Vol 2, No 5
by Alexander Fullerton
A paper read before the Aryan T.S. of New York, by Alexander Fullerton Published by the Theosophical Publishing Services, Duke Street, Adelphi 1889. Reprinted from “Theosophical Siftings” Volume 2 The Theosophical Publishing Society, England
THE term “Universal Brotherhood " is obviously an extension to the whole human family of the idea in the word “brother", a child of the same parents as is oneself. It suggests at once the thought of equal rights, common interests, mutual affection, and responsive care. Moreover, it incites an exhilarating conception of what might be the state of things throughout the earth if family tenderness were the law of all life, if race and tribal animosities were ended, and if everyone felt a wrong perpetrated on a foreigner as keenly as if perpetrated on a relation. This is the true view of human solidarity, and a vivid apprehension of it would abolish national wars, social outrages, and personal injustice. Its unlimited influence in securing peace and good-will was seen by the founders of the Theosophical Society, and they proclaimed it as the very first of their and its aims, not as a gracious sentiment, not as a pleasing phrase, but as a principle of action, a means of social regeneration. If we did not believe in it, there would be no Aryan society, there would be no meeting tonight. And yet the very fact that it is a principle and not a sentiment warrants some examination into its nature. If a principle, it must have a root, must sustain analogy to other principles, must be capable of practical uses, and also must be subject to limitations and just restrictions. As the term “Universal Brotherhood " is derivative, we may properly look for these in the primary, and thus infer facts as to the universal human family from facts in the domestic families which epitomize it. Now, when we come to search for that which constitutes the cohesive influence in a family, we shall find it, I think, to be none other than that which constitutes cohesive influence anywhere else — affinity. It cannot be the mere fact of relationship. That is altogether casual. We do not select our relations, any more than we select our temperament. Nor can it be the closeness of association. That is quite as likely to arouse hostility as friendship; and, indeed, the peculiar bitterness of family quarrels is proverbial. Nor can it be the consciousness of common parentage, for the parents may be distasteful and anything but a source of harmony. Nor can it be the likeness of disposition, for the dissimilarity of traits in children is notorious. Nor is it any necessary oneness of interest, for [Page 4] interests in a household are very apt to be conflicting and to excite animosity. Nor need it be an instinct of union against aggressors, for that would only operate in barbarous communities or those under feudal laws. But if it is no one of these things, what is it ? Here, again, we must peer into actual families and so learn. Our own observation will show us that, where the family tie is very strong, it is where the members have the same tastes, ideas, pursuits, aims. Where the family tie is loose, it is where the members have variant convictions, differ in likes and habits, hold to separate standards of faith or duty. Where certain Page 1
Vol 2, No 5
members are in one group and certain others in a second, it is seen that in each case some common sympathy — in opinion, taste, what not — cements the units. And where, as is not infrequently the case, some one member is unlike the rest, and finds his associates wholly without the domestic circle, it is because the family character is not his, and his social wants must be met elsewhere. There is no mystery in any of this; it is all an illustration of the workings of affinity. And affinity, as every Occult student...