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And now, This I Believe, a series of living philosophies presented in the hope they may help to strengthen and enrich your life. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Guy A. West has been in the educational world for the past thirty years. Born in Arkansas, he was raised in the open country of New Mexico. He saw the West grow in this past half-century and now he is participating in the development of the young people there, as the president of a recently established state college in Sacramento, California. Here is the creed of Dr. West.
Lying under the stars one clear night while still in my teens, I first became aware of the difficulty of conceiving an infinite universe. Focusing upon a starless patch of the heavens, I said to myself, There must be an end to space, but where and what is it? My position was as futile as that of a microbe ending its full life in the crack of an elephant’s skin and calling it a world.
I also had difficulty comprehending the origin or the creation of such a huge and marvelously complicated structure, as the universe seemed to be. And then there was a question of purpose. Had God created millions of galaxies merely to select one small speck, called Earth, upon which to establish man? And why so many other creatures, ranging from microbes to dinosaurs?
Later I learned that the ancient philosophers reasoned that material objects must consist of infinitely small, fast-moving particles, or atoms. Modern science confirmed this, and stated that the atom was composed of minute energy particles moving very rapidly and having electrical properties. Since mental activity also involved electrical current and waves, it seemed likely that mind and matter, ultimately, might be one, and possibly one with God. I therefore speculated that our experiences are but waves of thought in the infinite mind of God. I also considered the possibility that our solar system might be but an atom of higher order in an inconceivably large object of which we might be but corpuscles or microbes, some of us beneficial, others non-beneficial to the main object or to the body of God which we inhabited. Such was the impact of a little learning upon a little mind with a lot of curiosity.
To speculate further, I am convinced of the inadequacy of the naïve conception of God as a man some 6 feet tall, weighing some 200 pounds. The power that we call God must be ever so much more than this, so much more, in fact, as to overtax my conceptual powers. But I do not have to know all about food, clothing, and mechanical devices to appreciate them and to benefit from them. However, there is a wise and proper use of such things, which leads to growth and health and happiness, while unwise use leads to discomfort, and even death or destruction. So, I believe, it is with God. For me, the greatest blessings come from the most harmonious adjustment on my part and from my effort to discover and to live in accord with noble purposes, rather than petty, selfish aims.
And so, I believe there is a great purpose behind what I dimly see of the universe, and that God the infinite power is the designer. I believe He has given man intelligence, so that perhaps through centuries of evolution we may play an increasingly greater part in the achievement of His plan or purpose. I believe we should live and work effectively for that purpose, even though we see it but dimly now. And finally I believe that this will so contribute to the improvement of man that ultimately the spark of divinity, which is in all men, will glow more brightly and enable us to see God more clearly and to understand His purpose more thoroughly.
That was Guy A. West, an educator, a successful trout fisherman, and an active citizen in his community.