Amazing articles on just about every subject...



Science And The Future Life

( Originally Published 1904 )

IT is a curious fact that, in the so-called " conflict between science and religion," the materialistic scientists owe the greater part of their popular polemical successes to unwise concessions or admissions, made by those who represent the religious side of the controversy. Thus, when the doctrine of evolution was announced and was found to conflict with the literal interpretation of the Mosaic history of the creation of organic life, materialists were instant in the claim that science had eliminated God from the universe, and the Church, instead of seizing upon the indisputable facts of organic evolution and giving them a rational theological interpretation, virtually admitted that if the doctrine of evolution were sound, the claim of materialism could not be successfully controverted.

Having made that admission, it felt compelled, in the interest of religion, to deny the facts of evolution, and thus was continued the warfare of theology against science, which may be said to have been begun by the murder of Hypatia in the fifth century for teaching mathematics in the schools of Alexandria. The result of that battle between science and religion was that the intelligent youth of Christendom, being taught by materialistic science on the one hand that the facts of evolution disproved the existence of God, and by the Church on the other hand that science and religion were in deadly antagonism, felt compelled to make a choice of one to the exclusion of the other. Hence the tidal wave of materialism which swept over Christendom during a portion of the last century. The facts of science could not be ignored, and whatever was sup-posed to antagonize them necessarily had to yield. Happily, wiser counsels now prevail, and it is beginning to dawn upon the more intelligent portion of the Christian Church that a rational interpretation of the facts of organic and mental evolution demonstrates the truth of the essential doctrine of Christianity.

Again, the Christian doctrine of the future life has suffered alike from the assaults of materialistic science and the admissions of the Church. Thus, materialists tell us that the facts of their science all tend to disprove the doctrine of the immortality of the soul; and that there are consequently no facts by which that doctrine can be inductively established. They tell us that if man has a soul it is the mind; that the brain is the organ of the mind, and that consequently when the brain perishes the soul is extinguished. They have explored the brain and definitely located some of its most important centres ; and they have demonstrated that, by removing portions of it, corresponding faculties of the mind are extinguished; and that this process can be continued until the whole of the brain intelligence is blotted out.

Arguing from these demonstrable facts, they tell us that they have, step by step, extinguished the human soul by experimental surgery, and thus demonstrated that its very existence depends entirely upon the maintenance intact of the brain structure. The conclusion, of course, is that not only is it impossible to prove the immortality of the soul by induction, but that all the facts of physical science conspire to demonstrate its impossibility.

This, then, is what materialistic science has had to say, and still says, of the problem : If a man die, shall he live again? " And it must be said in all candor that if its fundamental premises are true, its argument is unassailable. Moreover, it must be stated that, up to within a decade, its premises were not seriously disputed, even by those who did not fully share its conclusions. In fact, it was generally admitted, even by the most ardent believers in the promises of the Master, that the fact of the future life was not susceptible of inductive verification. They did not, of course, admit that science had demonstrated the impossibility of a future life, even though compelled to recognize the facts upon which science based its calculations ; but took refuge in the assumption that there were two orders of truth in the universe, namely, religious truth and scientific truth, each being antagonistic to the other.

It is, however, no part of my purpose to analyze the old arguments for, or grounds of belief in, the immortality of the soul further than to remark upon the sub-lime faith in the promises of the Master which has kept it alive in the breasts of his followers, in spite of the seeming demonstrations of materialistic science. I merely wish for the moment to draw attention to the fact that, up to within the last decade, believers and disbelievers respectively admitted and asseverated with practical unanimity that science is powerless to prove the fact of a future life. In saying this I purposely omit spiritism as " a thing apart."

My present purpose is to inquire whether it is true that so momentous a problem is incapable of solution by the processes of induction, my firm belief being that man can eventually learn by that process everything that it is important for him to know. Facts are nature's divine revelations — the sign language of the Omnipotent - the very words of God ; and reason is their divinely commissioned interpreter. All facts are consistent with one another, and, properly interpreted and sufficiently aggregated, they point with unerring certainty to ultimate truth.

In other words, facts constitute the only valid basis of reasoning. The validity of the conclusions, however, depends entirely upon the proper interpretation of the facts ; and that in turn is possible only when a sufficient number of facts have entered into the calculation. It is true that one may come to a correct conclusion from one fact alone, but that is rare, and it savors of a higher faculty — that of intuition. But in pure inductive reasoning the only safe method is to suspend judgment until the largest possible number of facts have been collected and properly classified. The obvious reason is that, in the absence of a large number of facts, a proper classification is always uncertain, and often practically impossible, and in the absence of a valid classification one is liable to draw his conclusions from facts which have little or no pertinency. The validity of an induction, however, depends not so much upon the number of facts considered as upon their pertinency.

My excuse for drawing attention to these elementary principles of inductive investigation is, first, that it is always well to recur frequently to first principles ; and, second, because I intend to apply them to the old " scientific " method of investigating the problem of a future life, before proceeding to state the fact upon which I rely to establish its reality.

I have already stated that the materialistic scientists have relied upon the facts of cerebral anatomy and experimental surgery to prove that the soul of man perishes with the physical body. I have admitted their facts and the results of their experiments, and I have said that if their fundamental assumptions were true, their conclusions could not be successfully controverted. This is but another way of saying that if their premises are true, their experimental facts are pertinent to the issue; but if their premises or assumptions are not true, the facts upon which they rely are foreign to the subject, and their conclusions are, therefore, necessarily unreliable. It becomes, then, of of first importance that we should test the soundness of their fundamental assumptions.

In strict justice to all concerned it must be stated that the mistakes of materialistic scientists were not due to any false method of reasoning. Their methods were inductive, and their experiments were scientifically exact; but they were not pertinent to the issue. Nor was this due to individual ignorance of logical methods, but to the then prevailing ignorance of anything like a scientific psychology. It was due, in short, to the old psychology — which was a psychology minus the " psyche "— a " science of the soul " founded upon a profound ignorance of the soul. It was the scientific equivalent of the proverbial " play of the ` Prince of Denmark' with the part of Hamlet left out."

Under such a psychology materialism assumed, and had a right to assume, that the mind which could be reached with a saw, and the faculties of which could be eliminated with a scalpel, constituted the only mental organism with which man was endowed ; and that when that mind was thus destroyed the soul was exterminated. Science then knew of no other mind than that of which the brain was the sole organ. The law of mental duality had not been discovered ; and hence there was no possible means of knowing that man had a soul or a mental organism whose existence and phenomenal manifestations were not dependent upon the integrity of the brain structure.

The new psychology, however, throws a flood of light upon man's mental organism in general, and in particular upon the attributes and powers of the human soul. It reveals in man the possession of a dual mind, or what is the practical equivalent of two minds, since each is endowed with distinct faculties, powers, and limitations which are not shared by the other.

The distinctive faculties, powers, and limitations of the two minds will be clearly differentiated when we come to point out the facts which indicate the future life. For present purposes it must suffice to say, pro-visionally, that the mind of which the brain is the organ possesses only those faculties which pertain to a purely physical environment ; and, being dependent upon the brain structure for its ability to manifest its powers, it necessarily perishes with that organ. The subjective entity, on the other hand, is endowed with faculties and powers that especially adapt it to a disembodied existence, and the brain is not its organ. This is to say, its higher manifestations are made independently of that organ. The conclusion is inevitable that the subjective mind is the mental organism of the soul.

It follows that materialistic science was mistaken: (1) in the assumption that the objective mind constitutes the mental organism of the soul; (2) in assuming that the brain was the proper field for exploration in quest of the soul; (3) in the supposition that saws, scalpels, or other tools are reliable instruments of precision for testing the question of immortality. Their conclusions were, therefore, valueless to science. They had followed the inductive method, it is true, and their experiments were carefully and skilfully conducted, but their facts were wrongly classified, and were, there-fore, not pertinent to the issue they were attempting to decide.'

Materialistic science has, therefore, left the question of a future life exactly where it found it. It has con-fused the minds of many, promoted skepticism, and discouraged believers from indulging in the hope that science can ever verify the promises of the Master. But that is all. It has not disproved it, and that of itself is good ground for hope, especially when we remember that it has not yet considered a single fact that is pertinent to the real question of the survival of the soul after the death of the body.

It is an axiom of science that knowledge of a law of nature enables its possessor to reconstruct the past and predict the future with unerring certainty. Thus, the discovery by Kepler of the three laws of planetary motion enabled Newton to formulate the law of gravitation, and that discovery in turn enabled one of his successors to discover and definitely locate a planet that at the time was invisible even with the help of the most powerful aids to vision then existing. But its existence and its location in the heavens were just as certain to the mind of the scientist then as after the hypothetical planet became a visible reality through the aid of the more powerful telescopes that were subsequently constructed.

This axiom is as true of the laws of the mind as it is of those of the material universe, the difference being that in the former the previsions cannot always be objectively verified. They are just as certain, however, in the one case as in the other if we give credit to that universal axiom of science affirmative of the " constancy of nature." Thus, while the axiom " There can be no faculty of the mind without a function to per-form " may not, in the strictest sense, be called a law of nature, it has the force of one, in that it is what Herbert Spencer would call " a universal postulate," because its opposite is inconceivable " unthinkable. It is, therefore, as safe a proposition to reason from as the theorem of Newton. It is, indeed, the psychological equivalent of the axiom of physiological science which postulates a function for every organ of the body. So true is the latter proposition that even the vocabulary of materialistic science is unequal to the discussion of physiology in other than terms of " design."

This, then, is the psychological proposition upon which I shall base my argument for a future life : There can exist no faculty of the human mind without a use or a function to perform, somewhere, or at some time, in the life of the individual. This, I repeat, is a " universal postulate," for its opposite is inconceivable. It is self-evident, and therefore requires no argument to sustain it.

It will at once be seen that the bearing of this proposition upon the question of a future life is entirely dependent upon my ability to show that man is endowed with faculties of mind that perform no normal function in this life. If that can be satisfactorily shown I shall have a right to assume that such functions will be performed in the future life; a fortiori (with stronger reason) if it can be shown that those faculties and functions are not adapted to the normal uses of this life, but are obviously adapted to a disembodied existence. All this, and more, I shall attempt to show by the aid of what is now known as man's psychological endowments.

I have already stated that the new psychology teaches us that man is endowed with a duplex mental organism, or what seems to be two minds, objective and subjective; and that each is endowed with faculties not shared by the other. I also stated, provisionally, that the subjective mind is the mental organism of the soul. It remains to point out the facts which seem to justify these assumptions.

Beginning with the objective mind, the mind of ordinary waking consciousness, it is found that it possesses but one distinctive faculty. That is to say, it possesses but one faculty that is not shared by the subjective mind, and that is the power of independent induction. The subjective mind is destitute of that power. In other words, it cannot institute an independent line of scientific investigation by collecting a mass of facts and reasoning from them up to general principles or laws. This is the distinctive limitation of power in the subjective mind which differentiates the two, all other points of differentiation being due to limitation of the powers of the objective mind. This subjective limitation is due to the law of suggestion, and it is generally expressed in the formula : " The subjective mind is constantly amenable to control by the power of suggestion." This is the equivalent of saying that it is compelled to take its premises from extraneous sources, and is hence incapable of independent induction.

All other powers of the objective mind are shared by the subjective; as, for instance, the power of deductive reasoning. Deduction is, of course, a necessary concomitant of induction, inasmuch as the reasoning process consists in alternate induction and deduction. That is to say, induction reasons from a collection of facts up to general principles, and deduction reasons down from general principles to particular facts, and both are necessary means of conducting scientific inquiry. Deduction is, therefore, necessarily a faculty of the objective mind, and, as before remarked, it is shared by the subjective, the difference being one of degree. It is inherent and potentially perfect in the subjective mind, but in the objective it is dependent upon brain cultivation.

The other powers of the objective mind may be all classed under the head of memory. It is itself destitute of emotion, having only memories of emotional experiences. The emotions belong exclusively to the subjective mind, where they were located in the beginning of organic life, aeons before the brain was evolved in the process of organic evolution. The power of memory is also shared by the subjective mind, the difference again being one of degree. That of the objective mind, being dependent upon the development and constant refunctioning of brain cells, is necessarily very imperfect ; for the atrophy of a brain cell destroys a brain memory, whereas the memory of the subjective mind, not being thus dependent upon the integrity of a physical organ, is absolute. It not only retains in perfection all that it receives during the lifetime of the individual, but it is endowed with a fund of ancestral memories which reappear in the phenomena of heredity and instinct.

It will thus be seen that the objective mind is endowed with but one generic faculty, namely the power of induction and its necessary concomitants — deduction and memory. In other words, it is pure intellect. It is the faculty of judgment and discrimination — the ability to estimate the values of facts in their relations to each other, the mental instrumentality by which man grasps the laws of nature and enslaves her forces. It is, in short, the one faculty of mind that is adapted to man's use in his struggle with the vicissitudes of an imperfect physical environment, in a world that is in its formative stage, physically, mentally, and morally. It is profoundly significant that the brain — the sole organ of the objective mind—is a product of organic evolution. Like all the other physical organs, it was evolved in response to a necessity of organic life, and obviously to assist its possessor in the struggle for existence. In a word, the brain is a highly specialized physical organ, the functions of which pertain solely to this life, as will more fully appear hereinafter. Organic life on this planet was more than half as old as it is now before an animal with a brain made its appearance. The subjective mind, therefore, antedated the objective by untold millions of years, for the former existed in potential perfection in the lowest unicellular organism — the earliest and humblest of man's earthly ancestors.

Let us now examine the salient features of man's subjective powers and faculties, first, with a view to ascertaining whether they seem to fit him for a higher plane of existence; and, second, whether they reveal in man the possession of faculties and powers that perform no normal function on the earthly plane.

First in the natural order of treatment is the faculty of intuition, which is possessed exclusively by the subjective mind, the objective not being endowed with any power remotely akin to it. By intuition I mean the immediate perception of truth, general principles or laws, antecedent to and independently of reason, experience, or instruction. It is that mysterious faculty which in animals is called instinct. Its higher manifestation in man is called intuition, or intuitive perception of truth. But it is the same generic faculty, and it is as fully developed in the lowest unicellular organism as it is in the highest order of manhood, the difference being of degree and character of manifestation. Beginning with the moneron, and ascending through all the gradations of animal life to man, it is developed in exact proportion to the wants, necessities, and stage of development of each species. In the lower animals it manifests itself in those acts which serve to protect the individual and to preserve the species. In man it is sporadically manifested in men of genius and other prodigies, and in its highest manifestations it reaches into the realm of the human soul and reveals its origin, its destiny, and the laws of its being.

In the lowest order of animal life — the moneron — that physical " organism without organs," as Haeckel calls it, the divine origin of life and mind is more clearly revealed than in any other phenomenon of sentiency, for its mental attributes, as revealed by its instinctive acts, proclaim its kinship to omniscience in language that can-not be otherwise interpreted. Thus the instinct of the moneron reveals an intuitive knowledge of the laws of its being, and this is all that can be said of omniscience. The difference is one of degree and is pro-portioned to the state of development and environment. Heredity from earthly ancestors cannot be invoked to account for the possession of that faculty in the moneron, for it had no earthly ancestors. But as heredity is the only known method of transmitting subjective faculties, we are forced to the conclusion that it was a direct inheritance from the divine mind. And this view is strengthened by the obvious fact that the heritage is the essential attribute of omniscience.

It is an axiom of the science of organic evolution that the potentialities of manhood reside in the primordial germ. Atheistic scientists affirm this with insistent iteration — and it is unquestionably true. But it is also true that the very facts upon which atheistic science relies to prove its axiom also proclaim, with stronger reason, the divine origin of the life and mind in evidence in the primordial germ, and thus reveal in it the potentialities, not alone of manhood, but of an immortal soul. I submit that the inheritance of the potentialities of the divine attributes of mind presupposes the inheritance of the potentialities of the divine continuity.

It will thus be seen that at the very threshold of organic life on this planet the subjective mind appeared, and that it was endowed with the divine power or faculty of intuition, — a faculty which enables its possessor to know, by immediate apprehension, all essential truth pertaining to his stage of development and his environment ; a power that as far transcends that of induction as the light of the sun exceeds the light of the humblest of the heavenly bodies.

Man boasts of his " God-like powers " of inductive reason. But it is anything but God-like. An omniscient God cannot reason inductively. Why? Because induction is an inquiry —a slow and painful method of searching for information —a systematic effort to find out something that the inquirer does not know. It is, therefore, a contradiction in terms to say that an omniscient God can reason inductively. God knows all things by virtue of his powers of intuition, and he has transmitted those powers to the souls of his children in exact proportion to their requirements.

It will now be apparent to the intelligent reader why I have said that the one distinctive power of the objective mind is especially adapted to the requirements of an imperfect physical environment — to a world that is in its formative stage — and to no other. It would be superfluous—impossible—to a mind endowed with the power of intuitive apprehension of first principles or laws. Assuming, then, for the moment, a future life for the souls of men, it is obvious that they are intellectually well supplied for a far higher plane of existence than this. Other faculties of the soul which serve to complete an ideal mental equipment for a disembodied existence will appear as we proceed in the enumeration of faculties which perform no normal function in this life.

In saying that the subjective mind is endowed with faculties which perform no normal functions in this life, I must not be understood as saying that none of its faculties are adapted to the uses of this plane of existence. On the contrary, the life itself of the body depends upon the continuous performance of some of the functions of the subjective mind. Its purely bodily functions seem to pertain exclusively to the preservation of the life and health of the body, and to the perpetuation of the species. These need not be considered in this paper, as they are only remotely connected with the subject under discussion.

Some of its faculties, however, perform useful functions, under normal conditions, on the lower plane, but seem to manifest themselves only under abnormal conditions on the higher plane. Thus the faculty of instinct or intuition, one phase of which has already been discussed, is the prime conservator of animal life on the lower plane, and its every manifestation is normal and useful to the last degree. But in its higher manifestations, as in men of genius, in mathematical and musical prodigies, and in poets and artists of the subjective types, abnormal conditions of body and mind seem to prevail. Nevertheless, through these higher manifestations we catch occasional glimpses of a transcendent subjective power which certainly is never normally manifested in this life.

While we may not, therefore, be justified in grouping this faculty with those that perform no normal functions in this life, we certainly are justified in so classing its higher functions. Moreover, it must be classed, provisionally, at least, as one of the faculties of the human soul which are necessary to a perfect mental organism — an indispensable factor in an intellectual entity. If, then, we find other faculties which complete the intellectual organism, and still others which are indispensable to a perfect manhood, some of which perform no normal function in this life, but are obviously adapted to the uses of a disembodied intellectual entity, we shall have justified our classification and proved our thesis.

The faculty or power of deduction is next in the order of discussion, for it is as necessary a concomitant of intuition as it is of induction. Both induction and intuition have to do solely with general laws or first principles ; and deduction in each case is the method of deriving practical conclusions from the laws thus ascertained. As I have before remarked, the process is slow and painful in the objective mind, and hence frequently incorrect. But there is good reason to believe that the deductions of the subjective mind, from well-ascertained laws, are practically inerrant.

Thus the intuitions of mathematical prodigies enable them to grasp the law of quantities or numbers, and their solutions of problems are, of course, merely deductions from the law. If, therefore, the problem is intricate and instantaneously solved, as it often is, and the solution proves to be correct, it constitutes indubitable evidence, not only that the intuition was exact, but that the deductive power displayed was inerrant.

We have therefore the means of mathematically demonstrating the fact that, under favoring conditions, the intuitions and the deductions of the subjective mind are not only inerrant, but that its processes of mentation are inconceivably rapid. Thus the instantaneous naming of the cube of a number consisting of nine figures by a child who was objectively ignorant of the first four rules of arithmetic is demonstrative of all three of the propositions — exact intuitions, inerrant deductions, and rapidity of mentation.

What are the prerequisite conditions for the exhibition of such transcendent powers of the human soul is not yet known to science except in a very general way. All that is known with any degree of certainty is that such phenomena are produced only under abnormal conditions, involving at least a partial and generally a total suspension of the objective faculties. It is also known that normally such powers are submerged beneath the threshold of objective consciousness — hidden by a fleshly investiture — buried under the normal dominance of the objective mind.

I submit, therefore, that we have a logical right under the strictest rules of scientific induction to infer, first, that in its higher aspects intuition performs no normal function in this life, induction being amply sufficient to enable us to cope with the vicissitudes of a physical environment ; and secondly, that when the limitations of our physical investiture are removed those transcendent faculties and powers will perform their normal functions in a perfect mental environment — in a realm where all truth stands revealed. This, I say, we have a right to infer from the observable facts of experimental psychology. But we know that such faculties correspond exactly to man's highest possible conception of the attributes of omniscience, differing only in degree; and from this we have a right to infer the divine origin of life and mind. We know also that such faculties are adapted to the uses of our highest conceptions -of a perfect intellectual environment — an environment that is obviously impossible in a material world like this. Again we have a right to infer future uses for such faculties in a realm commensurate to our divine origin and the God-like faculties of the soul.

There remains but one other faculty requisite to a perfect intellectual equipment, and that is memory. This, as we have seen, is possessed in potential perfection by the subjective mind. It is, of course, shared by the objective mind, the difference being one of degree.

Strictly speaking, therefore, memory cannot be classed as a faculty which performs no normal function in this life. Nevertheless, it seems probable that a perfect memory, such as the subjective mind possesses, would seriously handicap the objective mind in its inductive efforts. Not because of the redundancy of material thus furnished, although that is sometimes embarrassing, but because a perfect memory retains error as vividly as it does truth, which, in the absence of perfectly trained powers of discrimination, is necessarily productive of confusion and error. In point of fact one of the most valuable " powers " of the objective mind consists in its ability to forget. It erases many a grievous error from its tablets which would otherwise form the basis of wrong inductions. It relieves the over-crowded brain of many an unfortunate student from a crushing load of useless knowledge. Most important of all, it enables time to bring to the heart, overburdened with sorrow, respite and nepenthe from the memories of the loved and lost.

Not that a good memory is a thing to be deplored ; but a good memory in this earthly environment, where error is ever in deadly conflict with truth, and sorrow is ever present or impending, is one that is tenacious alone of truth and joy. It may be objected that this is beyond our control, but that is a mistaken idea. Cerebral anatomists tell us that every new thought or experience creates a new brain cell or modifies an old one, or both, and that each memory is represented by a brain cell. It follows that, as brain cells are physical organs, memory is dependent upon physical conditions, and that, like every other physical organ, a brain cell, or memory organ, may be strengthened by exercise, weakened by infrequent refunctioning, or atrophied by disuse, the memory, of course, following the conditions of its organ.

Objective memory, therefore, and its resultant happiness or misery are largely under the control of the individual. , The wisdom and beneficence of such a limitation of the powers of objective memory, in an imperfect physical, moral, and social environment, are too obvious to require further comment. It is also obvious that a perfect memory, such as the subjective mind possesses, would constitute a burden too grievous to be borne by mortal man. In other words, a perfect memory is not adapted to the uses of this life. Even from an intellectual point of view the rule holds good. Thus, an imperfect memory, that is to say, a memory the retentiveness of which is largely under the control of the individual, is a necessary concomitant of our powers of induction; for that, whereas induction enables us to " prove all things," the power to forget enables us to " hold fast " only " to that which is good." By "the power to forget " I mean the power, by inattention, to render error and sorrow the least conspicuous factors in our minds and our lives. I submit that the power to forget is, among the most valuable of man's earthly endowments, and that it is a conspicuous ex-ample of divine mercy and benevolence.

On the other hand, postulating a future life, there are many reasons why the mind of the soul should be endowed with a perfect memory, among the most obvious of which are the following:

It is a necessary concomitant of the soul's transcendent powers of intuitive perception or apprehension of the laws of nature and its infinite powers of inerrant deduction therefrom. Obviously the purely intellectual equipment of the soul would be incomplete without a memory commensurate with its concomitants ; and with that endowment, an intellectual entity is revealed whose powers are comparable only to omniscience.

Again, postulating a future life, the perfect memory of the soul definitely settles another question of transcendent interest and importance to mankind. The question whether we shall retain our individuality in the future life is, to most people, the equivalent of the question of immortality itself. Manifestly, the non-retention of personality would be the equivalent of annihilation. The hopes and doubts of mankind therefore centre themselves in that supreme problem, " If a man die shall he consciously live again? " That the observable phenomena of the subjective mind afford abundant affirmative evidence will appear upon reflection that the retention of personality or individuality always depends upon consciousness and memory. A perfect memory, therefore, is demonstrative proof that the individual possessing it is intensely conscious of his own personality.

Without presuming to invade the domains of theology, it may be said that the perfect memory of the soul throws a flood of light upon the question of future rewards and punishments. That is to say, a perfect memory affords an efficient means by which rewards and punishments follow as a consequence of deeds done in the body, just as violations of physical laws are followed by consequent punishments.

The memory of the subjective mind never has been and never can be made available for the practical uses of mankind, for the reason that, normally, it is submerged below the threshold of objective consciousness, and rises into view under abnormal conditions only. The sporadic cases in which the power is in evidence serve but one useful purpose, — that of revealing to man a knowledge of his origin and his destiny.

I submit that in the perfect memory of the subjective mind we have a faculty that performs no normal function in this life, but one that clearly is adapted to the uses of a higher plane of existence, and to no other.

Thus far we have touched upon only those faculties of the soul which pertain to a purely intellectual life. If these comprised the sum of the faculties which contain the promise and potency of the future life, mine would be a thankless task, for a purely intellectual life would fail to satisfy the most intense longings of the human soul. Man, who has lived and loved and lost, longs to be assured of a reunion with those who have gone before. If therefore we can discover in the soul of man such faculties as are essential to a social life, together with the means of enjoying both social and intellectual intercourse, we shall have revealed the essentials of a perfect manhood, endowed with God-like powers and potentialities, and satisfied the highest aspirations of the human heart.

It is safe to say that no true lover of his fellowmen, no matter in what form his love may find expression or gratification, would regard as a boon the continued conscious existence of the soul after the death of the body, in the absence of the assurance that his affectional emotions would find apropriate expression under the changed conditions. Indeed, it may be safely assumed that to the normally constituted man or woman a life without love would seem equivalent to annihilation. Few are so abnormally intellectual as to be able to look with complacency upon the prospect of an eternity of purely intellectual activity, unrelieved by the normal exercise of those emotions which in this life furnish the only tangible excuse for being. But even the few thus constituted may find reasonable ground for hope in the facilities for purely intellectual enjoyment afforded by the faculties of the soul which we have already examined. Verily they should have their reward, and fortunately they will not be missed from the social circles presumable from the existence in the soul of the pre-requisite faculties.

The normal man, on the other hand, will welcome the assurance that the subjective mind is the seat of the affectional emotions. This may startle those who have been taught that there is something inherently bad in the so-called " carnal emotions "; that they belong to a body and not to the soul, and the only way to purify " the human soul is to utterly crush out all its salient natural emotions. The absurdity of this idea can best be appreciated by imagining an emotionless, — I will not say " human soul," for that would involve a contradiction in terms, — but an emotionless entity, masquerading in heaven as a representative of the human race. No sane person would care to make the acquaintance of such a being, much less to be one, even under comparatively favorable climatic conditions.

The particular emotion upon which the greatest stress is laid by such philosophers is what is called the sexual " instinct. They argue that it is a purely bodily function, pertaining solely to this world, and consequently can have neither place nor function in the purified human soul. The fallacy of this argument consists in the fact that it is based upon premises fun damentally wrong.

There is, in point of fact, no such instinct, per se, as " sexual instinct " or emotion. What is loosely designated as such is, in its last analysis, the parental instinct, the instinct of reproduction. It has no other legitimate use and it performs no other function in the economy of nature. Its perversions alone are responsible for its evils and its name. Rightly understood, and legitimately functioned, therefore, it ranks among the purest and holiest emotions of the human soul. It is a divine heritage from God, the Father, whose highest attribute is parental love. It is, therefore, in its very essence purely altruistic, for its every act is a sacrifice of self for the lives of others, for the benefit of future generations. Beginning with the primordial germ, it constitutes the prime factor, not only in the perpetuation of organic life and the preservation of species, but, in its last analysis, it constitutes that " constant force within," which originates species and compels the progressive development alike of organic life and of human civilization.

Parental instinct, therefore, is an emotion of the soul. It is the oldest emotion of organic life, and the progenitor of all the other affectional emotions, — all others being resultants and auxiliary thereto. It is not of the brain, for it was the prime factor of organic life aeons before the brain was evolved. The brain, as before remarked, merely serves to register conscious emotional experiences for the uses of induction.

The emotions cannot be classed with those faculties which perform no normal functions in this life, for they are the prime factors in the earthly life of men as well as of animals. They are referred to in this connection, first, because they are faculties of the subjective mind; secondly, because, with the intellectual powers heretofore dwelt upon, they serve to complete a personality of the highest conceivable type, and thirdly, because they contain the promise and potency of social life in the world to come.

There remains for discussion but one other mental faculty necessary to a perfect enjoyment of such a social and intellectual life as seems possible to beings thus endowed, and that is a means for the interchange of thought. Without such facilities the essential factor of social life, as man can conceive of it from his experience, would be absent.

Once more experimental psychology furnishes a conspicuous example of its value as an aid to the inductive solution of the problems of the soul. When it first compelled science to recognize telepathy, or thought-transference, or mind reading, as a power of the human mind, a great step was taken toward the solution of many mysteries of psychic phenomena. But when at length it was demonstrated that telepathy is a power belonging exclusively to the subjective mind the scope of its powers to explain the mysteries of the soul was indefinitely enlarged and apparently extended into a higher plane of existence. The points of its bearing upon the question of a future life may be conveniently summarized as follows : 1. Telepathy is a power belonging exclusively to the subjective mind. 2. It is obviously adapted to the uses of disembodied or unembodied intelligences. 3. It performs no normal function in this life. 4. It forms the missing link in the chain of evidence furnished by other psychic phenomena, of the existence in man of an entity that is endowed with transcendent mental powers and measureless potentialities.

The first of the above propositions has been again and again attested by the Society for Psychical Research and others eminent in psychic science. Its bearing upon the question of a future life is manifest. Postulating a soul in man, it is evident that its mental organism is the subjective mind, and postulating an immortal soul, we have a right to expect it to be exclusively endowed with the power to communicate its thoughts to other immortal souls, independently of the ordinary channels of sense. And that is just what telepathy is. And that is why I say, in the second proposition, that telepathy is obviously adapted to the uses of disembodied intelligences, and to no others.

The third proposition states a fact that is palpable to every intelligent student of psychic science who is familiar with the invariable outcome of experimental telepathy. It is not adapted to the uses of this life. There are many reasons for this, any one of which constitutes presumptive evidence of the future, =that is, of uses elsewhere. The salient reasons are as follows:

Observable telepathic phenomena are never produced under other than abnormal conditions of the body and of the objective mind. Not that telepathic communications between subjective minds may not be made under normal conditions. Indeed, there is every reason to believe that such communications are practically constant between near relatives and friends. But it does require abnormal conditions in the percipient to enable him to become objectively conscious of the content of the message, or to translate it into objective terms. That is to say, his objective mind must be in abeyance to a greater or less extent; the vividness of the impression being proportioned accordingly. The highest manifestations occur when the action of the brain of the percipient is wholly inhibited, as in a trance. In such cases it requires the intervention of a third person to make the message available for objective uses. It follows that telepathic messages cannot be made available for such uses under other than abnormal conditions of the percipient.

Even under the most favorable apparent conditions a telepathic message can never be relied upon as veridical, for the reason that the factor of suggestion can never be eliminated with any degree of certainty. Consequently every message that is transmitted from one subjective mind to another is liable to be vitiated by the false suggestions incident to this objective world. This alone would render the faculty worse than useless for the practical purposes of this life. Obviously, a means of communicating intelligence which is liable to be falsified by conditions entirely beyond the control of either the sender or the receiver is worse than useless. The usefulness of telepathy, therefore, as a means of communicating thoughts by and between intelligent entities, depends upon environmental conditions not possible on this plane of existence. On the other hand, telepathy is manifestly adapted to the uses of disembodied intelligences who are endowed with the faculty of intuitive apprehension of all truth pertaining to their plane of existence.

I submit that I have redeemed my promise to show that the subjective mind of man is endowed with faculties that perform no normal function in this life. If, therefore, the fundamental postulate is true, namely, that there is and can be no faculty of mind without a function to perform, either in this or in a higher plane of existence, I have logically demonstrated my thesis. I have not only shown that man is endowed with faculties that perform no normal function in this life, but I have shown that those same faculties are exactly adapted to the uses of disembodied intelligences, and I have also shown that these faculties exist —not in the mental organism of which the brain is the sole organ — but in a mind that existed in potential perfection in the primordial germ, a mind that in its lowest estate exhibits powers that can be 'adequately described only in terms that are definitive of omniscience, and that, in its highest earthly development, contains the promise and potency of a deathless life.

Moreover, in doing so I have not departed from the strictest canons of induction, for my conclusions have all been derived from the demonstrable facts of experimental psychology. I do not say that the argument is complete, for I have selected only the salient facts from a congeries of phenomena all pointing to the same conclusion.

For instance, did my space permit, I could easily point out a series of phenomena which demonstrate that, as a fact in nature, man's subjective powers are equal to the exercise of an active force beyond the limit of the bodily powers, thus raising the presumption, if not actually demonstrating, that the soul is capable of maintaining an existence and exercising its powers and functions independently of the bodily organism. Telepathy is an illustrative example of my meaning, as its powers are not circumscribed by space limitations ; and telekinesis, or the power to move ponderable bodies without physical contact or appliances, is demonstrative of the power of the embodied soul to " exercise an active force, directed by intelligence, beyond the limit of bodily powers."

No one will deny that the possession of these two powers by an entity such as we have described raises the presumption, in the absence of proof to the contrary, that an intelligent entity thus endowed is capable of surviving the death of the body which it inhabits. Nor will it be denied that this presumption is vastly rein-forced by the fact that telekinesis performs no normal or useful function in this life. Its phenomena are rarely produced — never except under intensely abnormal conditions and in pursuance of powerful, though usually false, suggestions. Nevertheless, it has an appreciable value to mankind, in that it furnishes indubitable evidence of the dynamic energy of the soul, thus completing the category of faculties and powers essential to a complete and perfect manhood.

In conclusion I desire to draw attention to one consideration that should not be lost sight of in estimating the evidential value of the facts upon which my conclusions are based, and that is that all the facts of experimental psychology conspire to verify the doctrine of a future life ; and that not one fact of psychology, physiology, cerebral anatomy, or experimental surgery militates in the slightest degree against that doctrine. In other words, all the known facts of nature that are pertinent to the issue conspire to prove the fact of a future life. On the other hand, each and all of the facts relied upon by materialistic scientists to prove that man is a soulless being are utterly irrelevant and impertinent to the issue involved, and their conclusions are rendered possible only by purposely and persistently ignoring all the demonstrable facts of modern experimental psychology.

If I have succeeded in convincing a reader that the observable facts in nature conspire to invest him with the logical and scientific right to hope for a future life, the first question we shall ask will be, " What are the conditions of the future life?" To this question it must be frankly answered at the outset, No one can tell.

In saying this I do not presume to asseverate that no one has ever known. Jesus of Nazareth, endowed as he was with an intuitive knowledge of the laws of the human soul, doubtless knew. But certain it is that he could not convey the information in terms that could be understood by his followers. At least he did not. do so, and it must be presumed that one whose mission it was to bring life and immortality to light " would have satisfied the natural curiosity of his followers on that point, if the conditions were such as could be expressed in language intelligible to them. The only information which could be vouchsafed was of the most general character. Thus, in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, he gives us to understand that we will recognize and communicate with each other in the life to come ; that there will be a mental punishment for the evil deeds done in this life; that our affectional emotions survive the death of the body, and that spirits of the dead are not permitted to communicate with the living, even for the purpose of warning them of the consequences of sin. But this is all of his recorded utterances that throws any light upon the conditions of the soul after death.

Our conceptions of life are necessarily all drawn from our objective experience, and it is impossible for us to rise above it. Hence each one's conception of heaven corresponds to his highest ideal of a physical world provided with ample facilities for the enjoyment of his highest ideal of pleasure, the central idea being that heaven is an idealized earth, differing from the latter only in the perfection of its environmental conditions.

Two causes have conspired to render this conception practically universal. The first is that we have no other standard of comparison, and the second is the proneness of the primitive mind to reason from such analogies as appear upon the surface, without stopping to inquire whether the analogy is a legitimate basis of induction. I have already remarked elsewhere that reasoning from analogy is necessarily a false method unless it is first shown that the laws governing the two subject-matters are identical, and I have cited, as instances of false methods, Bishop Butler's attempt to prove immortality from analogies drawn from the metamorphosis of the caterpillar, and Averroes's method of proving the opposite by other analogies equally illegitimate. But the pro-test against that method of reasoning cannot be too often repeated or too strongly enforced, for not only did the older philosophers indulge in it to the manifest disadvantage of their disciples, but it is still a favorite method of " proving the unprovable " among many so-called logicians.

It follows that all the speculations of all the philosophers of all the ages regarding the conditions of the future life that are based upon the .supposed analogies drawn from conditions existent in the physical life are worse than useless in an inductive examination of the subject. Moreover, we know that when people under-take to give us specific information on the subject, - for example, spiritists,—they are simply constructing an imaginary spirit land out of materials that are of the earth, earthy. We know that they are wrong, because we know that their premises are false. That is to say, we know that when they assume to construct a spiritual world out of the material found on earth they are reasoning from analogies that are absurdly impossible. And it may be here remarked that if anything, aside from their fundamentally false method of reasoning were needed to convince one of the utter absurdity of the spiritistic claim to the possession of specific knowledge of conditions in the other world, it would be found in the fact that no two " communicating spirits " agree as to the conditions prevailing in the spirit realm, but all agree that they are analogous to those of the physical world.

It follows that spiritists know as little of the actual conditions of life in the other world as others, and that what those conditions are, no one, even if he knew, could tell in terms comprehensible by mortal man.

It will thus be seen that no one, not even Jesus of Nazareth, has ever been able to give us an approximate notion of the specific conditions of the future life. All that Jesus tells us is in general terms. But it is a note-worthy fact that what he did say as to the future life accords exactly with the inductions of modern science. It is also noteworthy that, if spirits of the dead communicate with the living, Jesus was not aware of the fact. Considering his perfect knowledge of the laws of the human soul, and that it was his mission on earth to bring life and immortality to light, it seems not a little strange that he should neglect such an opportunity to prove his thesis and at the same time to supply us with exact information regarding the conditions of the future life. But it seems, according to spiritists, that the hysterical women and neurotic children of the present day know very much more about those conditions than Jesus ever pretended to know. The utter worthlessness of their testimony, however, has already been shown.

It must now be evident that, from the very nature of things, it is utterly impossible for man this side of the grave to know anything of the specific conditions or modes of existence in the realm of disembodied intelligences. The reasons, I repeat, are, first, because no inductive analogy can be drawn from physical experiences to disembodied spiritual conditions ; and secondly, because we have no standard of comparison outside of our physical experiences and observations.

Nevertheless, we are not left wholly in the dark nor without inductive grounds for the belief that the highest hopes inspired in the Christian breast by the promise of the Master will be more than realized, for, whilst logic and science alike inhibit the process of drawing spiritual conclusions from physical facts, no such inhibition extends to psychological facts and the conclusions derivable therefrom. On the contrary, since psychology is the science of the soul, psychological facts are the only ones from which a legitimate conclusion can be drawn in reference to the status of the soul either in this or the future life. In other words, conclusions relating to spiritual conditions which are derived from physical experiences are necessarily wrong for the reason that the laws of matter and of spirit are not identical; but, on the other hand, spiritual conclusions derivable from psychological facts are necessarily legitimate because the laws of mind and soul in this world are presumably the same in the other, the constancy of nature being, of course, assumed. The difference, if any exists, would be in the environmental conditions and consequent modes of manifestation, and not in the fundamental laws themselves. We have, then, a logical and scientific right, according to the strictest rules of inductive inquiry, to draw conclusions relating to the status of the soul in the future life from the observable phenomena of the soul in this life; for a psychological fact is as much a fact as the physical universe.

As the intelligent reader has already anticipated, the conclusions must necessarily be of a very general nature, much the same in character as those derivable from the words of the Master ; but I hope to be able to supply sufficient data for all reasonable demands for inductive confirmation of the hopes which the words of Jesus have inspired. In doing so I shall be compelled to remind the reader of some of the fundamental principles and facts which have been set forth above. For instance, I have shown that : i. There is and can be no faculty of the mind without a function to perform either in this or some other plane of existence. 2. That the subjective mind is endowed with faculties that perform no normal function in this life. And I have drawn the conclusion that such faculties must find their legitimate field of activity in the future life, especially since some of them are obviously adapted to a disembodied existence, and to no other. I have also shown that all of the faculties of the subjective mind are adapted to a disembodied existence, albeit some of them are shared by the objective intelligence, and that, in the aggregate, the faculties and powers of the subjective mind, or soul, comprise a complete and perfect manhood, endowed with God-like atributes, powers, and potentialities.

I have also shown that among those powers are : 1. A perfect memory, which insures the retention of personality and the recognition of one's friends. z. Telepathy, which constitutes a means of interchange of thought with others. 3. The affectional emotions, which promise a renewed life of love and affection with our kindred and friends, as well as a capacity for forming new ties of love and friendship.

Now the best way of determining what a man will do under favoring conditions is to ascertain what he can do. In other words, it may always be safely predicted that one's mental faculties will find active employment in a favoring environment. Under this rule we know that man, in the future life, will. retain his personality, recognize his friends, and enjoy a social existence, because we know that his soul is endowed with all the faculties necessary for that purpose.

A purely social life, however, would come far short of a realization of the Christian's conception of heaven, although it may be included in it. The central idea of the popular Christian conception is that heaven is a place in which the redeemed are perpetually engaged in worshipping and praising God and in the contemplation of his glories. As popularly conceived it is of course purely anthropomorphic, and as such it has been a standing subject of atheistic ridicule from time immemorial. Nevertheless, divested of its anthropomorphism, it would seem to be based upon a fundamental truth.

The fatal objection to the popular conception of the status and occupations of the soul in the future life may be summed up in the one word " monotony." An intelligent man would prefer annihilation to an eternity of singing, playing on a harp, or even of perpetual worship, in the popular sense of the term. Even the social life which is promised would become monotonous in the absence of any rational occupation.

There are several phenomena, observable in this life, which bear upon the question : i. The history of mind and soul in this life is one of continuous progressive development, from the moneron to man. 2. The lines upon which the greatest progress is made in the acquisition of knowledge, or the development of the intellectual powers, is in the ascertainment of first principles or laws of nature. 3. The greatest good to each sentient creature results from the discovery of the natural laws pertaining to its being. This is as true of the lower animals as it is of man. 4. The more profound intellectual joy which man is capable of experiencing in this life results from the discovery of a law of nature. This is true, whether the discovery is the result of induction or of intuition. Space forbids the discussion of these propositions at length. Nor is it necessary, for they are self-evident to every man of ordinary intelligence. Let us apply them to the question under consideration.

The first is the most important, for its application involves all the others. We all know that the history of mind on this planet is one of continuous evolutionary development. Reasoning from analogy — which we have a right to do in this case, since the laws are identical — we must suppose that progressive, intellectual development is as much a law of mind in the future life as it is in this. If the soul survives the death of the body it follows that it will exercise whatever powers it may possess.

The only question, then, is, whether the soul is in-vested with the intellectual powers requisite for progressive development. This question has already been answered in the discussions of the intuitive powers of the soul — the power of immediate apprehension of law, antecedent to and independent of reason, experience, or instruction. Endowed with such a power, progressive development is a necessary law of its being.

Moreover, unlike the popular conception of heavenly joys, they will be rational, continuous without monotony, and commensurate with the dignity of manhood and the God-like attributes and powers of the human soul. On the other hand, the Christian's conception of a continuous worship and adoration of the Father will be more than justified; for nothing is so well calculated to inspire such feelings as the discovery of his laws, and the consequent realization of the divine harmonies of the universe.

I submit that this is all that man needs to know regarding the conditions of the future life. It will not satisfy the morbid curiosity of those who insist on knowing the unknowable, fathoming the unfathomable, or scrutinizing the inscrutable. They must be referred to those whose perfervid imaginations are capable of "bodying forth the forms of things unknown and giving to airy nothing a local habitation and a name." But that quality of mind is not useful in an inductive investigation of the problems of science. Facts are the only sources of just conclusions. They may be few in number, as in this case; but one clearly authenticated fact is worth more to science than all the speculative philosophy of the universe.

For further information about the future:
The World Future Society
The World's Surprises


Home | More Articles | Email: info@oldandsold.com