International Association for the Preservation of Spiritualist and Occult Periodicals
About Archives Practices Contribute Contacts Search


Periodical: Higher Thought

Summary:  From Pat Deveney's database:

Higher Thought, The.
A Journal in Exposition of the Essential Divinity of Man, His Consequent Dominion in Physical Health and Material Welfare, and an Exponent of the New Thought / A Journal of Realization.
Ye are Gods / Is it not written in your Law, I said ye are gods? -- Jesus
1901--1905? Monthly
Kalamazoo, MI, then Chicago, IL.
Editor: Evelyn Arthur See and Agnes Chester See.
Succeeds: Realization
1/1, 1901 (vol. 3, no. 6 is June 1903).
8 pp., $1.00-50 cents a year.

Advertised in Adiramled, July 1902 as "A journal in exposition of the Essential Divinity of man and His consequent dominion in physical health and material welfare," and in Unity, 1905, as an exposition of the Way of Deliverance into Truth from the sense of bondage to existence." The April 1902 issues of Adiramled and Now announced a symposium in the journal on "The Philosophy of Immortality" that would feature 12 essays written by the likes of See, W.J. Colville, Helen Wilmans, Henry Wood, H.W. Dresser, Dr. Otoman Zar-Adusht Ha’nish, J. William Lloyd, George Chainey, et al., all of which subsequently appeared in the journal. The Life, 1904, called it a "high class journal," and noted another symposium, this time on physical immortality: "The question of Immortality of the Body is the great question of the hour, and in this symposium is to be presented a great study and a means of great Spiritual Illumination." A widely advertised symposium on sex with many of the authors listed above was abandoned in June 1903 "for many reasons which are deemed sufficient" -- a phrase that undoubtedly masked a change in public sentiment on the topic: "This question [sex] will gradually settle itself with those who are seriously earnest to know its truth, and it is the part of wisdom under the present state of the public mind to leave more for a time to be adjusted in this way." H.H. Brown, New Thought Primer (1903), 53, says that the journal was "full of strong spiritual vibrations." Evelyn Arthur See (1863-1942) first spread his ideas in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he published this journal and its predecessor, largely along the lines of Christian Science, and ran The Shrine, a healing institute, and then in 1903 moved with his wife to Chicago, where, in the fall of 1905, he began to receive from "the Spirit" new, revolutionary revelations and started the Absolute Life community, combining his teachings on the coming new race with a predilection for very young girls--for luring one of which into concubinage he was convicted in 1911. Agnes Chester See apparently was not in favor of the new doctrines and left in 1907, only to reappear a few years later running her own "Temple of the Church of Christlike Deliverance" as a "Christlike reincarnation" and running a noodle factory in Chicago with a new High Priest. The gist of his teaching, young girls aside, was that the individual was from his birth Absolute Life incarnate, a sovereign, perfected spirit, though at present only those who joined his "House of God" community, abandoned their belief in the mortal mind and escaped the degrading impulses that that mind imposed, could realize and live their spiritual nature. "[T]he people of absolute life live from a new mind, a mind which never wills to do wrong, that they do not sin, that they cannot commit evil, that they are always right . . . ." See, Immortal Life on Trial (1911), 114. Part of this new mind, though the details are lacking, was the movement’s solution of the ultimate "question of sex": "In that pure consciousness both the man and the woman are free, they are free in themselves and are free with each other; they are free because in them there is no longer that which would make them do what they should not do, that which would make them depart from what is true into an attempt to fulfill mortal desires. Having been brought into full light, into the true way, the people must be given freedom; in no other way can they be true. I make them pure and, being pure, they become free, and, being free, they live out that which they have have found to be pure. I accept the man and the woman and I allow them to live all that they are. . . . There is nothing unnatural in absolute life, there is nothing supernatural. Children will be born of men and women as ever. The difference is that with mortality and perversion dissolved the men and women will be pure, their sexual life will be in fulfillment of their truth; it will not be an indulgence of sensuality or of mortal desire." (116-117) The House of God included a Junior Commonwealth (with its own flag) to educate the young girls of the community, and it was from this that the prosecution at See’s trial contended he selected the girls to be debauched. See’s explanation was that the Absolute Life was a family, destined to produce the race of the new age, and that "[t]herefore, those in absolute life, those who are the Family in whom is the foundation and also the hope of absolute life, do not reject anything; they purify their minds from all mortality and all perversion and then freely and willingly and joyfully live out what is in them, they know that what is in them after all ignorance and all perversion are gone, is true, is good." (270) The court was not amused and See was convicted and sentenced to five years in jail. Clarence Darrow attempted without success to gain his early release on parole and he only emerged from prison in 1916. It is unknown whether Absolute Life continued without See or after his release but in the early 1920s he appears as a farmer in Michigan.

Issues:Higher Thought V3 N6 June 1903

Creative Commons License
IAPSOP materials are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
IAPSOP respects people's privacy and personal data rights.