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The goal of creation

Location:
Washington, DC
Year:
1920
Long title
The goal of creation, a constructive course in human progress within the temple of great achievements
Variant titles
In the temple of great achievements; a constructive course in human progress, revealing the goal of creation, by Edmund Shaftesbury

Review

The Goal of Creation is a course "in human progress within the temple of great achievements" - whatever that means - consisting of five grandly-titled "divisions":

  1. Preparing to ENTER THE TEMPLE a personal and private system of training, intended to prepare the body for its great duties that follow after
  2. The STUDY OF CREATION
  3. The great CONSTRUCTIVE COURSE in human progress
  4. The TEMPLE OF GREAT ACHIEVEMENTS
  5. The GOAL OF CREATION

Preparing to Enter the Temple

Diet is important, especially what Edgerly calls "bacterial foods", though what he means by the term is unclear:

... a raw egg is one hundred per cent bacterial and ... raw milk is practically so. These are the only two foods produced in Nature with so great values. As life is all bacteria, it becomes necessary to find foods that have the largest proportions of these germs. Experiments prove the facts by the uniform results.

...

Distilled water should be aerated, which means that it should become charged with bacteria. The malignant and virulent bacteria, as of typhoid, should be avoided.

Having given us the benefit of his dietary wisdom, including a recommendation to eat one's baked beans cold and two days old, Edgerly presses the reader to continue to the next stage by invoking the law of the survival of the fittest. According to him, if you join the ranks of the fittest by following Ralstonite practices then Nature will be less liable to polish you off early to make room for her favoured ones. In fact:-

... the deduction is warranted that

LIFE MAY BE PROLONGED INDEFINITELY.

The Study of Creation

The central tenet of this division is that everybody is crazy:-

Every year the alienists meet in a national conclave and pass resolutions, one of which is that every man, woman and child is insane.

"So the motion is that everybody's still as mad as last year. Any against? ... No? ... Carried unanimously!"

Animals and the inferior races can't help it but nice white people could become sane if they would only give up all the things that really get on Edgerly's wick, such as misleading advertising:-

A chain of grocery stores, using large space in the papers, among other falsehoods, advertised raisin bread, "shot full with delicious raisins." We bought a loaf at each of the several stores in one city, and found in the most crowded loaf, eight raisins, in another six, and in the least crowded, only two. A single slice, if shot full, would have contained more than all the above combined. The police took notice, and the advertisement was changed to read "baked with raisins" and then disappeared. This is but one example of millions of untrue claims made in business.

Or taking the odd drink:-

One of the brightest minded women we have ever met was of the firm belief that no insanity lurked in her system; by some mistake she was given whiskey and became just drunk enough to be demonstrative; but not enough to remain passive. She danced over some chairs onto the table, shouted like a campaign orator, shrieked like a student at a ball game, and threw the kitten out of the window before she could be calmed.

The problem is this thing called the MENTAL CORE, which seems to be, like Freud's Id, the beast within. We have to overcome it and develop our superior capacity, the MIND, by ceasing to read novels, watch silly plays or let murderous criminals out on bail.

The Great Constructive Course in Human Progress

Now Edgerly reveals to us the TWENTY DEPARTMENTS of the MENTAL CORE, which are: brutality; stomach lust; sex lust; bestial greed; superstition; crime; dishonesty; obstinacy; excitability; vanity; stupidity; idleness; insane foods; brain twists; curiosity; gambling; selfishness; demagogism; irritability; and indifference - no mere seven Deadly Sins for him.

(A cynic might observe that irritability is one of Edgerly's own most endearing characteristics).

Each of the TWENTY DEPARTMENTS is analysed and illustrated with many anecdotes in a CONSTRUCTIVE COURSE, then the reader is told how to avoid it in his own life, with a pledge supplied for him to sign and date. (None of the previous owners of my own copy has felt inspired to do so - too stupid or indifferent, perhaps?).

My favourite DEPARTMENT is "BRAIN TWISTS": which as defined by Edgerly is the pleasure found in nonsense, in the irrational, the quirky, the non sequitur, the pun, broad slapstick humour, funny noises, cartoons and caricatures, slang... Now, it has often been observed that any attempt to analyse humour spoils the joke, but the CONSTRUCTIVE COURSE in BRAIN TWISTS is an example of the opposite case: where an attempt to show that something is not funny actually makes it more so. To take an example, here Edgerly has found a cartoon strip not to his liking:-

According to the mental twist of civilization a boob is an insane person, and a nut is his brother, likewise insane. This happy combination of new words is found in the pictures which feature a young man named Boob McNutt. The artist is the only honestly frank creator of insane comics before the public, for he names his hero a boob and a nut. This places his work on the high pedestal of classic truth. He does not pretend that there is any sanity associated with the work or the characters he enjoys depicting. More than this, he does not seek to amuse the public, or even to entertain them; his work is merely an escape valve of his genius. To use his own language, "Well, children, his head is good for something after all. We can use it for a nut-cracker." "Three hundred and seventy-eight more glasses, girls, and his head will be under water." - a safe weighing two tons fell on his head, and he remarked, "I think something just tickled me on the head." - The fun is contained in the use of the word tickled, q. v. - "The man who raises the curtain was bitten by his pet blue fish and I want you to take his place." - "When the dancing mouse hears the music of the phonograph he will fox trot off the platform and land on the electric button that will shoot off the rocket and send you out of the window." - "If it takes six men twelve days to carry a load of coal up a hill half a mile long, what does it cost to cook a veal cutlet on a gas stove if it is raining outside?" - No wonder the competitive artists in confinement are envious. We are taking the results of this art at their face value. - "I pronounce you, Ambrose Marblehead and Dottty Velvet, man and wife." - The play is still on words meaning insanity, as the marblehead and dotty people are so regarded by the Bowery population. - "This pepper will make the hippopotamus sneeze and pull the trigger." - "The income tax took most of Shank's hard-earned boodle, he looked at the figures and went off his noodle. 'I'm a fish ball'" - Here still we have the synonym of insanity prevaling [sic] in the term, "went off his noodle." It is intended to amuse, entertain and lighten the burdens of the public. Does it? Another fun-producing picture is built on the climax which says, "A Terrible Hamm makes a big hit. The applause can be heard ten miles away," with the disclosure that the applause is hired; the basis for the comic idea being in the name and in the long distance of the applause and the ancient practice of hiring men to applaud. The remaining question is, does this combination entertain?

The climax of this division is entitled "The Regent of Life" - a sort of fancy name for God. Edgerly asserts that The Regent is going to make what he calls "The Quantity Class" - nasty, non-white, ruled by the MENTAL CORE - extinct, leaving "The Quality Class" - nice, white, country-dwelling Ralstonites - in charge of the Earth. How this extinction will occur he does not specify though he speculates on the possibility of the Earth's axes shifting, with consequences he finds disturbingly congenial:-

The Creator is bitterly at enmity with the dwellers in the cities; the men and women who have abandoned God's own country for the devil's. The submerging of the entire coast from Portland, Maine to Norfolk, Virginia, would at least teach a lesson to the people farther inland who might survive; it would put under the waters of the sea, in a single night perhaps, such sites as are found on that coast line, including some of the most depraved peoples, compared with whom the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were gentle as doves.

Don't worry that we have to wait around idly for The Regent to get going and slaughter some sinning millions: we can do our bit for civilization by making theft and robbery into capital offences.

Temple of Great Achievements

T. O. G. A. - toga, get it?

As counter-weight to the 20 departments of the MENTAL CORE, there are 34 GREAT ACHIEVEMENTS to strive for - and a pretty weird assortment they make, which includes the following:-

Fourth. - "Adopt Sane Foods." Seventh. - "Select an Ideal Climate." Thirteenth. - "Upbuild and Refine Country Life." Sixteenth. - "Abolish Re-elections." Eighteenth. - "Abolish Jury Trials." Twenty-third. - "Prevent Unfit Parentage." Twenty-fifth. - "Grasp the Meaning of Universal Irresponsibility." Twenty-third. - "Prevent Unfit Parentage." Twenty-eighth. - "Adopt Self Counter Influences." Thirty-third. - "Establish a New Civilization."

Edgerly wants his readers to organise themselves into Local Temples, to carry forward his ideas; and he is not modest in his ambitions on their behalf:-

While your Local Temple is doing its work, perhaps a million others elsewhere may be doing theirs. It is by such a vast interest that the evils of today may be driven out of existence and a new era ushered in.

Goal of Creation

The final, very short, division is Edgerly's exposition of his version of Christianity: those possessed by the MENTAL CORE are due for extermination, while those who admit the influence of The Regent of Life will gain eternal life:-

No thinking person doubts that all vegetation and all animal life below humanity, merges back into the crust of the earth; and through that process into the general fund of universal thought. Nor does any thinking person doubt that the brute races so merge. This being true, it becomes necessary that a line of demarcation should somewhere exist; and plain common sense declares, in terms unmistakable, that such a line exists between the people who are swayed or controlled by the Mental Core on the one hand, and those who have been able to make the Mental Core of secondary influence in their lives. This is a self-evident truth. There can be no other place where such a line can be drawn.

In a nutshell: say no to Boob McNutt and all his works and you too may enter the Kingdom of Heaven.