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that militates against that proposition; for scientifically verified facts are not to their liking when such facts do not harmonize with their emotions. It is a thankless task to warn them that such practices are abnormal to the last degree, destructive to the nervous organization, weakening to the objective intellect, and, instead of being promotive of spiritual growth, constitute the direct path to spiritual imbecility. It is even useless to try to encourage them by explaining to them that the faculties which they are trying to use amidst the trammels of the flesh and the limitations of the law of suggestion, are faculties which are normal only to a future life, when the soul is freed from its earthly limitations, and is thereby enabled to exercise those intuitional powers of perception which belong only to a realm of truth. They are not content to await their allotted time, but rush unbidden to the gates of heaven, determined to penetrate the secrets which Jesus withheld from all mankind, and which must forever remain a mystery to incarnate man.
I remarked, in the beginning of this digression, that "the possession of the intuitional faculty alone would, to the disembodied soul, constitute the Buddhistic Nirvana." I mean by this remark that, if this faculty of the soul constituted the only one which it carries with it into a future life, it would correspond exactly with the Brahmanist idea of the status and capacity of the perfected soul. It would be a purely intellectual being, destitute of emotion, and therefore divested of all human interest or affection, bereft of memory, and therefore of individuality, and possessing only what is vaguely termed a "cosmic consciousness," which seems to have reference to nothing of human interest, if it has any definite meaning whatever. We might well suppose such a being to be destined to be absorbed into Brahm without either loss to itself or material gain to Brahm.
To the Western mind, accustomed to regard a future life
as one fraught with human interest, such a destiny would be regarded as equivalent to utter annihilation. It becomes important, therefore, for us to inquire whether there is anything in the structure of the subjective mind to warrant a conclusion so repugnant to every normal emotion of the human soul.
In pursuing this inquiry, the first question which naturally arises is, What is the primary and most essential attribute or power which man, constituted as he is in this life, most naturally desires his soul to possess as a means of enjoyment in a life to come? Clearly, the answer of every normally constituted person would be, The retention of conscious individuality. It is obvious that all other enjoyments depend upon that. Any condition, minus the personality, would be the equivalent of annihilation. "What a man is and has in himself," says Schopenhauer, "in a word, personality, with all it entails, is the only immediate and direct factor in his happiness and welfare." This, in the very nature of things, must be as true of a future life as it is of the present. If, therefore, it can be shown that the soul has the means and the power to retain that personality, it will be seen that the great factor in man's happiness and welfare will be present in a future life.
The three essential prerequisites to the retention of personality are (1) Consciousness, (2) Memory, and (3) Will. Consciousness and memory are the two co-ordinate, concomitant factors which constitute the personality of each individual, so far as he himself is able to realize it, or to take cognizance of his own existence as a distinct entity. Consciousness is the state of being aware of one's existence and of one's mental acts and states. Memory is the faculty of the mind by which it retains the knowledge of previous thoughts or events; without memory there could be no possible retention of personality. What is known of the sum total of a man's experiences and qualities constitutes his per
sonality as it is cognized by others. What one remembers of those experiences constitutes his personality as cognized by himself. It follows that one's personality is more or less pronounced in proportion to the retentiveness of his memory; just as one is distinguished in the estimation of his fellows in proportion to what is known of his characteristics as shown by the known events of his life. If, therefore, the memory and the consciousness should be blotted out, the being might sustain an existence, but it would be purely vegetal. The personality would remain only as a memory of those who knew him; but, so far as the individual would be concerned, his condition would be the equivalent of annihilation.
The intelligent reader will have anticipated me in what I am to say regarding the perfect memory of the subjective mind, and the conclusions derivable therefrom. As the perfection of subjective memory has been again and again demonstrated,1 it will here be taken for granted. The general conclusion to be derived is that the personality of the soul will be as much more pronounced than that of the objective, physical human entity as the memory of the former exceeds that of the latter.
Again the reader must be reminded of the fundamental axiom upon which this argument is based, which is, in brief, that there is no useless faculty of the human mind. It will then be pertinent to inquire what possible function a perfect subjective memory can be supposed to perform if it is not what has been indicated? It must be remembered,
1. That the objective mind possesses a power of recollection which is all-sufficient for the uses of this life. A perfect subjective memory has, therefore, no function to perform in the intellectual processes of objective existence.
2. That all exercise, on the physical plane, of the powers of the subjective mind are abnormal, and productive of
1 See "The Law of Psychic Phenomena,” ch. iv., v.
untoward results to the physical frame.
It has, therefore,
no normal function pertaining to physical life.
The question then arises, What function can it perform in a future life? Clearly it is not a necessity as an aid to the intellectual processes of the soul; for that has been shown to possess the inherent power of intuitional perception or cognition of all truth. It would, therefore, be a faculty as superfluous to the soul as the faculty of reasoning inductively, considered solely as an aid to intellectual development, and for the same reason.
There remains but one other direction in which we can look with reasonable hope to find a normal function for perfect subjective memory. In that direction we find three functions, two of which are concomitant and obvious, and the other is inferential and speculative.
The first is what has already been indicated; namely, it enables the soul to retain its personality. The second is included in the first; namely, it enables the soul to recognize its friends, and, inferentially, to resume social relations at will. Here, then, are ample functions for the memory of the soul, and they are of weighty import in more senses than have been named; but these will be reserved for future consideration. It is sufficient for the present to have shown that the soul has the prerequisite faculties for the retention of its personality, and it remains to ascertain if it also possesses the motive force necessary for the purpose. The third prerequisite named is will.
Will is a motive force: it chooses when stimulated by desire; it has its biological origin in desire. One's will, therefore, is strong in proportion to his desires regarding any particular object; and, other things being equal, his ability to accomplish a particular end is in exact proportion to his strength of will, or desire to do so. Without will, therefore, nothing can be accomplished. It is this which distinguishes the man from the brute; that is to say, it is
one of the factors which count for immortal life in man, but which is totally absent in the brute; the man wills to retain his individuality after the death of the body, and he alone has the power and potentiality of a self-existent entity. The inchoate soul of the brute has no conception of a future life, and hence no desire no will to enable him to retain his individuality, and no consciousness of the possibility of any but a physical life.
The strongest desire of the human soul is to retain its personality. It is instinctive; that is to say, it is the extension of the instinct of self-preservation to a future life. It is the higher manifestation of that instinct, the primary function of which is the preservation of the body, but which belongs equally to the soul, and performs its higher function in the preservation of its personality. Jesus expressed, in the strongest possible terms, the strength and intensity of human desire, when he said, "What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
If any one doubts the intensity of the desire of the normal man for the retention of his personality, let him try to think of some living person with whom he would be willing to exchange personalities. It is doubtful if there is a person so utterly miserable and unfortunate that he would be willing to blot out all of the memories which constitute his individuality, abandon all his hopes for the future, and accept in exchange the personality of the most fortunate person on earth. Such is the inherent egoism (not egotism) of the subjective entity.
Let not this word be construed altogether in the offensive sense; for the emotion represented has a normal function to perform which is of the most transcendent importance.
It is desirable at this point to understand clearly certain very important distinctions which must be drawn before the subject can be properly understood. As the dictionaries