A living and rational universe. Different forms and lines of rationality. Animated nature. The souls of stones and the souls of trees. The soul of a forest. The human "I" as a collective rationality. Man as a complex being. "Humanity" as a being. The world's soul. The face of Mahadeva. Prof. James on the consciousness of the universe. Fechner's ideas. Zendavesta. A living Earth.
IF rationality exists in the world, then it must permeate everything, although manifesting itself variously. We have accustomed ourselves to ascribe animism and rationality in this or that form to those things only which we designate as "beings," i.e., to those whom we find analogous to ourselves in the functions which define ANIMISM in our eyes.
Inanimate objects and mechanical phenomena are to us lifeless and irrational.
But this cannot be so.
It is only for our limited mind, for our limited power of communion with other minds, for our limited skill in analogy that rationality and psychic life in general manifest only in certain classes of living creatures, alongside of which a long series of dead things and mechanical phenomena exist.
But if we could not converse among ourselves, if every one of us could not infer the existence of rationality and of psychic life in another by analogy with himself, then everyone would consider himself alone to be alive and animated, and he would relegate all the rest of humankind to mechanical, "dead" nature.
In other words, we recognize as animated only those beings which have psychic life accessible to our observation in three-dimensional sections of the world, i.e., beings whose psyche is analogous to ours. About other consciousness we do not know and cannot know. All "beings" whose psychic does not manifest itself in the three-dimensional section of the world are inaccessible to us. If they contact our life at all, then we necessarily regard their manifestations as those of dead and unconscious nature. Our power of analogy is limited to this section. We cannot think logically outside of the conditions of the three-dimensional section. Therefore everything that lives, thinks and feels in a manner not analogous to us must appear dead and mechanical.
But sometimes we vaguely feel an intense life manifesting in the phenomena of nature, and sense a vivid emotionality the manifestations of which constitute the phenomena of (to us) inanimate nature. What I wish to convey is that behind the phenomena of visible manifestations is felt the noumenon of emotion.
In electrical discharges, in thunder and lightning, in the rush and howling of the wind, are seen flashes of the sensuous-nervous shudderings of some gigantic organism.
A strange individuality which is all their own is sensed in certain days. There are days brimming with the marvelous and the mystic, days having each its own individual and unique consciousness, its own emotions, its own thoughts. One may almost commune with these days. And they will tell you that they live a long, long time, perhaps eternally, and that they have known and seen many, many things.
In the processional of the year; in the iridescent leaves of autumn, with their memory-laden smell; in the first snow, frosting the fields and communicating a strange freshness and sensitiveness to the air; in the spring freshets, in the warming sun, in the awakening but still naked branches through which gleams the turquoise sky; in the white nights of the north, and in the dark, humid, warm tropical nights spangled with stars—in all these are the thoughts, the emotions, the forms, peculiar to itself alone, of some great consciousness; or better, all this is the expression of the emotions, thoughts and forms of consciousness of a mysterious being—Nature.
There can be nothing dead or mechanical in nature. If in general life and feeling exist, they must exist in all. Life and rationality make up the world.
If we consider nature from our side, from the side of phenomena, then it is necessary to say that each thing, each phenomenon, possesses a psyche of its own.
A MOUNTAIN, A TREE, A RIVER, THE FISH WITHIN THE RIVER, DEW AND RAIN, PLANET, FIRE—each separately must possess a psyche of its own.
If we consider nature from the other side, from the side of noumena, then it is necessary to say that each thing and each phenomenon of our world is a manifestation in our section of a rationality incomprehensible to us, belonging to another section, the same having there functions incomprehensible to us. In that section of space, one rationality is such and its function is such that it manifests itself here as a mountain, some other manifests as a tree, a third as a little fish, and so forth.
The phenomena of our world are very different from one another. If they are nothing else but manifestations in our section of different rational beings, then these beings must be very different too.
Between the psyche of a mountain and the psyche of a man there must be the same difference as between a mountain and a man.
We have already admitted the possibility of different existences. We said that a house exists, and that a man exists, and that an idea exists also—but they all exist differently. If we pursue this thought, then we shall discover many kinds of different existences.
The fantasy of fairy tales, making all the world animate, ascribes to mountains, rivers, forests a psychic life similar to that of men. But this is just as untrue as the complete denial of consciousness to inanimate nature. Noumena are as distinct and various as phenomena, which are their manifestation in our three-dimensional sphere.
Each stone, each grain of sand, each planet has its noumenon, consisting of life and of psyche, binding them into certain wholes incomprehensible to us.
The activity of life of separate units may vary greatly. The degree of the activity of life can be determined from the standpoint of its power of reproducing itself. In inorganic, mineral nature, this activity is so insignificant that units of this nature accessible to our observation do not reproduce themselves, although it may only seem so to us because of the narrowness of our view in time and space. Perhaps if that view embraced hundreds of thousands of years and our entire planet simultaneously, we might then see the growth of minerals and metals.
Were we to observe, from the inside, one cubic centimeter of the human body, knowing nothing of the existence of the entire body and of the man himself, then the phenomena going on in this little cube of flesh would seem like elemental phenomena in inanimate nature.
But in any case, for us phenomena are divided into living and mechanical, and visible objects are divided into organic and inorganic. The latter are partitioned without resistance, remaining as they were before. It is possible to break a stone in halves, and then there will be two stones. But if one were to cut a snail in two, then there would not be two snails. This means that the psyche of the stone is very simple, primitive—so simple that it may be fractured without change of state. But a snail consists of living cells. Each living cell is a complex being, considerably more intricate than that of a stone. The body of the snail possesses the power to move, to nourish itself, feel pleasure and pain, seek the first and avoid the last; and most important of all, it possesses the faculty to multiply, to create new forms similar to itself, to involve inorganic substance within these forms, subduing physical laws to its service. The snail is a complex centre of transmutation of some physical energies into others. This centre possesses a consciousness of its own. It is for this reason that the snail is indivisible. Its psyche is infinitely higher than that of the stone. The snail has the consciousness of form, i.e., the form of a snail is conscious of itself, as it were. The form of a stone is not conscious of itself.
In organic nature where we see life, it is easier to assume the existence of a psyche. In the snail, a living creature, we already admit without difficulty a certain kind of psyche. But life belongs not alone to separate, individual organisms—anything indivisible is a living being. Each cell in an organism is a living being and it must have a certain psychic life.
Each combination of cells having a definite function is a living being also. Another higher combination—the organ—is a living being no less, and possesses a psychic life of its own.
Indivisibility in our sphere is the sign of a definite function. If a given phenomenon in our plane is a manifestation of that which exists on another plane, then on our side evidently, indivisibility corresponds to individuality on that other side. Divisibility on our side shows divisibility on that side. The rationality of the divisible can express itself in a collective, non-individual reason only.
But even a complete organism is merely a section of a certain magnitude, of what we may call the life of this organism from birth to death. We may imagine this life as a body of four dimensions extended in time. The three-dimensional physical body is merely a section of the four-dimensional body, Linga-Sharîra. The image of the man which we know, his "personality," is also merely a section of his true personality, which undoubtedly has its separate psychic life. Therefore we may assume in man three psychic lives: first, the psychic life of the body, which manifests itself in instincts, and in the constant work of the body; second, his personality, a complex and constantly changing I, which we know, and in which we are conscious of ourselves; third, the consciousness of all life—a greater and higher I. In our state of development these three psychic lives know one another only very imperfectly, communicating under narcosis only, in trance, in ecstacy, in sleep, in hypnotic and mediumistic states, i.e., in other states of consciousness.
In addition to our own psychic lives, with which we are indissolubly bound, but which we do not know, we are surrounded by various other psychic lives which we do not know either. These lives we often feel, they are composed of our lives. We enter into these lives as their component parts, just as into our life enter different other lives. These lives are good or evil spirits, helping us or precipitating evil. Family, clan, nation, race—any aggregate to which we belong (such an aggregate undoubtedly possesses a life of its own), any group of men having its separate function and feeling its inner connection and unity, such as a philosophical school, a "church," a sect, a masonic order, a society, a party, etc., etc., is undoubtedly a living being possessing a certain rationality. A nation, a people, is a living being; humanity is a living being also. This is the Grand Man, ADAM KADMON of the Kabalists. ADAM KADMON is a being living in men, uniting in himself the lives of all men. Upon this subject, H. P. Blavatsky, in her great work, The Secret Doctrine (Vol. III, p. 146), has this to say:
. . . "It is not the Adam of dust (of Chapter II) who is thus made in the divine image, but the Divine Androgyne (of Chapter I), or Adam Kadmon."
ADAM KADMON is HUMANITY, or humankind—Homo Sapiens—the SPHYNX, i.e., "the being with the body of an animal and the face of a superman."
Entering as a component part into different great and little lives man himself consists of an innumerable number of great and little I's. Many of the I's living in him do not even know one another, just as men who live in the same house may not know one another.
Expressed in terms of this analogy, it may be said that "man" has much in common with a house filled with inhabitants the most diverse. Or better, he is like a great ocean liner on which are many transient passengers, each going to his own place for his own purpose, each uniting in himself elements the most diverse. And each separate unit in the population of this steamer orientates himself, involuntarily and unconsciously regards himself as the very centre of the steamer. This is a fairly true presentment of a human being.
Perhaps it would be more correct to compare a man with some little separate place on earth, living a life of its own; with a forest lake, full of the most diverse life, reflecting the sun and stars, and hiding in its depths some incomprehensible phantasm, perhaps an undine, or a water-sprite.
If we abandon analogies and return to facts, so far as these are accessible to our observation, it then becomes necessary to begin with several somewhat artificial divisions of the human being. The old division into body, soul and spirit, has in itself a certain authenticity, but leads often to confusion, because when such a division is attempted disagreements immediately arise as to where the body ends and where the soul begins, where the soul ends and the spirit begins, and so forth. There are no strict limits at all, nor can there be. In addition to this, confusion enters in by reason of the opposition of body, soul and spirit, which are recognized in this case as inimical principles. This is entirely erroneous also, because the body is the expression of the soul, and the soul of the spirit.
The very terms, body, soul and spirit need explanation. The "body" is the physical body with its (to us)little understood mind; the soul—the psyche studied by scientific psychology—is the reflected activity which is guided by impressions received from the external world and from the body. The "spirit" comprises those higher principles which guide, or under certain conditions may guide, the soul-life.
Thus a human being contains in itself the following three categories.
First: the body—the region of instincts, and the inner "instinctive" consciousnesses of the different organs, parts of the body, and the entire organism.
Second: the soul—consisting of sensations, perceptions, conceptions, thoughts, emotions and desires.
Third: the region of the unknown—consciousness, will, and the one I, i.e., those things which in ordinary man are in potentiality only.
Under the usual conditions of the average man the extremely misty focus of his consciousness is confined to the psyche perpetually going from one object to another.
I wish to eat.
I read a newspaper.
I wait for a letter.
Only rarely does it touch the regions which give access to the religious, esthetic and moral emotions, and to the higher intellect, which expresses itself in abstract thinking, united with the moral and esthetic sense, i.e., the sense of the necessity of the co-ordination of thought, feeling, word and action.
"In saying "I," a man means, of course, not the total complex of all these regions, but that which in a given moment is in the focus of his consciousness. "I wish" (or more correctly, simply "wish," because man very seldom says I wish): these words (or this word), playing the most important rôle in the life of man, usually refer not at all to every side of his being simultaneously, but merely to some small and insignificant facet, which at a given moment holds the focus of consciousness and subjects to itself all the rest, until it in turn is forced out by another equally insignificant facet.
In the psyche of man there occurs a continual shifting of view from one subject to another. Through the focus of receptivity runs a continuous cinematographical film of feelings and impressions, and each separate impression defines the I of a given moment.
From this point of view the psyche of man has often been compared to a dark, sleeping town in the midst of which night-guards with lanterns slowly move about, each lighting up a little circle around himself. This is a perfectly true analogy. In each given moment there are several such unsteadily lighted circles in the focus, and all the rest is enveloped in darkness.
Each such little lighted circle represents an I, living its own life, sometimes very short. And there is continuous movement, either fast or slow, moving out into the light more of new and still new objects, or else old ones from the region of memory, or tormentingly revolving in a circle of the same fixed ideas.
This continuous motion going on in our psyche, this uninterrupted running over of the light from one I to another, perhaps explains the phenomenon of motion in the outer visible world.
We know already by our intellect, that there is no such motion. We know that everything exists in infinite spaces of time, nothing is made, nothing becomes, all is. But we do not see everything at once, and therefore it seems to us that everything moves, grows, is becoming. We do not see everything at once, either in the outer world, or in the inner world; thence arises the illusion of motion. For example, as we ride past a house the house turns behind us; but if we could see it, not with our eyes, not in perspective, but by some sort of vision, simultaneously from all sides, from below and from above and from the inside, we should no longer see that illusory motion, but would see the house entirely immobile, just as it is in reality. Mentally, we know that the house did not move.
It is just the same with everything else. The motion, growth, "becoming," which is going on all around us in the world is no more real than the motion of a house which we are riding by, or the motion of trees and fields relative to the windows of a rapidly moving railway car.
Motion goes on inside of us, and it creates the illusion of motion round about us. The lighted circle runs quickly from one I to another—from one object, from one idea, from one perception or image to another: within the focus of consciousness rapidly changing I's succeed one another, a little of the light of consciousness going over from one I to another. This is the true motion which alone exists in the world. Should this motion stop, should all I's simultaneously enter the focus of receptivity, should the light so expand as to illumine all at once that which is usually lighted bit by bit and gradually, and could a man grasp simultaneously by his reason all that ever entered or will enter his receptivity and all that which is never clearly illumined by thought (producing its action on the psyche nevertheless)—then would a man behold himself in the midst of an immobile universe, in which there would exist simultaneously everything that lies usually in the remote depths of memory, in the past; all that lies at a remote distance from him; all that lies in the future.
C. H. Hinton very well says, in regard to beings of other sections of the world:
By the same process by which we know about the existence of other men around us, we may know of the high intelligences by whom we are surrounded. We feel them but we do not realize them.
To realize them it will be necessary to develop our power of perception.
The power of seeing with our bodily eye is limited to the three-dimensional section. But the inner eye is not thus limited; we can organize our power of seeing in higher space, and we can form conceptions of realities in this higher space.
And this affords the groundwork for the perception and study of these other beings than man.
We are, with reference to the higher things of life, like blind and puzzled children. We know that we are members of one body, limbs of one vine; but we cannot discern, except by instinct and feeling, what that body is, what the vine is.
Our problem consists in the diminution of the limitations of our perception.
Nature consists of many entities toward the apprehension of which we strive.
For this purpose new conceptions have to be formed first, and vast fields of observation shall be unified under one common law. The real history of progress lies in the growth of new conceptions.
When the new conception is formed it is found to be quite simple and natural. We ask ourselves what we have gained; and we answer: Nothing; we have simply removed an obvious limitation.
The question may be put: In what way do we come into contact with these higher beings at present? And evidently the answer is: In those ways in which we tend to form organic unions—unions in which the activities of individuals coalesce in a living way.
The coherence of a military empire or of a subjugated population, presenting no natural nucleus of growth, is not one through which we should hope to grow into direct contact with our higher destinies. But in friend-ship, in voluntary associations and above all in the family, we tend towards our greater life.
Just as, to explore the distant stars of the heavens, a particular material arrangement is necessary which we call a telescope, so to explore the nature of the beings who are higher than we, a mental arrangement is necessary. We must prepare a more extended power of looking. We want a structure developed inside the skull for the one purpose which an exterior telescope will do for the other.
This animism of nature takes the most diverse directions. This tree is a living being. The birch tree in general—the species is a living being. A birch tree forest is a living being also. A forest in which there are trees of different kinds, grass, flowers, ants, beetles, birds, beasts—this is a living being too, living by the life of everything composing it, thinking and feeling for all of which it consists.
This idea is very interestingly expressed in the essay of P. Florensky, The Humanitarian Roots of Idealism. (The Theological Messenger, 1909, II, p. 288. In Russian.)
Are there many people who regard a forest not merely as a collective proper noun and rhetorical embodiment, i.e., as a pure fiction, but as something unique, living? . . . The real unity is a unity of self-consciousness. . . . Are there many who recognize unity in a forest, i.e., the living soul of a forest taken as a whole—voodoo, wood-demon, Old Nick? Do you consent to recognize undines and water-sprites—those souls of the aquatic element?
The activity of the life of such a composite being as a forest is not the same as the activity of different species of plants and animals, and the activity of the life of a species is again different from the life of separate individuals.
Moreover, the diversity of the functions expressed in different life-activities reveals the differences existing between the psychic lives of different "organisms." The life-activity of a single leaf of a birch tree, is of course an infinitely lower form of activity than the life of the tree. The activity of the life of the tree is not such as the activity of the life of the species, and the life of the species is not such as the life of the forest.
The functions of these four "lives" are entirely different, and their rationality must be correspondingly different also.
The rationality of a single cell of the human body must be as much lower in comparison with the rationality of the body—i.e., with the "physical consciousness of man"—as its life-activity is lower in comparison with the life-activity of the entire organism. Therefore, from a certain standpoint, we may regard the noumenon of a phenomenon as the soul of that phenomenon, i.e., we may say that the hidden soul of a phenomenon is its noumenon. The concept of the soul of a phenomenon or the noumenon of a phenomenon includes within itself both life and rationality together with their functions in sections of the world incomprehensible to us; and the manifestation of those in our sphere constitutes a phenomenon.
The idea of an animistic universe leads inevitably to the idea of a "World-Soul"—a "Being" whose manifestation is this visible universe.
The idea of the "World-Soul" was very picturesquely understood in the ancient religions of India. The mystical poem, The Bhagavad Gitâ gives a remarkable presentment of Mahadeva, i.e., the great Deva whose life is this world.
Thus Krishna propounded his teaching to his disciples. . . . preparing them for an apprehension of those high spiritual truths which unfold before his inner sight in a moment of illumination.
When he spoke of Mahadeva his voice became very deep, and his face was illuminated by an inner light.
Once Arjuna, in an impulse of boldness, said to him:
Let us see Mahadeva in his divine form. May we behold him?
And then Krishna . . . began to speak of a being who breathes in every creature, has an hundred-fold and a thousand-fold forms, many-faced, many-eyed, facing everywhere, and who surpasses everything created by infinity, who envelops in his body the whole world, things still and animate. If the radiance of a thousand suns should burst forth suddenly in the sky, it would not compare with the radiance of that Mighty Spirit.
When Krishna spoke thus of Mahadeva, a beam of light of such tremendous force shone in his eyes, that his disciples could not endure the radiance of that light, and fell at Krishna's feet. From very fear the hair rose on Arjuna's head, and bowing low he said: Thy words are terrible, we cannot look upon such a being as Thou evokest before our eyes. His form makes us tremble. 1
In an interesting book of lectures by Prof. William. James, A Pluralistic Universe, there is a lecture on Fechner, devoted to "a conscious universe."
Ordinary monistic idealism leaves everything intermediary out. It recognizes only extremes, as if, after the first rude face of the phenomenal world in all its particularity, nothing but the supreme in all its perfection could be found. First, you and I, just as we are in this room; and the moment we get below that surface, the unutterable itself! Doesn't this show a singularly indigent imagination? Isn't this brave universe made on a richer pattern, with room in it for a long hierarchy of beings? Materialistic science makes it infinitely richer in terms, with its molecules, and ether, and electrons and what not. Absolute idealism, thinking of reality only under intellectual forms, knows not what to do with bodies of any grade, and can make no use of any psycho-physical analogy or correspondence.
Fechner, from whose writings Prof. James makes copious quotations, upheld quite a different view-point. Fechner's ideas are so near to those which have been presented in the previous chapters that we shall dwell upon them more extensively. I use the words of Prof. James:
The original sin, according to Fechner, of both our popular and scientific thinking, is our inveterate habit of regarding the spiritual not as the rule but as an exception in the midst of nature. Instead of believing our life to be fed at the breasts of the greater life, our individuality to be sustained by the greater individuality, which must necessarily have more consciousness and more independence than all that it brings forth, we habitually treat whatever lies outside of our life as so much slag and ashes of life only.
Or if we believe in Divine Spirit, we fancy it on the one side as bodiless, and nature as soulless on the other.
What comfort, or peace, Fechner asks, can come from such a doctrine? The flowers wither at its breath, the stars turn into stone; our own body grows unworthy of our spirit and sinks to a tenement for carnal senses only. The book of nature turns into a volume on mechanics, in which whatever has life is treated as a sort of anomaly; a great chasm of separation yawns between us and all that is higher than ourselves; and God becomes a thinnest of abstractions.
Fechner's great instrument for verifying the daylight view is analogy, . . .
Bain defines genius as the power of seeing analogies.
The number that Fechner could perceive was prodigious; but he insisted on the differences as well. Neglect to make allowance for these, he said, is the common fallacy in analogical reasoning.
Most of us, for example, reasoning justly that, since all the minds we know are connected with bodies, therefore God's mind should be connected with a body, proceed to suppose that that body must be just an animal body over again, and paint an altogether human picture of God. But all that the analogy comports is a body—the particular features of our body are adaptations to a habitat so different from God's that if God have a physical body at all, it must be utterly different from ours in structure.
The vaster orders of mind go with the vaster orders of body. The entire earth on which we live must have, according to Fechner, its own collective consciousness. So must each sun, moon, planet; so must the whole solar system have its own wider consciousness, on which the consciousness of our earth plays one part. So has the entire starry system as such its consciousness; and if that starry system be not the sum of all that IS, materially considered, then that whole system, along with whatever else may be, is the body of that absolutely totalized consciousness of the universe to which men give the name of God. Speculatively Fechner is thus a monist in his theology; but there is room in his universe for every grade of spiritual being between man and the final all-inclusive God.
The earth-soul he passionately believes in; he treats the earth as our special human guardian angel; we can pray to the earth as men pray to their saints.
His most important conclusion is, that the constitution of the world is identical throughout. In ourselves, visual consciousness goes with our eyes, tactile consciousness with our skin. But although neither skin nor eye knows aught of the sensations of the other, they come together and figure in some sort of relation and combination in the more inclusive consciousness which each of us names his self. Quite similarly, then, says Fechner, we must suppose that my consciousness of myself and yours of yourself, although in their immediacy they keep separate and know nothing of each other, are yet known and used together in a higher consciousness, that of the human race, say, into which they enter as constituent parts.
Similarly, the whole human and animal kingdoms come together as conditions of a consciousness of still wider scope. This combines in the soul of the earth with the consciousness of the vegetable kingdom, which in turn contributes its share of experience to that of the whole solar system, etc.
The supposition of an earth-consciousness meets a strong instinctive prejudice. All the consciousness we directly know seems told to brains. But our brain, which primarily serves to correlate our muscular reactions with the external objects on which we depend, performs a function which the earth performs in an entirely different way. She has no proper muscles or limbs of her own, and the only objects external to her are the other stars. To these her whole mass reacts by most exquisite alterations in its total gait, and by still more exquisite vibratory responses in its substance. Her ocean reflects the lights of heaven as on a mighty mirror, her atmosphere refracts them like a monstrous lens, the clouds and snow-fields combine them into white, the woods and flowers disperse them into colors. Polarization, interference, absorption awaken sensibilities in matter of which our senses are too coarse to take any note.
For these cosmic relations of hers, then, she no more needs a special brain than she needs eyes or ears. Our brains do indeed unify and correlate innumerable functions. Our eyes know nothing of sound, our ears nothing of light, but having brains, we can feel sound and light together, and compare them . . . . . Must every higher means of unification between things be a literal brain-fibre? Cannot the earth-mind know otherwise the contents of our minds together?
In a striking page Fechner relates one of his moments of direct vision of truth.
"On a certain morning I went out to walk. The fields were green, the birds sang, the dew glistened, the smoke was rising, here and there a man appeared, a light as of transfiguration lay on all things. It was only a little bit of earth; it was only one moment of her existence; and yet as my look embraced her more and more it seemed to me not only so beautiful an idea, but so true and clear a fact, that she is an angel—an angel carrying me along with her into Heaven. . . . I asked myself how the opinions of men could ever have so spun themselves away from life so far as to deem the earth only a dry clod . . . But such an experience as this passes for fantasy. The earth is a globular body, and what more she may be, one can find in mineralogical cabinets."
The special thought of Fechner's is his belief that the more inclusive forms of consciousness are in part constituted by the more limited forms. Not that they are the mere sum of the more limited forms. As our mind is not the bare sum of our sights plus our sounds, plus our pains, but in adding these terms together it also finds relations among them and weaves them into schemes and forms and objects of which no one sense in its separate estate knows anything, so the earth-soul traces relations between the contents of my mind and the contents of yours of which neither of our separate minds is conscious. It has schemes, forms, and objects proportionate to its wider field, which our mental fields are far too narrow to cognize. By ourselves we are simply out of relation with each other, for we are both of us there, and different from each other, which is a positive relation. What we are without knowing, it knows that we are. It is as if the total universe of inner life had a sort of grain or direction, a sort of valvular structure, permitting knowledge to flow in one way only, so that the wider might always have the narrower under observation, but never the narrower the wider.
Fechner likens our individual persons on the earth unto so many sense-organs of the earth-soul. We add to its perceptive life. . . . It absorbs our perceptions into its larger sphere of knowledge, and combines them with the other data there. The memories and conceptual relations that have spun themselves round the perceptions of a certain person remain in the larger earth-life as distinct as ever, and form new relations. . . ."
Fechner's ideas are expounded in his book, Zendavesta.
I have made such a lengthy quotation from Prof. James' book in order to show that the ideas of the animism and of the rationality of the world are neither new nor paradoxical. It is a natural and logical necessity, resulting from a broader view of the world than that which we usually permit ourselves to hold.
Logically we must either recognize life and rationality in everything, in all "dead nature," or deny them completely, even IN OURSELVES.
208:1 "The Great Initiates," by E. Schure.
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