person becomes a slave to his own project. This is not the Plan, and if the condition continues uncorrected, physical society will collapse upon the individual, burying him beneath the debris of his own productions.

With the rise of materialism, the Secret Societies were concealed from the profane, not by any elaborate machinery of their own, but by popular disbelief. There was no place for sacred institutions in minds already dedicated to scientific skepticism. The importance of invisible principles over visible purposes and ambitions was simply ignored. Only that small minority which remained true to a higher standard of values continued to be concerned with inevitable outcome. For the majority, the physical world with its wonders was sufficient to absorb all available time and interest. The result is obvious. The physical state of man enlarged, and his ethical horizons were appropriately narrowed.

The old adversaries were gone. The power of the Church and State to plague the destiny of the average man was broken. It was no longer needful to struggle against the despotism of feudalism or the perversities of princes. The Inquisition had lost its terror, and theology was unable to impose its traditional formulas upon a down-trodden laity. But the ills that men must bear changed their appearances, not their substance. The authority of science took the place left vacant by the departing authorities of aristocracy and theology. It was still necessary for the human spirit to struggle against the intolerances of the human mind.

Personal ambitions, liberated by the new code of freedom, immediately began to dream of supremacy. A vast concept, highly competitive in principle and highly destructive in practice, perpetuated most of the instruments of the old tyranny. Siegfried had slain the dragon, but was in grave danger of being drowned in the blood that flowed from the mortal wound. Having overcome the despotism of entrenched classes, humanity discovered the despotism in itself. It was faced with the unhappy realization that tyrannical systems are only symbols of those tyrannical instincts which exist in all creatures until they are overcome by enlightened understanding.

—From Hunt's History of the Seal of the United States

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