The Enduring Quest: A Search For A Philosophy Of Life by H.A. Overstreet (1931)
The book “The Enduring Quest” by professor and head of the department of philosophy and psychology (College of the City of New York)
Review by Tigran Aivazian
The book begins with the consideration of the influence of the latest discoveries in physics on the complex issues of human psychology, such as the meaning of human life viewed in its wholeness. He often quotes the works of Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington and Sir James Jeans and it is curious to note that those two authors happen to be the two chief sources of other papers in the above-mentioned Urantia Papers set, namely papers 41 and 42.
Then he considers the fallacy of abstraction and what it means to really “know an individual” and the kinds of knowledge there can be. His philosophical ideas on the connection between matter and knowledge (information) resonate somewhat with the new “purely scientific” ideas rediscovered in the setting of quantum info dynamics. But the most dramatic part is Overstreet’s revelation of “Man as a Revealer”. The basis for this concept is not that of some “special prophet”, isolated from the rest of mankind, but, quite the contrary, the cosmic integration of the personality and maturity of the mind (the theme is developed further in Overstreet’s other book “The Mature Mind”). He emphasizes that the orthodox considerations of the process of evolution tend to look backward rather than forward, i.e. treat the past forms and stages of development as somehow “more fundamental” and thereby totally neglect the signs of the emerging “future forms”. In this sense, a growing human soul with an open, maturing mind can be truly considered “a revealer, a prophet”.
He even suggests to use a different word to describe this new concept: “advolution”, i.e. “evolution towards” as opposed to “evolution”, i.e. “evolution out of”. The clear manifestation of this process is the “advolution of the concept of God” and the error of all evolutionary religions which tenaciously hold to their traditions and dogmas because of looking backward rather than forward. The “prophet” of the evolutionary religions is a kind of “superman” (as if coming out of the mad mind of Nietzsche, whose philosophy, by the way, Overstreet considers to be an “invitation to madness”, just like the capitalist pseudo-economic ideas of Adam Smith and belligerent class struggle ideas of Karl Marx) representing the anthropomorphic God of the savage tribes from the past, rather than the true God of love who dwells within every fellow human being and inspires us to love. So, the religion of revelation could be called “evolutionary religion” as opposed to “evolutionary religions” like Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and so on.
Author: H.A. Overstreet