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I have not con
account any of the vagaries of spiritism. sidered the evils to which it has given rise, the gross immoralities which some of its votaries teach both by precept and example, nor the absurdities into which many of its followers have been led. When a law of Nature is misunderstood, there is inevitable danger to those who rashly place themselves within its reach. This is just as true of the laws of mind as it is of the laws of matter. The law which, rightly understood, is the most beneficent, may become an engine of destruction to those who ignorantly place themselves in wrong relations to it.
What I have here said of spiritism, therefore, must be considered as having reference to its aggregate effect upon the human family. In this respect I have no hesitation in saying that, as a whole, it has been beneficent. But, taking a still broader view of the subject, it must be said that its manifestations. are a necessary and an indispensable part of the grand aggregate of psychic phenomena, through which alone man is at last enabled to study the science of the soul. Not that it teaches us just what is in store for man in a future state of existence, for, in the language of the Beloved Disciple, "it doth not yet appear what we shall be;" but it teaches us what man is. Not that we shall ever be able to enter into communication with the inhabitants of the spirit world, and thus learn more than Jesus revealed to us; but we may learn by induction something of what he knew by intuition; and we may, perchance, learn enough of the laws of the soul to be able to postulate immortality with some degree of scientific certainty. If this should prove to be the outcome of spiritistic phenomena, all will agree that it has not been produced in vain; even though, by the same process of reasoning, it should be demonstrated that spirits of the dead do not communicate with the living, and although the whole superstructure of spiritistic philosophy, based upon the assumption of spirit communion, should be demolished.
It seems to me that I am warranted in saying that enough of thoroughly verified facts have already accumulated to enable us to successfully apply the processes of induction to the solution of the problem of a future life. The facts of mesmerism; the facts of hypnotism, as developed by the scientific investigators of Europe and America; the vast array of scientifically verified facts presented in the reports of the London Society for Psychical Research, together with the rich store of facts presented in the phenomena of spiritism, - constitute the material from which it is hoped to learn something, not only of what man is, but of the fate to which he is destined.
HAS MAN A SOUL?
Spirit. — The
Intuitive Perceptions of the Existence of a Soul in Man. - Plato's Philosophy. The Doctrine of Body, Soul, and Doctrine of Jesus. Modern Scientific Scepticism. ments of Modern Science. - The Dual Hypothesis. nomena of Dreams.—The Objective and Subjective Mental States differentiated. - Limitations of Powers of Reasoning in the Subjective Mind. — Its Perfect Power of Deduction. — Telepathy and Prevision.
T has thus far been provisionally assumed that man has a soul. But, before proceeding to formulate a scientific argument demonstrative of the soul's immortality, it is logically necessary to demonstrate the verity of the provisional assumption. Materialistic science will certainly be satisfied with nothing less; for it is at this point that it invariably calls a halt, and reminds us that the primary rule of logic demands that our premises be not assumed.
In discussing this branch of the subject in a work like this, the reader must be presumed to be somewhat familiar with the current literature relating to the psychic phenomena of the nineteenth century, especially with that which deals with the scientific aspects of the various questions involved. It is obviously impossible, within the limits of a single volume, to present documentary evidence of the verity of every statement that must be made. Therefore results only can be stated; but the reader may rest assured that I shall not attempt to lead him outside the
realm of scientifically verified facts, which can be experimentally reproduced. Should I attempt to do so, the fraud would be easily detected, for the facts are public property, and are known to him who reads. My conclusions from those facts, however, rest upon a different footing. They are necessarily my own, and it is the province. of the reader to test their soundness in the crucible of his own logic, if mine is found to be unsound or unsatisfactory.
That man has a soul, is and has been, since the dawn of civilization, a matter of intuitive perception; that is to say, all civilized people have felt that they realized, in a more or less definite way, that there is in man what appears to be a distinct entity which is apparently capable of sustaining an existence independently of the body. This fact of universality of perception constitutes a strong argument, though not a conclusive one, in support of that doctrine, and its corollary, a future life. It is noteworthy that in the early history of the world, the higher the state of civilization the more pronounced and definite were the current notions regarding the soul's existence; although they lacked that clearness and simplicity which characterized the purely intuitional perceptions of those who were less. skilled in philosophical ratiocination. Thus, in Greece, the doctrine was formulated in clear and definite terms by Plato who held that man is composed of "body, soul, and spirit." His doctrine, however, was the result of something more than intuition. He does not tell us the distinction between soul and spirit, and leaves us entirely in the dark as to whether his conclusions were arrived at from the observation of phenomena, or from purely speculative philosophy, without facts to sustain it. But it must be remembered that Plato, in common with the other philosophers of his day, regarded the conclusions derived from purely speculative philosophy as good as so many facts for
the purpose of constructing the major premise of a syllogism. Not that they disdained facts, or failed to employ them when they were easily obtainable, but that they failed to estimate the relative value of a demonstrated fact and the conclusions resulting from their own speculations. Again, Plato may have been influenced by the Hindu philosophy, which constructs man in sections, puts him together like a telescope, and assigns him the task of shedding one section at a time until there is nothing left but "pure spirit." It seems probable, however, that Plato's idea of man may have arisen from a mal-observation of psychic phenomena. Thus, his idea of the spirit may have been derived from his observation of the operation of the subjective faculties; and his idea of the soul, from his observation of the objective mental activity, or vice versa. In other words, he failed to observe that the objective mind, instead of being an entity, is merely the function of the human brain, and necessarily ceases with the death of the body; whereas the subjective mind belongs to a distinct entity, which is apparently capable of sustaining an existence independently of the body. It is this entity which modern philosophers denominate the "soul" or the spirit," the two terms, in the vocabulary of modern spiritual philosophy, being generally synonymous. It is true that there are still to be found occasional representatives of the "telescopic " school of spiritual philosophy, who hold to the old doctrine of three entities, body, soul, and spirit; but no one of them has ever been able to point to a single fact which discloses the existence of more than two. There are others who cling to the old vocabulary, but admit that there are but two entities, namely, the body and the soul; the spirit, in their philosophy, being the life principle which animates both body and soul, as well as all organic Nature. In this sense there is no objection to the phrase, save that it has a tendency to confuse the unscientific mind and to