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Intuitional And Supra-Rational Elements In Experience

( Originally Published 1916 )

BEFORE continuing the inquiry into the resourcefulness of human personality in ways that appear not to have their origin in ordinary individual experience, it is as well to note that there is no discounting of the value of the ordinary forms of experience, which are the very staple of our individuality, in calling attention to the existence of other streams of tendency which occasionally—perhaps more often than we are aware—become tributary to the main stream. - It is easy to see the necessity of the limitations which hedge in our experience. By hedging it in they not only mark it off as ours ; they make it ours. Experience is necessarily selective.

Of the forms of intuitional experience, or forms of intuition in experience, to be noticed in the present chapter, at least two seem to strike upon new territory. The term intuition, even avoiding all reference to the ethical use of it, has several meanings ; and, for the sake of clearness, two of them must be briefly touched upon before concluding this rapid study of phases of the unfolding of personality by referring to intuitional and " supra-rational "elements which seem to be of a different order from the forms of mental activity considered so far.

(1) Intuition is sometimes used of the mental activity which yields us our sense-experience. By the very nature of the mind avenues of approach belong to it whereby things are experienced as they are. I take an object, say a hat. A Hottentot might conceive of a hat, when he sees one for the first time, as a carrier for ostrich eggs or as a kind of detached pocket for any carrying purpose. To him, as to me, it is a rounded object capable of receiving some other object or objects. Never having seen one worn, instead of putting his head into it, he may put into it an ostrich egg, or loose beads, or other articles. Whilst his apperception of the object is different, his handling and use of it show his reception of the presentative parts of the experience to be the same. This mental attitude is often spoken of as intuition. It is what we get by " looking at" an object (intueor) or by a direct sense-impression of it through any of the senses.

(2) Intuition is most commonly used to denote a power of immediate judgment whereby we show in certain cases a-spontaneous readiness to receive an idea. There are certain principles which in the common concerns of life we habitually take for granted, without being able to give a reason for them beyond the fact that what is manifestly contrary to them is " what we call absurd." They are truths which, as Aristotle says, do not depend upon other truths for their acceptance, truths which are so self-evident that they can rest upon no further truth as their reason. Such are the logical axioms or laws of thought, and mathematical axioms.

The logical axioms are familiar to students, and are expressed in the form : A is I ; I cannot be both B and not-B ; A is either B or not-B. They are spoken of in logic as the fundamental laws of thought. In what sense are they this ? So far as our previous study has led us, they are not thoughts that seem to be fundamental, but tendencies. Can we speak of these in the same way as tendencies ? If so, intuitional knowledge in these cases at least will be an effect of the directions which the mind is bound to take rather than of Impressions which it is bound to receive. The latter is the usual idea we have of an intuition. It is thought of as a truth in the presence of which the mind is so far passive that it has nothing further to say. It accepts it as self-evident. But if tendency is the really fundamental thing in mind, the bond of unity and continuity within it, there cannot well be any such passive acquiescence in what is presented. Rather will these axioms be in some way spontaneous tendencies, or judgments following closely in the wake of spontaneous tendencies. Are they ? The first thing to be said by way of answer is that the pure and simple knowledge-value of these propositions is so slight, that, implicit though they may be in all our thinking, those who never formulate them lose little by not doing so. If they are directly received pieces of knowledge they do not tell us much ; nor, if their discovery depends upon analysis, does the result of the process leave us much better informed than we should be without it. But if, in the guise of formulae, they name tendencies ; then they do at least point to something and reveal to us real aspects of the mind's working.

First, A is A. If this, instead of being a mere truism, is but the briefest way of describing the mind's tendency to hold to, and assert the validity of, its own experience, it is a formula worth noting. It is a fundamental law of the mind's movement. Apart from it there would be no mental activity, for there would be nothing to start from. The mind must hold its ground to this extent if it is to be a mind at all. For, if A were not A, at least for all the time that I am talking about it or behaving towards it, there would be no possible starting-point for knowledge, for behaviour, or for mind itself. We could lay hold of nothing. The very apparatus of experience—sense-organs, nerve and brain structure--is stable. Why should it be so, if not to give us data that are stable ? Anyhow, everything in the way of mental progress or even of mental beginnings depends upon the mind's acting in the faith of the persisting identity of what is before it. if, the mind says, is A. It is the first article of its practical belief, the faith it acts upon. If, for example, the child did not expect the object 11 towards which he instinctively puts out his hand to continue to be the same. 4, at least for so long as impression and reaction last, there would be no such thing even as instinctive behaviour, indeed, instinctive modes of reaction could never have been set up at all.

This "expectation" is not, of course, an explicit faith. It is rather a fundamental tendency. We may account for it, or for its necessity as the fundamental law of mind, in this way : If all past happenings, or a sufficient number of happenings to prevent practical certainty, had resembled the Irishman's experience that "when he put his hand where the flea, was, it wasn't there," it is evident that neither instincts, on the one hand, nor rational experience, on the other, would have had any beginning. ,The first of the logical axioms, as it actually appears in our mental history, is thus the practical expression of a practical faith that reality is self-consistent. The verbal expression of this faith is certainly a judgment. And it is so clearly implicit in ordinary intercourse that its truth is assented to the moment it is put into words. It is thus an intuition, a spontaneous act of cognition. But it had countless practical expressions before it was accorded verbal expression. The real assertion of A is A occurred when the mind acted as though A were ; that is, on every single occasion of its acting at all. It was a tendency before it was a judgment. It was the way the mind started; the-only way in which it could start. When it does receive verbal expression it is self-evident, an intuition ; but its roots run down into native tendency. This is what seems to be really the case.

A precisely similar argument applies to the axiom: A cannot be both B and not-B. It belongs to the very nature of mind that it cannot move in opposite directions simultaneously. To say that the mind starts from I in two opposite or mutually contradictory directions is but to say that it does not start at all. It reduces the movement to zero. This condition, then, may rightly be called, as in Logic it is called, one of the " fundamental laws of thought." Apart from it, there would be no thought. Here again, though the result is best spoken of as a cognition, it as a cognition of which the essence depends upon the nature of mental activity. It is a self-evident law of direction. It is an axiomatic statement of the way in which mind must go. But, as in the former case, it is acted on as a tendency long before it is realised as an axiom. Taken together, these two principles of "identity and " non-contradiction" are the strands of self-consistency which run through the whole of our mental activity, without which the mental life would have no direction, and without which, in every way that we know it, mind would not be.

The third of these fundamental laws is even more evidently and directly related to the mental life as an activity. Some predication, it practically says, is necessary. Some direction must be taken. A is either B or not-B. We must make choice between contradictories, else the mind would be at an eternal standstill. In other words, mind must function, A generic description of native tendency, however, is the tendency of an organism to function in accordance with its own nature. As applied to the human mind, the fundamental law is that some predication must be made, some judgment must be arrived at. This is but a more definite way of saying that the mind must have direction. It affirms it in terms of the end aimed at, namely, judgment or predication. Thinking, in other words, is inconceivable apart from some decision between contradictories. Predication implies such decision, and is thus necessary. The axiom is certainly cognitive in form. It is itself a judgment. But it was a fundamental and absolutely essential principle of the mind's behaviour long before it rose up in the mind as a judgment. Its purport is to assert the necessity the mind is under of moving towards knowledge, and the data it yields are so directly practical that it may be alternately regarded as a proposition—A is either B or not-B—that is, as a cognition, or as a precept of the conduct of the understanding, an expression of the fact that mind must work and of the way in which it must work. Mind, or mental activity, being what it is, the necessary direction it must take is that of predicating. It cannot be a mind and not move in the direction of J is either B or not-B.

These logical axioms have been specially dealt with. because they are forms of intuitional knowledge, know-ledge given by immediate insight, which are known as "the fundamental laws of thought." They are certainly fundamental. They belong necessarily to the movement of the mind, and so to the unfolding of personality.

As judgments they appear to be arrived at by reading off the direction of an instinctive tendency. They are self-evident ; but they derive their necessity from that of the fundamental tendencies whose course they follow. Judgments, even self-evident judgments, may arise " by backstroke,"—r.e., as mental assertions following in the wake of events. For example, a man once told me of a great storm of wind that occurred in his boyhood, blowing part of the roof off the house he lived in on the Yorkshire hills. The ground was frozen over after snow and rain and, being sent for help, he had to slide down the steep path, toboggan-fashion, seated on a flat stone. He found the man he was sent for, and as no time was to be lost if the damage was not to spread, the man said to him, " Can you keep up with me ? " and started to run. He was soon on his back. " Is it slippy ?" he asked. "Aye, doesn't it look like it ? " was the answer. The cognition had come by back-stroke. Of course, there is here an element of inference: "Have I fallen because it is 'slippy '?" But the illustration roughly bears out the point before us, namely : first an event, and then a cognition corresponding to it.

So regarded, the logical axioms or " fundamental laws of thought " resemble other mental elements which we have been considering. If the account given of them is the correct one, they are really basal tendencies of our mental activity, and in the absence of these tendencies, the unfolding of personality, as we know it, would never begin.

(3) The intuitional elements in experience that have so_ far been considered have their origin, probably, in endorsed experience, to which the mind of the race, in the course of its long evolutionary history, has become habituated. But there are insights, which seem to be best described as intuitions, which lead us along new ways. They are anticipations of, or point the way of, experience, rather than being reminiscences and ingrained results of experience. In virtue of what does the mind seem to leap for-ward to new points of view ? There are movements from the centre of man's finite individual consciousness which overshoot the limits of all previous attainments. Such movements are facts which any account of the nature of mind must find a place for. They must be catalogued, even if they cannot be explained. All great insights contain an element which goes beyond previous constructive efforts in the same direction. The enthusiasm of Archimedes betokened a great mind-movement, a lurch forward, so to say, and a grasping of what had hitherto been out of reach. Many cases might be quoted of mathematical and scientific discovery which have " flashed in upon the mind." Every. field of knowledge furnishes examples. Clearly, there is some sort of native capacity in mind which prevents its being confined within the limits of past attainments. It not merely adds up and generalises ; it originates. The power of the mind to add up and generalise Spencer well describes as the over-extending adaptation of the cohesions of psychical states to the connections between the answering phenomena. But mind does more than attain to correspondence with phenomena. "The primitive intelligence" Mr. Hobhouse speaks of in " Mind in Evolution " as useful in adjusting the organism to its environment. But as the mental powers develop " the tables are turned, and the mind adjusts its environment to its own needs." How must we conceive of the mind which has this power to turn the tables on its own environment ? There seems to be but the one answer, that it is possessed in some way of a higher intuitional power to look beyond fact. It is this power which leads it on. If at the level of our ordinary understanding "the ideal which our thought involves may fairly be described as that of a higher self," still more in this higher intuition the mind has "a point of view which it ultimately seeks to occupy, and which it partly succeeds in occupying." We have, as already seen, what bears the appearance of an infinite ideal, combined with and in part constitutive of our consciousness. Nor does there seem to be any real contradiction in the presence within the original nucleus or the potential self of elements that have not yet unfolded. Now it is possible to go a step further and to note the existence, side by side, of ordinary finite experience and a higher range of experience yielded by our powers of supra-empirical intuition from which the history of our finite personality is in part derived. The self is not finite in the positive sense in which a cube is finite ; it is finite rather in the negative sense of not being infinite. Something of the not finite stirs within the self; and it is this, not its finitude, which essentially makes it a self.

It is necessary just to indicate the bearing of this power of intuition, the vision that goes in advance of fact, upon the unfolding of personality in the moral sense. There is, as Professor MacCunn says, a "consciousness of 'unrest that disquiets and often torments even those who lead full lives, from Carlyle's 'infinite shoe black upwards."' When an ethical genius emerges to interpret and give play to this tendency within us towards a higher selfhood—a Lincoln, or a Wilberforce, or a Howard—his function is not merely the drawing together of past estimations of conduct, or past valuations of life. His seeing is not merely a product of the accumulated insights of others ; it is direct and individual. He sees, and the effect of his seeing is to discover for others some new quality in human life, and to give it value. To-day new visions of the possibilities of human life are reaching many minds. Intolerance of slums, the beautifying of cities, concern for posterity, are becoming commonplaces of social and ethical discussion. Vast contributions were made in the last century, political, social, educational, and will go on being made in this, towards the attainment of "the life which best realises the best instincts of man "—which has been rightly said to be the chief end of the State. To quote Westermarck once more : "Far above the vulgar idea that the right is a settled something to which Every-body has to adjust his opinions, rises the conviction that it has its existence in each individual mind, capable of any expansion, proclaiming its own right to exist, if need be, venturing to make a stand against the whole world. Such a conviction makes for progress."

(4.) We used the term "sub-conscious" to denote the subliminal store of what has, either in our own experience, or in that of our ancestors, once appeared above the threshold of consciousness. We may adopt the phrase used by Professor S. S. Laurie in his Gifford Lectures—"supra-rational intuition," to indicate that there are things we do not attain to, and which our ancestors have not attained to, which none the less we are. Myers's view, referred to a moment ago, is practically this. It points to what we are in virtue of our being in touch with the spiritual whole of things. " We are conscious," says Dr. Martineau in one of his addresses, "however faintly, of aspirations and affections, of a faith and wonder, of a hope and sadness, which bear us beyond the margin of the earthly and finite, and afford some glimpse of the infinitude in which we live." I He speaks of infinite affections and desires which " press severely against the finite conditions of our existence." Amongst these affections of our nature, Martineau mentions the yearning for truth, the delight in beauty, the veneration for excellence, and the high ambition of conscience ever pressing forward yet unable to attain. In the impelling force of these affections, acting sometimes almost as a necessity laid upon us, we have a manifestation of powers and tendencies within us, traceable still to a principle of solidarity, but not so much to a solidarity of man with his kind, as with a something, a Power not ourselves, working within us for the greatness of our finite individual spirits. "At moments," as Maeterlinck says, "we might believe it to be a recollection, furtive but excessively keen, of the great primitive unity." However we may describe it of seek to account for it, it is a fundamental spiritual element in human selfhood.

" Like the tide on a crescent sea-beach,
When the moon is narrow and thin,
Into our hearts high yearnings
Come welling and surging in ;
Come from the mighty ocean,
Whose rim no man has trod,
Some of us call it Longing,
And others call it God."

The two names are aspects of the self-same fact. A favourite quotation of Romanes was from St. Augustine : " Fecisti nos ad te, Domine ; et inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescat in te."

A suggestion as to the metaphysical basis of such a capacity of supra-rational intuition (" rational " being taken in its logical sense as referring to results or conclusions arrived. at from empirical data) is furnished in the note, already referred to, added by Spencer in the " Corrections and Additions" prefixed to the first volume of the second. edition of his" Principles of Psychology." It forms part of a series of notes on the self, in which allowance is made for an "implied, but unknown substratum." To quote the full passage : "The aggregate of subjective states constituting the mental I have not," says Spencer, "in themselves the principle of cohesion holding them together as a whole

but the I which continuously survives as the subject of these changing states, is that portion of the Unknowable Power which is statically conditioned in special nervous structures that are pervaded by a dynamically conditioned portion of the Unknowable Power called Energy." These words can only mean that the self, as a portion of the Unknowable Energy, is vitally connected with that pervading energy. The part shares in the being of the whole, and is directly moved and animated by it. And, clearly, since we are part of the system of reality, and we are possessed of consciousness, consciousness has somehow a part in the pervading and animating Energy. May not our consciousness in its higher forms be so closely in touch with the Higher Consciousness as to read off intuitively some faint portion of the meaning and tendency of the whole ? For, keeping for the moment to Spencer's definition, the Unknowable Energy is conceived as dynamically impressing itself upon the finite mind. The finite mind may, therefore, be thought of as in some way fitted to read off and respond to the vaster meanings and purposes in which it thus participates. It would almost seem a necessity for it to be so, if a self-conscious agent is really to be successful as a " portion " of the Unknowable Power. We should have, however, to modify Spencer's phraseology in one respect. For the Power that evokes satisfactory responses within its self-conscious members is to be regarded not as Unknowable but as, to that extent, both knowable to and known by the responding mind. Any such power of knowing and responding would be a real element in our personality ; but it would be supra-rational ; for it is not based on experience, but rather on the direct relation supposed to subsist between the finite self and its immaterial environment.

And, whereas sub-consciousness, in the sense in which we have spoken of it, looks back largely to ancestral experience, and unifies us with our race, this dynamic conditioning of cohesion within the mental life by the Unknowable Energy establishes—if it be accepted—a unity of a more transcending kind. Certainly, the leaders of the world's thought and life are often those who reveal to man his oneness with Higher Being, and who impel him to seek the fuller realisation of that relationship. Great speech, great literature, great art, often come home to us laden with suggestions of higher achievement than our past can boast, of a higher selfhood than we have yet attained. What great writer or painter when doing his greatest work limits his conception of the good, the beautiful, the true, to the best, most beautiful, and truest so far reached ? Whence emerge desires, which justify, as Professor MacCunn well says, the Greek description of desire as insatiable ? If we are conditioned by an immaterial essence, such as Spencer calls Unknowable Energy, then this dynamic intensity may be accounted for. Man is then essentially a spirit, but a spirit aware of its own incompleteness, and striving towards completeness. And the words we have quoted from St. Augustine, addressing the vast Environing Self, alone finally explain this striving. In the same wistful strain Matthew Arnold writes in his poem, "The Buried Life " ___

" But often, in the world's most crowded streets,
But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life,
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course ;
A longing to inquire
Into the mystery of this heart which beats
So wild, so deep, in us."

But there are rare moments, the poet concludes, when there arrives a lull in man's hot race,

"And an unwonted calm pervades his breast.
And then he thinks he knows
The hills where his life rose,
And the sea where it goes."

Or, to quote Emerson-for it is to the seer and the poet that we need to look in this connection "There is a principle which is the basis of things, which all speech aims to say, and all action to evolve, a simple, quiet, undescribed, indescribable presence, dwelling very peacefully in us, our rightful lord.: we are not to do, but to let do ; not to work, but to be worked upon ; and to this homage there is a consent of all thoughtful and just men in all ages and conditions. To this sentiment belong vast and sudden enlargements of power.... We are never without a hint . . that we are one day to deal with real being,—essences with essences." "Supra-rational " Emerson would, doubtless, be content to have this called. "The heart has its arguments," he says in the same essay, " with which the under-standing is not acquainted." And Wordsworth translates into terms of individual consciousness the relationship which Spencer describes as necessarily existing between the self and the conditioning Unknowable Power, in the well-known lines in which he speaks of _____

" A sense sublime,
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man."

On the whole, therefore, the term " supra-rational intuition" may serve to describe this element in human selfhood which goes beyond the ordinary facts of experience. Professor Laurie, from whom the term is taken, describes the facts it stands for, much as Emerson does, as facts of feeling. " As an organism of Feeling in all its mystic range as distinct from reason, the rational subject can find no rest "—and here Professor Laurie proffers the clue to our essential being which in varying degree is suggested by all the pre-ceding quotations—" and no repose until it not only sees all in God, but feels Him in the depths of its own personality, as the pulse of inward being." To a similar effect, both in his lectures on the "Science of Religion " and in his lectures on the "Science of Language," Max Müller speaks of a "faculty of man, co-ordinate with, yet independent of, sense and reason, the faculty of the Infinite, which is at the root of all religions." I In the Bhagavadgitâ, he tells us, the Deity is represented as saying : "In hundreds and in thousands see my forms, various, divine ; see wonders in numbers unseen before : . . . but you will not be able to see me with merely this eye of yours. I give you an eye divine."

Philosophy has not been behindhand with corroborative testimony. Epictetus testifies to man's immediate intuition of reality which his own reason does not and cannot compass ; 3 and in our own time Martineau has done much to reinforce the same truth. In Germany, Professor Eucken is teaching that " the immediate revelation of this all-inclusive spiritual life to ours, and its power to maintain itself steadily in presence of the perils and limitations of our human nature, is an axiomatic fact."

Historically, we have the testimony of Socrates, however it be interpreted, to the direct guidance of an inward or inwardly speaking voice. "I have had it," says he in "The Apology," "from childhood. . . . The God has commanded me by oracles and by dreams and in every way in which the divine will was ever declared to man." He is able, therefore, to manifest strength and quietness of spirit in his final address to those of his judges who would have acquitted him. " The prophetic sign which I am wont to receive from the divine voice has been constantly with me all through my life till now, opposing me even in quite small matters if I were not going to act rightly... . But now, in this matter, it has never once withstood me either in my words or my actions. . . . This thing that has happened to me must be a good. . . I have strong proof of this for my accustomed sign would certainly have opposed me if I had not been going to fare well." Socrates was too keen a cross-examiner of others, and of opinions generally, not to have cross-examined him-self before committing himself to such assertions of his own experience. Also, he was too convinced an opponent of the lax and sceptical individualism of the Sophists—too alive to the necessity of emphasising the common elements in thought and experience—not to have refrained from making assertions of personal experience of this kind excepting on what seemed to him most urgent grounds. Marcus Aurelius, also, in recounting the influence that had been formative of his character, says : "The gods have done their part ; their gifts, their aid, their inspirations have not been wanting to help me to realise the life conformed to nature ; that I still fall short of it is my own fault, and comes of not heeding steadfastly the reminders, I may also say the dictates [" direct instructions" is Long's translation] of the gods."

Illustrative quotations from the various literatures of the world touching the higher self and its aspirations might easily be multiplied. In the Gifford Lectures for 1889, on various forms of natural religion, Max Müller sums up the general literary movement as follows : "The self of which man became conscious, as different from his merely phenomenal, or even his personal, being has been called by many names in the different languages of the world. It was called breath, spirit, ghost, soul, mind, genius, and many more names which constitute a kind of psychological mythology, full of interest to the student of religion as well as to the student of language and thought. It was after-wards called the Ego, or the person, but even these names did not satisfy man, as he became more and more conscious of his higher self. . . At last the consciousness of self arose . . . and became the consciousness of the Infinite or the Divine within us We find the earliest name for the Infinite, as discovered by man within himself, in the ancient Upanishads. There it is called Atman, the Self, or Pratyag-âtman, the self that lies behind, looking and longing for the Paramâtman, the Highest Self—and yet it is not far from every one of us." The world's great Bibles make this their prevailing theme. And amongst English writers, Milton, Locke, and Ruskin are examples of those who speak of a hierarchy of spiritual powers actively working and linking together in practical ways the higher parts of man's being with the Higher that transcends him.

Taking up these various threads of suggestion, may one not lay them together, and say that they lend colour to the idea that the selfhood of man may be enriched through channels of which the self of normal experience, the self of sense and reason, may become aware, but which have not their origin with that self ? Ormond concludes his searching and suggestive survey of the "Foundations or Knowledge " with a clear avowal that what he styles " the mystical consciousness," may under certain conditions become an organ of new and superordinary impressions ; and that to the ordinary channels of knowledge the super-ordinary must under such conditions be added.

But this reference to "channels of knowledge " must not, any more than the term "supra-rational intuition," lead us to limit the relationship as though it were solely, or even mainly, one of knowledge. Alike the effort to bring this supra-rational element into fuller life within ourselves and the effect of its fuller realisation will be less speculative than practical. It is entering into relationship with an Energy ; or, to use the more ethical phraseology of Matthew Arnold, with a "Power not ourselves that makes for righteousness." And the outcome in ourselves of this relationship is power. It is the identifying of our purposes with those of the Higher Reality, and it may well be that clearness of insight into those purposes is only possible through co-operation with them.= On its intuitional side, conscience may literally be our conscious realisation of dominans ille deus in nabis, as Cicero expressed it. On its practical side, however, we emphasise the active idea, dominans. Conscience attains its supremacy solely through our behaving as it enjoins.

Again, such an active relationship can hardly be conceived of as unaccompanied by emotion. Longing, desire, admiration, love, will set their seal to the fact that the self cannot participate in this high relationship with indifference. Some "cosmic emotion," as it has been not inaptly called, resembling the "religious feeling" of our ordinary speech and experience, will by its presence within us be voucher for the reality of the relationship. "I am part of thee. From thee I came. To thee I must yield myself up." A yearning as towards an object that is infinitely good and great will be stirred within us. Occasions that are small in themselves, when compared with the depth and the intensity of the feelings to which they give rise, will have power to move us strangely towards this infinitely Good and Beautiful and True. The face of a child, a strain of music, a few lines of poetry, a cluster of wayside flowers, a sunlit scene amongst the lakes, an evening visit to a rocky scar hewn out into a lofty amphitheatre and becoming for the hour a Temple : why are we so deeply stirred, uncovering as before an Unseen Presence ? Is it not because by the side of the path we are treading a gateway ever opens out upon "the great road that leads from the seen to the unseen "?

We have now referred to two of the deeper aspects of the self-life as the sub-conscious and the supra-rational. The range of possible experience is seen even in this cursory discussion to be extremely wide. And, once again, we are led to the conclusion that the selection which we individually make from this wide range of possible experience is through behaviour. Hence the educator finds his chief work in providing opportunities for physical; mental, and moral activities, and in directing them towards the up-building of a complete, coherent, and efficient personality.

The results of the suggestions of this and the preceding chapter as to the deeper aspects of the self-life may conveniently be summed up in the form of a simile. Using as an illustration a reservoir, it would seem possible to say of the self that there are three traceable sources or supply. (a) There is the ordinary catchment area, the area of drainage bounded by the surrounding watersheds. To this in the life of the self corresponds the supply due to ordinary conscious experience. Nor does it seriously over–strain the metaphor to find in rivulets and their channels a rough analogy to the flowing in through the senses of that which enters consciousness. (b) There are springs, which may have their real source from areas beyond the water-sheds. These well up from beneath ; and, whether according to the "cosmic memory" theory or to that of the transmission of the instruments of experience, may represent, in the life of consciousness, a subliminal supply from what was once above the surface of consciousness, but was so in pre-natal or ancestral experience. (c) There is the supply that falls direct from the heavens upon the surface of the lake itself, as well as that which distils on its surface as dew. To this corresponds—though the simile throughout narrows in the conceptions for which it stands—the supply which neither flows in by channels of ordinary experience, nor wells up from storage chambers of the past, but is immediate, and, perhaps, one might say, in directest fashion, our own. Personality or selfhood in this third sense becomes to this extent, at least, homogeneous with the Spiritual Energy which conditions it.

In some such fashion we are to judge of the capacity of the self ; and in the light of it—or of all of it of which we admit the truth—we are compelled to educate. If all is true, then it will follow that " the successful educator is he who, either by knowledge or intuition, appeals to this self in the child." The higher reaches of selfhood—once they are within our ken—are brought more surely within the range of our influence.


1. Has not the educator, who studies and deals with the child with no less purpose than to make the most that can be made of him, resources at his disposal in the deeper flowing currents of our human nature which he may reach in their flow and turn to advantage in the lives of those he educates?

2. Speaking of the dividing line between happiness and unhappiness and tracing it to the possession of a lofty idea which each must needs acquire for himself, Maeterlinck writes : "It behoves us, the first thing of all, to prepare in our soul a place of some loftiness, where this idea may be dodged ; as the priests of ancient religions laid the mountain peak bare and cleared it of thorn and of root. for the fire to descend from heaven. . . . And the admirable will enter our soul, the volume of its waters being as the depth of the channel that our expectation has fashioned" (" Wisdom and Destiny," pp. 9-15).

3. The following is taken from a short paper on " The Problem of Moral, Education in Schools," by Mr. Harrold Johnson, Secretary of the Moral Education League : "Will anything short of the infinite stir the infinite in man ? Will he not have ultimately to take refuge perforce in the Source of All, and must he not feel, if the trust and peace and security (which nothing can mar) are ever to be his portion, that not only the highest interests of his nation and of humanity, but the highest interests of the universe itself (of which he is an integral part, and in which he lives and moves and has his being) call to him unresistingly for his utmost devotion ? And must he not learn to cry when the fierce struggle within him goes on between the vaster and the narrower claims--` Not my will, but Thine be done !'

"Ill-stated though they be, these are the questions which confront the educational world to-day. And, under our changed conditions, let me again repeat, they have never yet been grappled with. Those changed conditions are, that whereas education was originally the prerogative of the priest, it is now, in the main, that of the laity, and that the laity has never yet learned to explore deeply, and, having explored, to trust the deepest intuitions of its own soul."

4. "Religion cannot be taught; religion must be taught. We must keep both constantly in view. Religion cannot be taught. Each human soul finds it for itself. All alone, each soul weaves out its own web of truth, grows by its own inner vitality, and shares its inner life with no one. . . . But . . . as the young soul grows by its own inner vitality, so it needs its natural food. The teacher can in part supply this." (Canon Wilson, formerly Headmaster of Clifton College, in "Essays and Addresses," p. 50.)

5. " We investigate the nature of Education :—our conception of what can or should be achieved by school and teacher. The inquiry cannot be answered off-hand by a superficial definition, based upon a superficial psychology ; on the contrary, it compels us to turn to the deep moral issues of human life in which all the social sciences seek their foundation ; it raises questions of transcendent importance which every age seems to answer in a different spirit. Arnold's answer, for his age and country, was uttered in no uncertain voice : to him the world of morality and religion was the real world, and the aim, in his theory of Education, could be expressed only in the loftiest terms." (Professor Findlay, in his editorial Preface to "Arnold of Rugby.")

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