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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 76

The Influence of Electricity on the Human Race

Front Cover

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The Influence of Electricity on the Human Race

Wellington, Christchurch, & Dunbdin Whitcombe & Tombs Limited. Printers 1899.

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The Influence of Electricity on the human Race.

landscape featuring ship and sea

When Sir Isaac Newton studied the influence of gravity on matter, he found that he could not take it alone and neglect other influences, but that motion was a complementary force which had to be studied at the same time. From this he was led to the laws of motion, and by study of the joint effects of motion and gravitation on matter, lie was led to those practical results which have been such great helps to the increase of (human knowledge; probably all his thoughts on these subjects would have been little use to mankind, unless at the same time, he had been led to formulate a system of symbols, (Differential Calculus.) through which the variations of those forces, could be recorded: and we must not forget that Sir Isaac had been a deep student of Theology (seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness,) before his attention was turned to the workings of these forces of the Creator.

Any student who wishes to get practical results from study of the forces, or powers of the Creator, and how they work in matter, must proceed on similar lines. Now the knowledge that Electricity, either in its statical form page 4 which we call Magnetism, or in its dynamical form, which is generally spoken of as Electricity, is working in all matter is quite a recent discovery. Faraday, in 1815, showed that nearly all bodies are influenced by magnets. Further observation has confirmed this, so we may accept it that Electricity is a component influence in matters the same way that Gravity is. Now we have to search for the complementary influence, which must be studied it conjunction with Electricity, in order to get practical results. I may say at once, I find it to be hereditary transmission of faculties, using the word faculty in the same sense I did in "Creation with Development." Whether I am justified in accepting this power as a complementan power to Electricity must be decided by what follows.

Next, have we to invent a system of symbols to record results in; or have we anything known to us which will answer the purpose? I think the old system of parable, so much used by Christ, prophets, and poets, who would draw our attention to the spiritual meaning which may be drawn from all works of the Creator, will probably be found best. It is one which never can be learnt by the thoughtless, but none can enter into the workings of God's laws without thought.

First, let us seek out some of the things Electricity does for us, and the parallel working of human thoughts.

Statical Electricity, or Magnetism, attracts matter charged with the opposite electricity, and repels matter charged with like electricity, so it is probable that those unaccountable attractions and repulsions which we feel for individuals met for the first time may thus be accounted for. So may the attraction of the different sexes, one being positively the other negatively charged. A study of the experiments with matter shows that matter which appears + in the presence of other matter may, in its turn, be- page 5 in presence of a third piece of matter; so a male may attract males of lower potentiality. These attractions and repulsions can be further increased, neutralised, or changed by using dynamical electricity of sufficient power or potentiality, which may also demagnetise a magnet, or can Reverse its magnetism. (How this is done will be found in various text-books on the subject.) Now, what parallel working is there in the human mind? As far as we can see, all living creatures, including plants, are brought into the world with a predisposition to follow in the steps of their ancestors, and the longer time those ancestors have been trained to certain work the greater the predisposition to do all that plant or animal can do, but not in any way to excel the ancestors without outside help: e.g., a fruit tree will bring forth similar fruit to the ancestor, provided conditions of soil and climate are the same, but if man comes along and improves those conditions he may improve the fruit; if he, the caretaker of fruit trees, neglects them and lets weeds rob the tree of its sustenance, the fruit deteriorates; again, by cutting off branches and grafting, ho may change the character of the fruit. The parallel to this in the human race is that children are born with a certain predisposition to follow their ancestors, provided no other influences are brought to bear. This may best be seen in the Indian castes where one caste keeps to one kind of work; they arrive at a certain stage of manual dexterity, but go no further, because no new ideas are put into their minds, and generation after generation do the same work in the same manner. But a European comes along with better ideas. First he has to overcome caste prejudice, which offers great resistance, and then he has to instil his better ideas into the undeveloped Indian mind; or if, as is often the case, the Indian mind is developed, it is in a direction the European has little idea of, and so page 6 fails to get an entrance. Now, how can knowledge of Electricity help us in this? We must bear in mind Eletricity works in two ways: through Conduction and Induction. I have already, in "Creation with Development," likened conduction to the hereditary faculties transmitted from parents to children, so that when parents have acquired certain faculties, or improved them, they transmit germs of the improved faculty to the children, which they, in turn, can, if they will, further improve or allow to degenerate by neglecting the means adopted by their parents to maintain or improve their faculties. What does induction do, and what parallel has it in the development of the human being? I suppose my reader has acquired the rudiments of Electricity, so will say that powerful induction coils can regulate magnetism, either by developing it, increasing it, or changing it. So also canal human being, with well-trained thoughts, stir up thoughts in a fellow creature, if he can find some common ground on which they can meet and interchange ideas, and in time the teacher's thoughts may effect a complete change in the hearer's thoughts, and stir him up to do work of quite an opposite character to that which he was by birth predisposed to. So also the man or woman predisposed to good work can strengthen and improve that predisposition by collecting the thoughts of like-minded persons from books and other sources, and forming of them a coil of thought which stimulates them to action. But if we would do the Creator's work we must bear in mind that every good thought or gift came to those persons from above.

Now, Induction is, at the time the current is passing, a more powerful stimulant than Conduction, and can do a class of work which Conduction cannot do, except by using an immense number of voltaic cells. It depends on the make and break of the current for its stimulating power, page 7 So thoughts instilled into a mind may, for a time, act more powerfully than the original predisposition, and a person may be led, under the inductive influence of another person's thoughts, to do things which at other times they would be horrified at; and, again, weak-minded people may be led to do heroic actions. A good proof of this is the Soudan soldier, who, from years of slavery, has a predis-position only to work under command; under the inductive influence of Lord Kitchener and his British officers, is led to conquer foes whom he would otherwise fly from or obey. I have said induction depends on the make and break for its stimulating effect, so the influence of British officers, being a new influence to Soudanese, had a greater effect than would have had the same ideas conveyed to them through black men. If white officers remain always amongst them they must not expect to be always able to stir them up to such exertions, until two or three generations have been raised under these inductive influences. The inductive current must bear a certain proportion to the work to be done, so Hicks Pasha probably failed from an insufficiency of British officers, or weakness of poten-tiality amongst those officers, whilst Gordon, with his intense potentiality, as shown in his leading Chinese troops, very nearly accomplished, without arms, what has since been done under Kitchener. But Gordon's self-sacrifice had such influence on British thought that it stirred us up to do the work which he wished to do: not to avenge the death of Gordon! though it may be well that Arabs of the Deserts should feel the avenger of blood has pursued them. But our thoughts have been, happily, turned in the right direction by Lord Kitchener's suggestion to educate the Soudanese; not, I trust, a secular instruction, but true education—learning of things in Heaven as well as things on earth. The money has been rapidly collected at the page 8 call of the successful conqueror, but are the men forth coming who will steadily persevere in the slow, and, at times, weary, work of raising a downcast nation?

Now, what is this potentiality of which I have been writing? It is invisible, like all the invisible forces of the invisible Creator. Have we anything we can liken it to; Electricity here helps us. We know that we can arrange voltaic cells either to give us quantity or intensity. If arranged for quantity, all are brought up into line and connected directly with the work to be done. This can only be used where there is little resistance, and no distance to be traversed; when the cells are arranged in series, so that the current passes from one cell through the next where it gets intensified, and so on through successive cells, each cell adding its quota till the last cell, from which the electricity springs with greater or less potentiality, according to the number of good cells it has passed through, and is connected with the work to be done. Intensity is required where long distances have to be traversed. In practice we find it is not good to have too long a series of cells, but it is better to combine quantity with intensity, which agrees with all we see in nature. A long fine wire may pull in one direction, but to push and pull we must have metal of another quality and thickness.

Next, we have to inquire, Is there anything in the human race corresponding to this?

We shall find that a long line of good ancestors, who have done good work in their day, convey a certain potentiality to their descendants, which may be used either for good or evil, according as their descendant will be guided by the same rules as they have been. If he or she will do good, the work done by such ancestors as they have knowledge of fortifies them in any good work they may be engaged in. This potentiality is passed down through the page 9 female as well as the male line, but as the female influence is hidden by her change of name at marriage, we must not be content with the study of names in tracing hereditary descent.

Now, what constitutes good descent? I have alluded to the weakness produced in a long line of ancestors confined to one class of work, as shown in Indian castes. This I was particularly brought before me in a magazine article on Indian potters, and the transmitted skill in that particular class of work passed down from father to son. We also see the same in animal breeding, where continual in-breeding produces a very purebred stock in one sense, but stock which require more and more care in each succeeding generation, until at last they are quite helpless without the human caretaker. These are no good as a Hock. They may serve to re-introduce into a flock a characteristic in which they are prepotent, and which is falling away in the flock. But for the human race at large we want a certain capacity to adapt themselves to all situations in life. So a race bred from ancestors who have directed their attention to only three or four subjects will be weak, as compared with a race bred from ancestors who have proved themselves good in many different stations of life. To find these ancestors so that they may have on us the influence acquired through knowledge of them, in addition to the hidden influence which is passed on from parents to children by a law of the Creator whose manner of working is as yet unknown to mankind, they must have done work which has been considered worthy to be handed on from father to son. There must be much of this in private families unknown to the world at large, which will be useful to their descendants. All may not be able to show a direct line of descent from those historical names which have done so much for the British nation; but when we page 10 come to consider that ancestors increase in geometrical progression—that is, the first generation has two ancestors, when it finds it is a second generation it has four, a third generation eight, a fourth has sixteen, the twentieth may have 1,048,576, and so on, we see how it spreads out, and if amongst these many ancestors we find some who have done good work, let us search out their work; it will influence us for good. But in our search for ancestors all of us must drop across some whose work is bad. How are we to cut that out? First, let us cover up a failing of our ancestors as did Shem and Japhet when their righteous father fell. Second, if the failing has been publicly exposed, let us turn it into a lesson to watch against that particular failing, as we may have a predisposition to fall in the same way. In electrical language, short-circuit it, or pass it through a commutator. Now, what have we in Electricity that helps us to fix these ideas in our minds and is a true parallel to it?

I have already ("Creation with Development") alluded to the magnetism imparted to like bars of iron by two magnets as a symbol of the faculties imparted to the child by the parent. This deals only with that particular couple, and takes little account of their potentiality. But when we come to deal with these we find the voltaic cell a better symbol. In the voltaic cell one metal must be + the other-, which corresponds with male and female brought together in one house. In the voltaic cell there is a stimulating fluid which, when the metals are united externally as well as through the fluid, produces the electric current, which the maker or owner of the cell turns to his own uses. In the human race the stimulator to action is the sense of duty, knowledge of the work to be done, and desire to do it. So husband and wife, joined together by the Creator and owner of the human cell, and desiring to do page 11 His work, do the work allotted to them, and pass on to their descendants a predisposition to do the same. But these descendants have wills of their own, a thing I at present find no parallel for in Electricity; and if they will not accept the will of the Creator as their stimulator, all their potentialities may be misdirected, neutralised, or reversed, if they will put themselves in positions which bring them under the influence of Satan.

As Electricians find many stimulating fluids, some suitable to one set of elements, another suitable to another set, so the Creator finds many different kinds of work, one or more of which it may be our duty to do, beginning with gardening and care of trees, proceeding to care of cattle and sheep, study of sun, moon, and stars, metal working, brick making and building, commerce, fighting, navigating, working for Church and State, &c., &c.; but, amidst all these, there has been one fixed duty common to all—the care of the children whom they have brought into the world. The workings of the human cells have been vitiated by introductions of foreign elements into the original cell, as [constructed by the Creator. Where there were many wives or many husbands it reduced the sense of responsibility to the children, and either husband or wife neglect that duty, and pass on a vitiated tendency to their children.

Now, where the same line of duty has been carried on (or many generations, they are apt to forget their dependance on those who are doing other duties: and, if continued too far, would draw out into the long thin wire produced by Indian caste, which can work only in one direction. So to build up a strong family there must be roots which have extracted mental nourishment from many different classes of labour, just as the roots of a tree spread out all round, and draw food from all sides. Too many generations of thinkers sprung from clerical, legal, and page 12 medical professions may produce thinkers of high potentiality, but if they have not made practical use of their thoughts they are of little use to mankind: theory and practice must go together. Again, thinkers may not be doing sufficient bodily work, so the body becomes too weak for the mind. I do not know if electricians will back me up in the idea this leads to. They generally use elements of like electric difference, with a stimulator of the same kind for the particular work they are doing. Thus they do not, as far as I know, take a battery of Daniel's cells and join that up to another of Leclanché's, and that to Bunsen's, but they only use a battery for two or three classes of work, whereas the human cell has to be capable of taking its place in the huge battery called a nation, and be ready to do any class of work. So if we take Daniel's cells as representative of clerical workers and their descendants—Bunsen's=Military,—Leclanché=Legal, &c.—we shall find the human being who draws his or her predisposition from these sources will very soon settle down and do good work in any of these professions, especially if stimulated by knowledge of good work the ancestor has done in the particular line the descendant finds himself in.

We find a very good check on any family getting tool prepotent in any one direction, and so getting out of touch with their neighbours, is the repelling action that like magnetisms have for each other. Thus a very intensely clerical father has a certain repelling effect on his son, which only a very strong sense of duty helps them to overcome; and it is only by the use of thought (the electric induction coil) this is overcome. This shows us why, as a rule, parents are not good teachers of their own children. Their predispositions are too much alike. The military man is at first rather taken aback when he finds his own commanding tone of voice or dictatorial manner page 13 reflected back by his son. If he, through experience and knowledge, has not found the reason, there may be squalls when Greek meets Greek. So these sons may be drawn into other professions. I have taken the stimulating fluid in a cell as a symbol of the sense of duty husband and wife have towards their Maker, and the offspring he causes them to bring forth. Many have a very slight sense of duty to the Maker, and a few have little or no sense of duty to their offspring; but those who have are set working to do their duty. The working of the liquid is confined to the cell. It is composed of water combined with various acids; but water is common to all wet cells, so water may be taken as a symbol of the love to the children; whilst the acids resemble hunger, thirst, and want of money, which stir up parents to supply that which the children require. The external work done by the cell for its Maker is the work done from a sense of duty, and is proportional to the love and labour expended on the children. Those who have little sense of duty to their Maker have allowed the stimulating fluid of love and labour to fall low in their cells.

But what about the dry cells, or dry trees, as Abraham thought himself? They have no children to call forth their love and labour, but in other ways they can do the Maker's work. Not engrossed with their own children, they may be more free to work for others.

Now, let us leave for awhile our couples in their cells, which, like brood cells in a beehive, bring forth in time, it may be workers, it may be drones, but all with potentialities which might fit them for office of King, Queen, or priest, if their services are required as such, and they can get the necessary mental food and training. But human beings do not require, like bees, to kill off all who are fit to be Queens. We must not carry our symbols or analogies too far, but remember that human beings are endowed with page 14 one faculty superior to any possessed by lower creatures, and in lower creatures we can find no symbol for the working of that faculty. So the human being, though qualified by birth for a high position, from a sense of duty and submission to the will of his Maker, is content to remain in the station of life where He has placed him but if an emergency arises he is found fit for the higher position. There may be thousands in Britain who can show descent from Royalty, and perhaps millions who have it without knowing it. These look upon the Queen as head of their family, whom they are bound to uphold at at all costs. These do it from the innate conductive hereditary influence; but there may be others who have no such hereditary predisposition, they have acquired it through the inductive influence of serving in Army and Navy, who are Her Majesty's servants, or in a Church which is still joined to State, and therefore feels it a duty to uphold head of the State, and all who derive authority from her, remembering that the powers that be are ordained of God.

We must here take up the celibates, and those who from duty are called out of their cell to live for a time as celibates. Can Magnetism or Electricity produce a symbol for them?

Our original symbol of a steel bar magnetised by friction with two magnets helps us here. Some of these units may become like the needle of the compass pointing steadily to the pole, so that all who look at them learn how they should walk. Their influence does not extend far, I like a couple in the cell, but they may be good guides to those who come within that influence. This need not be the limit of their influence if they will be content to be bound together in associations. The magneto-electric machine gives us a model of a machine through which the unit magnet may, when combined with others, produce the page 15 same effects as the greatest series of couples in cells. Any lumber of magnets may be placed round the circumference of a wheel or cylinder which, revolving rapidly in front of numerous coils of copper wire, produces in them currents, which can be used in the same way as the intense currents produced by a large number of cells in series; the rapid revolution of the wheel or cylinder changes the statical Electricity of the magnet into dynamical electricity. To apply this to human beings: we find single men or women bound together by the framework of discipline, and kept continually on the move, may produce many effects, just as the magneto-electric machine may be used to give light. So single men or women, like Roman Ecclesiastics, bound together for the purposes of teaching, may be quite as efficient, and more ready for moving about the world to any place their light is required. So also as the magneto-electric machine current may be used in a metal girdle found a spot we wish to keep intruders from, by charging it with electricity which will give a deadly shock to an intruder, so soldiers or sailors, which form parts of the machines called Armies and Navies, guard nations. But as we cannot make a complete girdle of them, by their mobility as magnetic units we can readily set up the death-dealing, or protective machinery, in any part of our dominions, provided a stronger or better machine does not destroy ours. It is thus the British Army is kept efficient, by service in all parts of the world. The Navy is always on the move, but has not of late had so much fighting to do as the Army. It is rather like the protective girdle round British dominions, which warns intruders with its "Noli me tangere." Nations of old have felt the deadly shock, and at present none seem inclined to try another. But we must not live on tradition. Keep watching and ready, the discipline and work is good for the units; and page 16 when they may fairly claim the comforts of the cell—not the celibate cells of Rome, but of happy married life—their offspring will be the better men for the training their parents have had. If soldiers, sailors, and ecclesiastic always remained celibates there would be something wanting in a nation bred without their characteristics. Probably the clerical element is as strong as any in producing the dogged, persevering determination, which never knows when it is beaten, so characteristic of the Northern Protestant nations, and which is missing in the softer pleasure-loving Roman Catholic.

I must say a few words about Resistance, one of the troubles of the Electrician, in addition to the repelling force of like magnetisms, internal resistance in the all where the two elements are not suited, or the acidulated water not of the right strength. There is no difficulty in applying this to ill-assorted couples, or insufficient sense of duty to the children; external resistance in the conducting wire, which may be too slight for the work or bad conducting material: so the human being may have a mind too small to take in his instructor's thoughts, or be of such bad materials that he won't try to take them in. And one word for the Commutator, which changes the direction of currents, and makes the—current do the same work as the +. There is One who controls the thoughts of men, if they will but give their thoughts to His work,: and experience gained in doing works of ignorance and carelessness may be changed into knowledge and carefulness about His work.

Where there are so many parallels as I have here cited between the workings of Electricity and of human beings, one is led to think the human actions are a consequence of Electricity in the matter composing their bodies. At present we cannot measure it in volts, ohms, page 17 or farads; more probably it is in the blood, but the chemists cannot find it; that is one of the problems for the future. Now, can any practical use be made of these symbols and parallels as shown here? I think they will be of great utility to those engaged in education and training of men and youths. It will account for outbursts of temper and resistance, and so lead to other methods being adopted. But Electricity will not account for all that we do not yet understand about the human race. There remain the spiritual influences. What part our departed ancestors have in these I dare not say, but I believe it is pretty large, especially when it is in union with the will of the Creator. We must add a little about Electricity as a transmitter of sympathetic vibrations. The great beauty of Electricity is the speed with which it acts, enabling it to record the faintest and speediest vibrations of sound or light. This is utilised in telephone, graphophone, and kinematograph. If two people want to exchange thoughts, no matter how far apart, let them go to nearest end of a telegraph wire which is connected up, and they can exchange thoughts. At present they must give money to pay for the labour employed, but that has nothing to do with the electric current, which is capable of carrying the I most heart-rending or most cheering intelligence, and so plunging the receivers into grief, or cheering them up. A good example of the latter, on a national scale, was Her Majesty's thanksgiving service and procession on Jubilee days. Those who knew London, and a London crowd, by the help of the telegraph, were inspired with a like enthusiasm at almost the same instant, though they may have been at the Antipodes. Fear of Anarchists, or rain to mar the procession and service, was in their minds. These were dispelled through Electricity, and we may well thank God for the gift.

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I will now endeavour to summarise some of my results in what, I hope, may prove to be standard equation through which others may be solved.

Electrical Symbol Quality in Human Race
1. Voltaic couple + − = Married couple, male and female
2. Good metallic elements pure, of their kind: =Persons with pure hearts ready to receive or generate good thoughts.
3. Exciting fluid: = Stimulator to action.
a. Water: = a. Love to children.
b. Acids: = b. Labour for money to provide for their wants.
4. Internal resistance in cell through bad elements or bad acid: = Ill-assorted couples with little love for children, and bad workmen or women.
5. External circuit: = Sense of duty to Maker or employer.
a. Current: = a. Thoughts thereby setup.
b. Good conductor: = b. Means of communicating our thoughts to others who have a heart ready to receive them.
6. Effect of current acting inductively on iron bars or copper coils making them magnets by stirring up latent magnetism: = Thoughts of the heart when put into words stir up thoughts in another's heart, and thereby alter or fix his manner of life
a. May reverse the poles of a magnet: = May change a predisposition for evil to good and vice versa.
7. A bad conductor or generator of electricity no use: = One who has no sense of duty to God or man, and rejects all good thoughts from others.
8. Work of current to set up sympathetic action at all distances and in shortest time in similar instruments part of the world and set up sympathetic thoughts in two and in a measure annihilate time and space as separators of human beings: = Thoughts of the heart put into words, and these into electrical symbols may be sent to any one with similar ideas in any or more hearts no matter how far apart and what time of daypage 19
The magnetic bar with two poles: The single individual with two polarities, good and evil.
10. The magnetic bar hung as a compass needle: = The single individual leading a quiet stedfast life.
11. Magnets as part of a magneto-electric machine for defensive purposes or lighting: = Single people bound together for work by ties of discipline, as in army, navy and Roman church of old school.
a. Dynamo electric machine for giving light, also useful for offensive, defensive, and other work, such as chemical analysis: = a. Units in schools, universities, armies and navies who mutually instruct each other, scholars who rub up masters, soldiers and sailors who instruct their officers, and are in their turn instructed by them; the new school of teaching.
12. The Commutator which reverses the-currents making I them do the same work as + currents instead of neutralising them as they would I otherwise do: = The person who by divine influence can lead the thoughts of others in the right direction, so that they do not neutralise thoughts for good.

Where we have so many parallels the question rises,: Is this a consequence of the influence of Electricity on the human being? Is it a part of the divine spiritual influence our great Teacher taught us to expect? Electricity, in its most intense forms of thunder and lightning, was by all nations considered a symbol of divine presence or interference, This has been neglected of late, as we do not now study the works of God as our ancestors did, before they had the Word of God. We trust entirely to the latter and our own interpretations of it, forgetting that the best interpreters of His Word are His works.

If electricity causes or modifies actions in the human races, we by study of it come one step nearer solution of the problems. Who and what were our ancestors? By page 20 what processes have we arrived at the state of development we are in now? And what further development has own Creator in store for us, so that we may join heartily in it? Not as the Mohammedan, who waits passively for what Allah sends him, but as intelligent children win wish to forward their Father's work, and whose wills are thus blended with His.

The induction coil I have already utilised as a symbol in "Creation with Development," which, perhaps, beginning at the wrong end, as so few know much about the working of Electricity and Magnetism; they are content to use it without studying the working. I hope this may simplify it, and enable people to take more interest in the working of this marvellous force so recently made known to us; and which brings us very close to the works of God and how He carries out His great designs, all known and planned beforehand by Him, and not the result of a chance called evolution.

If Electricity is not the force working in human beings it runs so closely parallel to it that it is quite worth studying in these days that we are so anxious to remove the stumbling-blocks which lead to dissension about Religion and disputes between nations.

Whitcomb and Tombs Ltd.