Following The Bliss

November 2016 Blog
By James Van Cleave, Ph. D.
Science of Mind Archives & Library Foundation

I am fascinated with what went on during “the split,” when the IARSC (Internationals) separated, but not completely, from the Institute (Uniteds). Every time I read Dr. Marilyn Leo’s Chronicles of Religious Science, Vol. 1 (Yes, Vol. 2 is coming soon!), I realize the waves of joy and sorrow, and of progress and pain, of the decades finally leading to the unification in 2012.

I first poured over Chronicles looking for the interaction between Ernest Holmes and perhaps the finest of the Internationals, Dr. Raymond Charles Barker, a minister whose work I would love to see brought forth more, and of whom we have many papers, books, and tapes. But because my particular interest is theology, I wonder if there developed any change in direction after the split, even though both factions used the same textbook. Was there a difference in emphasis? Scanning the back issues of Creative Thought provides some clues, but I want to get into the minute details that Dr. Barker emphasized in his writings. Clearly, there is a potential Archives project afoot here, and any support would be most welcome. Please feel free to help.

So, I went to our website and typed in Barker and immediately got 31 citations. (This should have been hundreds, but our search database is limited and many SOM Magazines are not yet scanned (more funds welcome here also). I went for the April 1952 SOMM article entitled “Power is Where We Are,” which I found to be excellent in today’s world too. However, something else also happened.

To explain, Joseph Campbell, in his Companion, and other places, described his 1930’s adventure in Woodstock, NY, a five year long reading of many books, as follows:

I read Joyce and Mann and Spengler. Spengler speaks about Nietzsche. I go to Nietzsche. Then I find you can’t read Nietzsche until you’ve read Schopenhauer, so I go to Schopenhauer. I find you can’t read Schopenhauer until you’ve read Kant. (p62)

The next thing you know, you have a tableful of open books when you follow your bliss this way, as Campbell gladly complains. Importantly, you also find unexpected things off the path, which leads you into other areas altogether. But you know this.

Anyway, in searching out Rev. Barker, which I must continue to do, I also found Dwight Eisenhower’s excellent article, also in the April 1952 SOMM (and 1952 was an election year!), entitled Selflessness And the End of War, where Ike and Generals Bradley and Marshall discuss what “special qualities they would look for in a man to be given a big job.” This article is a classic, and Ernest Holmes himself must have personally approved it. I’ll bet that you will enjoy both articles.