By Stephanie Kelly
Walter Russell, 1871-1963, was a man of many talents. He has been called a painter, sculptor, musician, and natural philosopher to list a few. He is also considered to be part of the New Thought Movement that started in the 1800’s and was based on combining spirituality and science. Some of the main focuses in the New Thought Movement were hypnotism, mental and spiritual healing along with health care that focused on illness being more mental than physical. To explain it simpler, the New Thought Movement focuses on being one with the world as a whole and less on the man made.
What was Mr. Russell’s role in the New Thought Movement? Walter Russell believed that humans evolved in stages, not only physically but also mentally. He was among the few that believed that the human brain had made leaps in its focus and process such as going from animal awareness as a primary focus to rational awareness. Russell accepted the thought of Richard Bucke that the next big leap in humans was going to be from rational awareness to spiritual consciousness. In an article for Message of the Divine Iliad, Russell stated “This New Age is marking the dawn of a new world-thought. That new thought is a new cosmic concept of the value of man to man. The whole world is discovering that all mankind is one and that the unity of man is real – not just an abstract idea. Mankind is beginning to discover that the hurt of any man hurts every man, and, conversely, the uplift of any man uplifts every man.” Mr. Russell also leased a building known as Swannanoa Mansion for the University of Science and Philosophy. This school was started by Mr. Russell and his wife with the motto “Our purpose is to help unfold the spiritual nature of man in order that the human race will find happiness and peace through knowledge and practice of the Love Principle of Giving and Regiving which Nature alone practices and man defies.” This organization still has a following today though it is no longer recognized as a teaching University and focuses on providing information for people to study independently.
With some research into Mr. Russell and his thoughts on the New Age and New Thought Movement, here is what I have gathered from his writings and biography:
Mr. Russell believed that our brain originally focused on processing its surroundings; animals, plants, weather, etc. This would of been done in a primal survival type of thought process. An example of this today is how an animal can hide an illness or injury so that predators won’t be able to easily spot its weakness. As we, as humans, developed socially and intellectually our thought process also developed. With social and physical stability we were able to develop a mental aware of ourselves more than our surroundings. This in turn caused us to become more aware of our health and injuries and allowed us to begin to show our weaknesses. This also would of caused our brains to develop a compassion and protective concern for others. My interruption of Walter Russell’s believe is that the next stage of mental evolution is that humans will become more aware of the unexplained and spiritual aspect of the world. We will also be able to control our Though he never truly states what our brains with start to process or how they will affect our lives, it does bring up a good conversation and focus of study.
Walter Russell was a very well educated man and he believed that one day spirituality and science will be able to work together under a common goal. Does this mean that he thought basic scientific methods could be used in proving spiritual and unexplained occurrences? It is hard to say if his theory of combining these two has developed or progressed since his death, it is also hard to say if his theory is valid.
The Man Who Tapped The Secrets Of The Universe, 1946, by Glenn Clark