anything” of his own theories professing all the time that they are "by no means" final. It is, indeed, prima facie a very noble psychology that would commit us to a palpably irrational course without being able to prove "in a final sense" its real necessity. That is also never to be considered as the reason why it is baking mighty little bread during its long period of 'progressive' existence.

May it not be more rational and therefore, more scientific, to agree with those Oriental investigators who declare that the mental process is an abnormal occurrence which is capable of being restored to its normal rational position. By indulging an abnormality one cannot be rationally held to be 'progressing towards any state that should be really desirable for a rational being. There is a real distinction between the naturalistic and the rational activity of the mind. The naturalistic is inconsistent with the rationalistic. One is of course free to choose either course as the basis of his own individual conduct. But no clear thinker need confound the one with the other, nor proclaim in and out of season the impossibility of following the strictly rational course.

The idealist surrenders himself consciously or unconsciously to the naturalistic impulse. He is thereby borne to the opposite point of the compass to that to which the rational faculty should advise him to proceed. The root cause of the trouble is also clearly stated by the transcendental psychologists. They says that the enquiry should be directed to the soul, the source of the mental activity. The empiricists affect to believe that the mind can be studied on its own terms. This dependence on the mind involves the stultification of method and the futile quest of no final of anything particular.

Just as the empiricist refuses to take cognizance of the actual existence of the soul as the substantive source of the mental function, in like manner and by reason of his illogical dependence on the limited mind he fails to take cognizance of the actual Subjective Existence of the Absolute as being both the Pathway and the Goal of all activities of His constituent subservient.