Rosicrucian Writings Online

Man's Primitive Instincts

By The Imperator
[H. Spencer Lewis]
[From The Rosicrucian Digest November 1930]
A FEW weeks ago I spent a week-end in Yosemite National Park. I was accompanied by my wife and my children, and a few other workers of our staff. We purposely planned to go into this beautiful section of God's country and live for a few days in the closest possible contact with Nature. We wanted to be natural like Nature, itself, and attune ourselves with the most simple things of life.
This wonderful National Park has gone to great extremes to make it possible for persons to live for a few days or a few weeks in intimate communion with Nature, and yet with every facility to meet any emergency. Of course, it also affords accommodations for those who merely want to look upon Nature without making her acquaintance, and who prefer always to live in the utmost of luxury and comfort with every modern convenience of hotel life at their disposal. But we chose to live for a few days among the great tall redwoods and pines in cool and clean tents, and with our meals served in a huge redwood building. It was not the manner in which we slept or ate, however, that brought us in such close contact with Nature, as it was our manner of thinking and acting during the waking periods of those days.
From the very moment we approached the great canyon in which this marvelous park of scenic beauty and natural wonders is located, we could not help but attune ourselves with the stupendous forces of Nature, which formed the canyon, and the sublime powers that manifest themselves in light, color, and living expressions of Nature's energy.
Here, man has never been allowed to destroy any living thing and, therefore, the very beasts and creatures of the earth wander about without fear and without any other consciousness of man's presence except that which is constructive and joyful. The bears of all sizes and kinds that wander around in the mountains of other parts of California, and are always fearful and cautious and ready to protect themselves against man's so-called sporting blood, come down into this canyon and cast aside that fear and caution and act with the primitive faith that no one will do them harm. It is astonishing to see how these huge bears and many other animals called wild and dangerous will walk slowly along the roadway or highway while the automobiles pass, and how they will come up to your car when you stop and wait for you to hand them food, or will pause for you to photograph them, even at such close range as to be in actual contact with you.
Throughout the day, birds of over forty-one species come down into the camps and fly around your shoulders, alighting on your lap or eating out of your hands with the utmost joy and perfect absence of fear. Many of them answer back to your whistles and sing songs when you sing to them. At night the trees and grass are filled with sounds of animals of all kinds and you seem to live in the center of a huge orchestra of primitive music. As you look up to the skies to see the beautiful stars, you feel that they are more brilliant than you have ever seen them before, and that they are vying with each other to sparkle and attract your attention. The moon seems to be more brilliant than you have ever seen it before, and you feel that its beams of silver light make more attractive pictures on the ground and cast more weird shadows than you have ever seen in your life.
Sleeping under such conditions and knowing that you are surrounded by friendly humans and friendly animals, and knowing that in the breast of all living things, from the smallest insect to the huge mountain lion standing on the pinnacle of one of the highest rocks near by and calling to a mate, there beats a heart that is in sympathy with the peace of the environment and the primitive consciousness of love and kindness, is an experience never to be forgotten.
Man can easily revert to his primitive instincts, both good and bad, and it is well for him to occasionally bring himself in closest contact with the good instincts that were the most primitive in his consciousness. Undoubtedly, the most fundamental instinct of man is a love of Nature. When you show me a man or woman who has no love for the great trees, the mighty mountains, the roaring oceans, the rushing streams, the green hills, and flowery valleys, I will show you a person whose Soul consciousness is cramped, whose psychic development is nil, whose power to imagine has never been awakened, whose attunement with the Cosmic is absolutely undeveloped, and whose appreciation of life is an unknown quantity. Those who must always find in the artificial and manufactured things of life, in the tinsel and the deceptive, in the temporal and fleeting things of the moment, their whole joy and happiness are those who are missing the greater part of life and are dishonest with themselves, dishonest with nature, and dishonest with life in its entirety.
To lie down on the green grass and sleep in close contact with the friendly, magnetic unfoldment of the earth's forces, or to wade in the streams or bathe in the pools out in the open under the trees, is to bring into one's aura the great creative forces of the universe. This is another one of man's most primitive desires. The greatest habitations in the world have been built close to the waters of the earth and when man seeks an opportunity for meditation, consolation, and communion, he seeks the wild space of the mountain tops or the secluded parts of uncivilized valleys.
There, in the Yosemite Park, over thirty varieties of roses can be found most of the year, and hundreds of specimens of the most beautiful wild flowers. Man's primitive consciousness finds companionship amid flowers, for they talk to him, and tell him a story of beauty and grandeur that nothing else can tell. In the evening hours, we listen to the beautiful music rendered by soloists of national fame and only in such a place can the human voice do justice to the gift of God, and only in such a place can musical instruments tell of the Soul that resides in their physical forms. Around the camp fire, again exemplifying man's primitive love for another element of Nature, all sorrows and trials were forgotten, and all of the problems of civilization were cast aside while the hundreds assembled there looked into the burning embers and listened to the soft tones of musical instruments and the singing of old songs.
It may be true that among the primitive instincts of man is the desire to hunt and kill, and that this instinct rises often in man of today and dominates his actions. But it is also true that in the real primitive man, killing was only in self-protection or for the purpose of securing food. It centered entirely around the need for self-preservation, which is the most fundamental of all human and animal instincts. But when primitive man or modern man finds himself so located that there is no need to protect himself against animals, whose sole desire is to be peaceful, and when he finds himself in possession of sufficient food for his need, the desire to kill does not rise in his consciousness, but remains the most base and unawakened instinct of all. Other instincts of a primitive nature, which are usually called evil, will not rise in man, no matter how primitive he may live or how far he may return to primitive methods of living if he will surround himself with love and kindness and express this consciousness toward all other living things, for they, in return, will express peace toward him and all will dwell together in harmony.
It is only when man gets closest to Nature that he gets closest to God. When the artificialities and self-deception are cast aside and we see Nature and all of God's manifestations in their pure, undefiled and unpainted glory, then we are close to Cosmic attunement and highly receptive to inspirations that will move the very depths of our being. No one can go and live for a week or a day in the natural, astounding, magnificent beauty of the Yosemite, amid the redwood trees that have stood there as sentinels for thousands of years, aye, even for centuries, when this Western world was unknown or unsuspected, without coming away filled with a new glory, a new appreciation, and a new love for every living thing that God has created, and for humanity as the highest representation of God's image.

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