On Living Things

by Dr. William L. Pierce


From The Path we know these things:

There is but one Reality, and that Reality is the Whole. It is the Creator, the Self-created.

The material manifestation of the Creator is the tangible Universe, with all its non-living and living things, including man.

The spiritual manifestation of the Creator is the Urge toward the One Purpose. The Urge lies at the root of all things and is manifested in the relations between all things.

The One Purpose is the Self-Realization of the Creator: the Self-completion of the Self-created.

Man’s purpose is the Creator’s Purpose. He is a part of both the substance and the means of the Creator, and he is nothing else; this is his entire being and purpose.

Man serves the Creator’s Purpose in two ways: unconsciously and consciously. In both ways, he follows the Path of Life, which is the Creator’s evolutionary Path toward Self-Completion. He passes from step to step on the Path, from sub-man to man to higher man, and beyond.

In the unconscious way the passing is blind, and its driving force is instinct, which is a manifestation of the immanent consciousness of the Whole in man.

And in the conscious way the passing is guided by man’s awareness of his true identity and his true mission; this awareness illuminates the Path before him and allows him to choose his steps.


These things, which we know, lead us to an understanding of the significance and value of all living things: of the variety of animals, of the races of man, and the varying qualities of individual men.

We understand that the living things developed from non-living things through the all-permeating Urge toward self-realization: first, there was the Urge, and through it came the ordering of non-living things; and the highest ordered became living. And the Urge has ordered the living things, and through this ordering has come higher levels of consciousness. And the Urge continues its ordering.

All matter, living and non-living, is ordered in a hierarchy: animate above inanimate, conscious above unconscious. The Urge is toward higher consciousness; the purpose of all material things is the implementation of the Urge, the service of the One Purpose; and the value of each thing is its potential for serving the One purpose.

Now, our understanding of this truth must serve as a guide to us in evaluating all things living and on-living, animate and inanimate, human and non-human.


Some have taught falsely that all things, being of the Whole, are sacred and inviolable. They mean: sacred in the eyes of men; inviolable by men. They may be of good will, in wanting to restrain men from thoughtless destruction, in wanting to protect beautiful and noble living things, in wanting to preserve the harmony of the Universe. But their understanding is limited, and their teaching is contrary to the purpose of the Creator’s Purpose.

For man is not a spectator, but a participant; not a being apart, but a part of all Being. And every living part of the Whole lives only by violating other parts; every animal must take unto itself other living things and must cast away its wastes.

It is only the Whole which is inviolable, only the One Purpose that is sacred. The parts of the Whole come and go; they are subject to the eternal process of Creation, which annihilates some, preserves some, and transforms some.

And higher man, Divinely Conscious man, is an agent as well as a subject of this process. When a member of the Community of Divine Consciousness acts in accord with the One Purpose, the Creator is acting.

Others have taught falsely that man himself is sacred and inviolable; that all who are “men” are immune to the process of creation, that men stand aside from it and above it, and that all men are of one kind.

But the value of man lies not in his conformation, nor in his ability to speak or to reason, except as these things aid him in serving the One Purpose. If he does not serve the Purpose, his life is without value, his formation and reason meaningless. If he contravenes the One Purpose, then he is an abomination, his life a defilement of all life.


Thus are men ranked in value: First in value are those with Divine Consciousness; they are those who walk the Path of Life with sure foresight; they are those who have crossed the threshold from man to higher man; they are those who serve the Creator’s Purpose in full consciousness that they are of the Creator and in full knowledge of the way in which they serve; they are the Awakened Ones.

Next in value are those of goodwill and awakening consciousness; they are those who strive for Divine Consciousness; they are those of the Cosmotheist Community.

After them are all those of the stock from which the Awakened Ones arise, those of the same race-soul; for they collectively are the reservoir in which higher man has his origin and from which he draws his replacements.

But in this reservoir men are also ranked in value: Those uncorrupted by false reason are higher, and those corrupted are lower.

Those of goodwill are higher, and those indifferent, self-seeking, or serving alien masters are lower.

Those who have mastered themselves are higher, and those who have not are lower.

Those with great capability for knowledge are higher, and those with less capability are lower.

Those who are of strong constitution and who are well formed are higher, and those who are weak, sickly, or ill formed are lower.

And those men who, even though of the stock from which the Awakened Ones arise, are corrupted, of ill will, undisciplined, without the capability for knowledge, weak, or ill formed cannot claim value by reason of their stock alone.

For they may threaten, through evil action, the One Purpose, if they are corrupted by false reason and of ill will.

And they may also threaten, through weakening of the stock, the One Purpose, if they lack the capability for discipline or knowledge or are of poor constitution.


And all other living things may also be ranked in value: men not of the stock from which the Awakened Ones arise; the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fishes of the sea; the smaller things which creep or crawl or fly; the large and small forms of inanimate life.

Each living thing has a potential for good effect and for evil effect, for serving the Creator’s Purpose and for contravening it. This potential is both inherent in a thing and dependent on its relationships with other living things, and it determines the value of the thing.

Let us now understand how this potential is judged: The Potential for good which is inherent in a thing is its potential for attaining Divine Consciousness or for giving rise to new things which may attain Divine Consciousness; its potential for good which is dependent on its relationships with other things is its potential for hindering the attaining of Divine Consciousness by other things.

A thing’s potential for evil, which is dependent on the thing’s relations to other things is its potential for hindering the attaining of Divine Consciousness by other things.

A thing may have a high potential for attaining Divine Consciousness, but it may also have a potential for hindering another living thing with a higher potential for attaining Divine Consciousness; or it may have a low potential for attaining Divine Consciousness, yet have a high potential for aiding another living thing in attaining Divine Consciousness.

We can deem a thing good or evil only after we have weighed together its potential for both good and evil effect. For this weighing, we must have knowledge; for this reason does the Cosmotheist seek knowledge.


A living thing may realize its potential for good effect by proving either physical or spiritual sustenance for the stock of men from which the Awakened Ones arise:

It may provide physical sustenance, as the sheaf of grain or the steer provides bread or meat.

Or it may sustain those things which provide sustenance, as the grass of the meadow nourishes the steer or the microbes of the soil allow the grain to grow.

Or it may provide spiritual sustenance, as the trees of the forest, the flowers of the field, the strong and graceful beasts of prey provide beauty for the eye, instruction for the mind, and inspiration for the soul.

And a living thing may realize its potential for evil effect in all the ways it may harm the stock of men from which the awakened Ones arise:

It may weaken or destroy that stock physically, as the plague microbe or the debilitating parasite wreaks its havoc.

Or it may deny that stock sustenance, as the swarm of locusts destroys the sustaining grain.

Or it may corrupt that stock spiritually, as the stock of alien race soul spreads its spiritual poison.

Or it may corrupt that stock through a mixing of bloods.

The first two of these evil effects may come from things which have a low potential for attaining Divine Consciousness, but the latter two come only from things which are close in potential for attaining Divine Consciousness to the stock from which the Awakened Ones arise.


Let us understand these latter evils:

The process of Creation is a process of developing self-consciousness in the Whole. Its way has progressed from blindness to foresightedness, from unguided groping to the threshold of consciously directed progress.

Because its way has been a groping, bound in the fog of imperfect consciousness, Creation has followed many channels; the Urge has taken many directions.

In some channels the current of progress has been slow, and in some it has been rapid. Some channels have ended in stagnant ponds, and the Urge has found no outlet. Some ponds have dried up altogether.

In other channels the current has been rapid, but the course of the channel has gone askew: reason has developed without consciousness, strength without discipline, action without service for the One Purpose.

Thus are we to understand the diversity of the forms of life.

In one channel the current has been sufficiently rapid and the course sufficiently true that the stream of life has reached the edge of the fog. Beyond lies the open water in which distant goals can be seen and a straight course chosen with foresight.

But other currents also run near the edge of the fog, and the danger still exists of being swept into a false channel, of being carried back into the fog, of emptying into a stagnant pond. And the closer we are these false channels, the greater the danger.


And so, then, those living things which provide necessary physical and spiritual sustenance for the stock from which arise the awakened ones are good and should be preserved: the grain and the steer, just as the living forest, the flowers of the field, the eagle and the leopard, and all other living things necessary to these.

And those living things which weaken the stock from which the Awakened Ones arise, or deny it necessary sustenance, or pull down its potential for divine consciousness are evil, and measures must be taken against them; against the disease organisms which plague sustenance, against the lesser stocks which may mix or corrupt. And as the last of these evils is the greatest, so must the strongest measures be taken against it.


In evaluating living things this also must be understood:

Our stock has reached a threshold, which separates the unconscious way of progress from the conscious way, and the values of all things change when this threshold is crossed.

In an age of immanent consciousness some living things served, through their very hostility, to advance our stock, as the wolf strengthens the stock of sheep by pruning away the slow and the infirm.

In an age of awakened consciousness, these things cease to serve; our stock will prune itself, and the pruning will better serve the One Purpose, because it will be done with foresight.

But at the threshold we must use the greatest care; its crossing is a time of danger, in which the old way no longer serves, and the new way still waits beyond the threshold.


And these are the qualities which man shall value in himself, both higher man and the stock from which higher man arises.

First, the brightness of the Divine Spark in his soul, which is the immanent consciousness of the Whole in him. The brighter it burns, the truer is a man’s inner sense of direction.

Second, the strength of his reason, for the perfect union of reason with immanent consciousness is Divine Consciousness. The stronger is a man’s reason, the more effectively can he implement the Creator’s Urge and the more truly steer his life’s course in the direction illuminated by the Divine Spark in his soul.

Third, the strength of his character, which is his ability to act in accord with his immanent consciousness and reason, overcoming the lesser urgings in himself, seeking consciousness rather than pleasure, knowledge rather than happiness, true progress rather than wealth. It is his ability to subordinate all the extraneous urgings, which are of the nature of sub-man and man, to the Creator’s Urge, which is the nature of higher man.

Fourth, the physical constitution of his body, that it might serve well the One Purpose. Thus are strength and soundness and keen senses to be valued, for they make the body a better tool; and beauty, for it manifests man’s Divine nature and inspires his efforts to act in accord with the urgings of his race-soul.


These are the ways in which man shall consciously serve the Creator’s purpose, combining true reason with immanent consciousness in the advancement of his stock along the Path of Life:

He shall keep his stock pure; he shall not permit his blood to mix with that of other stocks, for each stock follows a different course along the Path of Life. When stocks are mixed, the inner sense of direction is lost, and with it the potential for attaining Divine Consciousness.

He shall increase the number of his stock, and he shall make every land wherein he dwells free of the danger of mixing with other stocks.

He shall so arrange his laws and his institutions so that in each generation men and women shall engender numbers of offspring in proportion to their own value: the best shall engender the most, and the worst none.

He shall guide the progress of his stock from generation to generation: He shall act as the wolf and the winter have acted, pruning and selecting; and he shall act as have all those forces of the Whole which changed the seed of his stock.

And he shall do these things in full consciousness of his identity as the substance of the Creator and the agent of the Creator’s Purpose.