The Lion and the Unicorn

Studies in Alice XXI, by Marc Edmund Jones

This lesson considers the seventh chapter of Through the Looking-Glass and the twenty-first great principle of wisdom in the Philosophy of Concepts as revealed through the adventures of Alice is that the function of any organ in living structure always comes into being and is actively employed by the intelligence utilizing the structure in advance of the development of the organ itself. Thus from the point of view of substance or manifest being activity precedes, supports and sustains all form. In Genesis the creation of light is in advance of the creation of the light-giving bodies, which is a great puzzle to the literalists, and in terms of general psychology skill must precede tools since even if the actual tool is possessed its advantages are wasted or practically nonexistent in unskilled hands whereas if the skill is developed the tool if not in existence is easily fabricated. The actual employment and use of all things grooves matter to form and makes subsequent employment easier. This creates in fact that which is graphically and accurately termed the race consciousness or general form of manifestation by means of which and through which all men find the grooved details of life increasingly simple. Indeed a mere child now can learn to drive an automobile quite well and it is no longer unusually difficult for the average or normal person to be taught to fly an airplane safely and successfully. The important point in this lesson is the application of this principle to beginnings and its revelation of the necessity for a priming of all life or giving exterior and added stimulation to each point of start. This is not so much an overcoming of inertia, which is fact from the point of view of matter, as it is the outer or material sustaining of activity until the first groove is made.

Here is the principle of beginning of creation. As most aptly brought out in the common metaphysical phrase the way to begin is to begin. Ordinarily in life the procedure taken by nature is to surprise man so that circumstances either alarm or charm him into the spontaneous first move. A knowledge of this principle underlies high-pressure salesmanship and it may well be said that nature herself is the greatest sales agent known in creative manifestation. The student who is buffeted to and fro in life sometimes takes the best part of his life to learn the lesson that if he wishes he can be the controlling agency in the circumstances that surround him. To do so he must become a creator and a creator is fundamentally a beginner. He can at any time and without any exterior help just begin. Of course the so-called good starter is not included in this category because nothing is really begun or started unless it sustains within itself an actuating force that is implanted by the agency that started it and is irresistible enough to render impotent any effort to stop it until it has run out its particular cycle.

The symbolism of the chapter in the cutting of the cake is interesting in bringing out the principles that have just been outlined. Before the cake could be cut it had to be passed around, and Alice as the passing agency did not participate. Passing around first is of course the very clear symbolism of the essential first activity or simple starting that is the root of all real and enduring things. By displaying it or passing it around it was brought into the consciousness of those who were to eat it. Once entered into the consciousness of its destiny, the cake was able to cut or divide itself. Life is never successful when the dividing or distributing agency works from its own parental wisdom. At the outset this may seem the part of wisdom but it is not creative. It starts nothing. Therefore Alice passed the cake but received none. The higher consciousness participates not in the lower part or share but in the group or central reality in which all share. Alice gained what is termed in real estate circles an over-ride and this is the reward of group consciousness. It is not a share and share alike with others or even a larger or privileged share but rather a gaining of the whole in a larger and to others nonexistent over-soul participation.

The achievement of imagination in the chapter, or the twenty-first great scientific anticipation, is the revelation of the principles of evolution or the scientific philosophy of first origins that is the outgrowth of Darwinism. While the standpoint of higher understanding or intelligence that was the point of view of the preceding paragraphs the skill must precede the tools that enhance it, yet as seen from the lower plane of matter or substance the skill must be the gradual growth from and through the tools and forms that mark its stages of evolution to that finally recognized as skill in the higher estimation. What is skill to an apprentice is bungling to the master craftsman. Skill as seen in objective life is the climax and an end to evolution for the reason that further evolution is beyond the conception of the moment, and this leads to the curious paradox that awkwardness is the mark of growth and smoothness the mark of decay. Therefore a villain in a drama is smooth, and a vampire or one corrupting within as in some of the most vicious tissue degeneration diseases may be more beautiful than the heroine who merely is pretty.

The symbolism of the falling, tripping and tumbling soldiers is splendid in showing the awkwardness of life in its emanation or at the fall of the cosmic egg. The natural selection of evolution is based on experience, and the simple activity of experience must come first of all. More curious however is Lewis Carroll's conceit of the two messengers, one to come and one to go, since this is immediately evident to the occultist as a picture of involution and evolution as complementary processes that for the first time in 1928 was discovered as a scientific fact by Dr. Millikan. The Anglo-Saxon attitudes are rare bits of foolery that become significant on the narrow edge of a forced symbolism as dramatizing the tenacity of race characteristics. Indestructibility of characteristic or form is a fundamental principle in any real understanding of evolution.

The law of applied psychology, or the twenty-first big idea for the solution of personal problems, is brought out here in the technique of belief. All belief is co-operative or based on an actual linking in experience or activity. Indeed, knowledge is a sort of chain-scheme growth with each detail of things known going out to bring back several of its kind related to it that are capable of being projected out to return in like manner with their severals of kind. The unicorn was a fabulous monster to Alice, but Alice was surprised to find herself a fabulous monster to the unicorn. The underlying points are brought out during the fight. The dust is obviously an excellent representation of the stage marked by lack of belief. Men fight that which is not real to them and forever stir up clouds of dust or side issues that render the obscure more obscure. By contrast the refreshments after the fight represent the acceptance of facts that makes real co-operation possible.

The drumming out of town may be interpreted as the lack of activity that leaves all subject to or open to the overshadowing influences that are disruptive to the individual. The student must learn to FIGHT FOR SOMETHING or refrain from slumping into feeling ease of possession and to sustain all in some sort of creative or inaugurating activity.