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PSYCHIC TENDENCIES 

OF TO-DAY 

An Exposition and Critique of New Thought^ 
Christian Science^ Spiritualism^ Psychical Re- 
search {Sir Oliver Lodge) and Modem Materi- 
alism in Relation to Immortality 



rr/' ' BY 



ALFRED W. MARTIN, A.M., S.T.B. 

AUTHOB OF "the LIFE OF JESUS IN THE IJ6HT OF THE HIOHKB 

CBinciBM,'* "the dawn of christianitt/' 
"faith ux a future ufe,** etc. 




D. APPLETON AND COMPANY 

NEW YORK LONDON 

1918 



I 



• , ^ • - « « . 



THE NEW VOfvL 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 



Copyright, 1918, bt 
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY 



Printed in tibe United States of America 



*■ • • • . • • 
• • • 



■• « 



• • • • t » 
» * • 



» • * • • v « 






• • 



1 -'♦ ' * .••.*. 



FOEEWORD 

This book is based upon a series of four ad- 
dresses recently given in the Hudson Theater, 
New York, under the auspices of the " League 
for Political Education/' They were deliv- 
ered without notes and without any thought of 
their eventual preparation for the press. 
When, however, it was proposed that they be 
put into book-form the lectures were revised 
and enlarged, though the essential argument of 
each remains unchanged. 

What is here essayed is a candid examina- 
tion and critical estimate of (a) the New 
Thought and kindred cults, (b) the claim of 
Sir Oliver Lodge and other psychical research- 
ers to have objective evidence for personal im- 
mortality and (Si communication with deceased 
persons (c) the counter-claim of Modern Ma- 
terialists (notably Haeckel) to have disproved 
the legitimacy of every argument in support 
of faith in human survival of death. 

Introductory to these three parts of the book 



vi FOREWORD 

is the initial chapter dealing chiefly with (a) 
the causes for the rise of modem psychic move- 
ments, analogous to those of ancient times, (h) 
reasons for the widespread interest these move- 
ments have aroused and (c) the attitude which 
ought to be assumed by those persons who, like 
the author, take a position of entire neutrality 
toward all " psychic '' theories and institu- 
tions. 

The reader is respectfully requested to keep 
atrictly in mind the fact that while the author 
is identified with the Society for Ethical Cul- 
ture of New York, this organization is not to 
T^e regarded as in any way committed to the 
views he has here presented. 

New York. 



CONTENTS 

OHAPTXB PA^ 

I Intboductoby — The Causes op 
Modern Interest in Psychic 
Phenomena. The Ethical At- / 

TiTUDB Toward Them .... 1 y/^ 

n The New Thought: — Its Origins ^ 

AND Claims 34 v/^ 

(With incidental reference to Chris- 
tian Science and kindred cults) 

in Objective Evidence for Life After 

Death 79 

(With special reference to Sir Oliver 
Lodge's ''Raymond" and inci- 
dental reference to the views of 
Sir William Barrett and Sir A. 
Conan Doyle) 

rV Modern Materialism and Rebirth 

OF the Modern Hope .... 126 



vii 



PSYCHIC TENDENCIES 
OF TO-DAY 



^ 



MODEBN INTEREST IN PSYJHIC PHENOMENA 

TnE psychic phenomena to which we shall 
give special attention may be conveniently de- 
fined as utterances or acts that seem to give 
evidence of supra-mundane agency, defying 
explanation in terms of known terrestrial 
causes. 

Such phenomena are identified with a num- 
ber of modern movements, notably Spiritual- 
ism, Psychical Research, Theosophy, Chris- 
tian Science and the New Thought, 

Common to them all is a certain occult char- 
acter, using that word in its simple, original 
sense as given in our standard dictionaries. 
The word " occult " is there defined as " that 
which is not apparent on mere inspection," 
** under cover" and therefore needing disclo- 
sure ; " strange, obscure ; not intelligible by the 



2 PSVCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

ordinary canons of interpretation " and thus 
needing clarification. 

For instance, the alleged intercourse of de- 
ceased persons with pgople still HVing on the 
earth is a phenomenon by no means " apparent 
on mere inspection ^' of its manifestation and 
to that extent^ at least, Spiritualism is occult 

Trances, phantasms, materializations, sub- 
liminal activities and the other phenomena 
with which psychical research is concerned are, 
in the same sense, occult. So, too, are the eso- 
teric ideas upon which Theosophists dwell; 
ideas " under cover " of words that hide their 
meaning, even as do the " astral '^ bodies their 
substance. 

The text-book of Christian Science furnishes 
the reader a " Key to the Scriptures." Evi- 
dently, something is locked, hidden, " not in- 
telligible by the ordinary canons of interpreta- 
tion '^ and, as such, occult. 

Here, then, are characteristics common to a 
number of modem movements, and because of 
these we are warranted in describing them as 
psychic and occult. 

How shall we account for the rise of these 
movements and for the widespread interest 
they have aroused? And what should be the 



INTEREST IN PSYCHIC PHENOMENA 3 

attitude toward them of persons who stand out- 
side the pale of their fellowship? These are 
the three questions to which our attention is to 
be directed. 

At the outset it will be worth our while to 
note that interest in psychic phenomena ante- 
dates the modern era bv centuries. There 
were many and varied psychic movements in 
ancient India, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Pales- 
tine, — all of them bearing some measure of 
resemblance to those of our own day and each 
of them originating, as did the latter, in an age 
of doubt. 

There were the Orphic and Dionysian cults 
of Greece, with their orgiastic rituals, in 
which the worshiper believed himself literally 
possessed by the deity and, in consequence, 
competent to do miraculous things. 

More famous were the Eleusinian Mvster- 
ies that flourished in the hey-dey of Athenian 
prosperity, when Greek philosophy had run 
its course and a spiritual interregnum oc- 
curred. Esoteric doctrines and secret cere- 
monies characterized this cult, while the con- 
summation of membership was union with the 
gods and a guarantee of life that death could 
not quench. 



4 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

In ancient Egypt were the Isis and Osiris 
mysteries, as occult as those of Eleusis, grant- 
ing to their votaries not only the privilege and 
power of transcending the boundary of death 
while they were yet alive on the earth, but 
also the supreme honor of entering the very 
presence of the gods and receiving from 
them mystic communications, inexplic- 
able to outsiders just because they were 
mystic. 

Among the ancient Jews, in the days of 
*^ tribal" organization (circa 1000 b. c), div- 
ination was a profession and a species of 
Spiritualism obtained, witness the story of 
Saul, who, by means of a medium from Endor, 
called up from Sheol (the realm of all the 
dead) the prophet Samuel, in order that from 
the latter the King might receive desired in- 
formation as to the outcome of his conflict with 
the Philistines.^ 

In Rome, about the year 400 b. c, stood the 
temple of Apollo Medicus, corresponding to 
" the first Church of Christ Scientist,^" in so 
far as, like the latter, it was dedicated to Di- 
vine healing. Moreover, it was built in honor 
of the God of healing because, in 430 b. c, He 

il Sam. xxviii. 



W< 4.- 



INTEREST IN PSYCHIC PHENOMENA 6 

had expelled a plagae from the imperial city. 
Two centuries later, another such temple was 
erected and dedicated to the son of Apollo 
Medicus, — .^Esculapius, called "The Divine 
Physician.'' 

At the beginning of our era there lived in 
the city of Tyana in Asia Minor the celebrated 
Apollonius, whose marvelous power as a healer 
led the emperor Caracalla to worship him as 
a god. Nor is it any exaggeration, or mis- 
statement, to say that Apollonius was the 
spiritual progenitor of Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy, 
because (a) he resorted neither to drugs nor 
to any material aids in the curing of disease; 
(b) his healing gift extended to " absent " 
treatments; (c) he drew no distinction be- 
tween organic and functional disorders, for 
the .reason, as he said, that " God is the healer 
and He is omnipotent " ; (d) he held that this 
healing power might be possessed by any one 
who would enter upon spiritual preparation 
for it, by developing faculties not ordinarily 
employed.^ When Marcus Aurelius, emperor 
and philosopher, ascended the throne and 

2 See " ApoUonius Tyanacus," by Albert Reville ; also 
the article in the Encycl. Brit, ninth edition on " Apol- 
lonius." 



6 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

Christianity was struggling for control of the 
Roman empire, there occurred an invasion of 
Syrian and Persian occultisms which Har- 
nack, in his " Expansion of Christianity/' de- 
scribed as " a swarm of quasi-religious rivals 
of Christianity contending in that fierce com- 
petition for religious supremacy/' 

Still later appeared certain Jewish mystics 
who had worked out a " Key to the Scrip- 
tures " (Old Testament) called the " Cabala," 
antedating Mrs. Eddy's " Key " by eight cen- 
turies and imtocking an altogether different 
set of meanings from Biblical words and 
phrases. 

Let these illustrations suffice to show that 
present-day interest in occult ideas and psychic 
phenomena is but a recrudescence of ancient 
interest in them. 

And precisely as the ancient Greek mys- 
teries followed directly in the wake of philo- 
sophical systems that had failed to satisfy 
spiritual wants, so these modem occultisms, 
too, arose in a corresponding age of doubt and 
due to a corresponding bankruptcy of philoso- 
phy. In Plato's day there were no " mys- 
teries " ; only when Greek philosophy had 
spent itself in the vain effort to produce a 



INTEREST IN PSYCHIC PHENOMENA 7 

satisfying theory of the universe and to fur- 
nish the consolations of which men were in 
need, did these ancient occultisms arise with 
the promise of supplying the deficiencies of 
philosophy. 

Similarly in the first half of the nineteenth 
century there was no mysticism, no occultism 
of any account. 'Twas only after Spencer's 
^^ Synthetic Philosophy " and Darwin's " Ori- 
gin of Species " had left men spiritually cold 
and hungry that modem occultisms arose, each 
seeking to serve as a " satisfyiiig substitute ^^ 
for the systems that had been weighed in the 
balance and were found wanting. 

To avoid possible misunderstanding let me 
say at once that I am not a Spiritualist, not a 
Theosophist, not a Christian Scientist, not a 
New-Thought-representative, in short, not 
identified with any of the current forms of 
occultism* And perhaps I may be permitted 
to add that a certain advantage attaches to in- 
dependency of these movements. For, then,' 
one can approach them without that partiality 
which is every whit as fatal to equity as is 
prejudice. Every disciple is partial to his 
master, — a truth which iEsop set forth in the 
familiar fable of the forester and the lion* 



8 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OP TO-DAY 

Walking together in the woods they fell to 
discussing the question, which is the stronger, 
a man or a lion? Failing to bring the issue 
to a decision they chanced upon a statue repre- 
senting a man in the act of throwing down a 
lion. " There," cried the woodsman, " you see 
the man is the stronger." To which the lion 
replied, "Ah, yes, but their positions would 
have beeii reversed had a lion been the sculp- 
tor." 

Concerning prejudice let me say that I do 
not know what it means to be prejudiced for or 
against any of these movements. Indeed, I 
cannot understand a person being in favor of 
or opposed to a given belief. I want simply to 
know what is true and to avoid being deceived 
or fooled. Dear as are to me the words God, 
soul and immortality, there is one word dearer 
— ^ still, viz., truth. If a man be satisfied with the 
evidence in support of Theism or immortality 
and has his mind made up, he is a coward if 
he fail to show his colors and connect himself 
with an organization that stands for these; 
whereas, if the evidence fail to satisfy and his 
mind is still open on the subject he must per- 
force refuse allegiance. That, I take it, is 
what the ethics of religious affiliation requires. 



INTEREST IN PSYCHIC PHENOMENA 9 

Coming now to the causes that conspired to 
produce the various psychic or occult move- 
ments of our time and the increasing interest 
they have aroused^ let us mention first the least 
significant cause, one which Oliver Wendell 
Holmes, the most humorous of our American 
poets, described as " the boundless excitability 
of people on all subjects pertaining to medicine 
and the souL" In all ages and among all peo- 
ples this sort of excitability has obtained. 
Tylor, in his "Primitive Culture," tells us 
that it was a conspicuous characteristic of 
primitive man, the chief subject of his specula- 
tion, the ground of his superstitions. Hence 
this modem manifestation of excitability over 
these matters, far from being a new phenom- 
enon, is but a psychical survival, a case of ata- 
vism, or reversion to an ancestral attitude to- 
ward medico-psychic interests. 

Next in the succession of causes is the death- 
less desire for some positive knowledge of the 
unseen world, of the mystery of birth and death 
and of personality, knowledge not furnished 
by any of the established religions. This 
deathless desire, it was, that brought many an 
ancient Egyptian and Greek occultism into ex- 
istence, promising to do for its devotees what 



1 



10 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

the religions of those lands had failed to do, 
** viz., to lift their souls above the transiency of 
perishable matter and guarantee them ever- 
lasting life. Similarly, many a modern occult 
movement owes its origin to the selfsame pas- 

• sionate desire, each in its own way purporting 
to gratify the irrepressible yearning for posi- 
ti /e knowledge of the whence and the whither 
: man. In vain did the philosopher affirm 
that 'tis foolish to trouble oneself about it, in 
vain did the scientist say that it is impossible 
for man to know; in vain did the Positivist- 

-poet, George Eliot, point to corporate im- 
mortality, as the only form of personal sur- 
vival that can be rationally anticipated ; living 
" in minds made better by our presence " ; in 
vain did the materialist maintain that annihi- 
lation is the last word of educated thought, in- 
asmuch as man's spiritual nature is to be inter- 
preted only in terms of matter and force. The 
toiling, struggling, hoping millions refused 
to accept these verdicts, refused to believe 
that "man is dust merely and returns to 
dust." Theix spokesman was Oliver Wendell 

• Holmes, who, as he listened to the consensus 
^of negative and iconoclastic thought, ex- 
claimed : 



INTEREST IN PSYCHIC PHENOMENA 1 1 

" Is this the whole sad story of creation. 
Told by its toiling millions o'er and o'er; 
One glimpse of day, then black annihilation, 
A sunlit passage to a sunless shore? " 

And the answer was Spiritualism, Theosophy, 
Myers' subliminal self, Christian Science, the 
New Thought — each in its own chosen way 
seeking to satisfy the hungry human heart. 

. Closely connected with ^is second in the 
series of causes under consideration, is the re- 
vival of scientific study of Nature in the first 
half of the last century (rivialing that of the 
ancient Greeks), threatening the very life of 
all the finer sensibilities, as well as of poetry 
and even religion. That passion for scientific 
analysis struck terror into the heart of many 
a serious soul. It seemed as though in con- 
sequence of this highly specialized intellectual 
pursuit the spiritual nature of man was 
doomed and religion destined to disappear. 
Wordsworth, contemplating the trend and in- 
fluence of the scientific world, cried out : 

" Great Qod ! Fd rather be a pagan 
Suckled in a creed outworn. 
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea^ 
Have glimpse of Proteus, rising from the sea 
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn." 



12 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

Emerson, too, oonscious of the same spiritual 
distress, declared : " I see movement, I hear 
aspirations, but I see not how the great Grod 
prepares to satisfy the heart in the new order 
of things." ^ And Holmes, again, added his 
testimony to the distraught condition of the 
times. 

^* Give back our faith, ye mystery-solving lynxes, 
Kobe us once more in heaven-aspiring creeds ; 
Better were dreaming Egypt with her sphinxes, 
The stony convent with its cross and beads/' 

And forthwith there appeared a succession 
of psychic movements, each prepared to ex- 
change Proteus and Triton for the grander 
creations of a mystic religion and to substitute 
for Egyptian myth and medieval fancy, a gos- 
pel rich in spiritual benefits for all who would 
adopt it. 

In passing it may be said that the two last 
lines of Holmes' verse belie the best that is in 
us and in our nobler moods we irresistibly 
realize it. For, the happiness of the Egyptian 
and the mediaeval heaven had their antithesis 
in the horrors of a hell. Who of us would not 
prefer black annihilation to endless heaven at 

t « V^orks." Riverside Edition, Vol. X, p. 210. 



INTEREST IN PSYCHIC PHENOMENA 18 

the price of endless hell ? Let us all sleep^ if 
need be, in a night that will have no morning, 
bnt do not mock us with the offer of an end- 
less song that shall have for its echo an end- 
less groan of the burning lips of an outcast 
brother. 

And this suggests a fourth explanation for 
the rise of these psychic movements, viz,, the 
intense revulsion from those forbidding doc- "• 
trines ardently accepted in the middle of the 
last century — a God filled with implacable — 
wrath over the fall of his first children ; their 
posterity cursed and doomed because of that 
fall; the wrath of God appeased only by an 
adequate atoning sacrifice in the benefits of 
which all may share ; heaven for those who ac- 
cept the teri of sanation; eternal damnation 
for those who reject them. 

Henry Ward Beecher, referring to this creed 
in a contribution to the North American Re- 
view, said, " If the truth of evolution led to 
unbelief, it would not be so bad as that impious 
and malignant conception of God and His gov- 
ernment which underlies aU mediaval and most 
of modem theology/' 

That revulsion and the cry for a substitute- 
creed must be set down as one of the causes 



14 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

that gave rise to Spiritualism, Theosophy, 
Christian Science and the New Thought. 
Head the literature of these movements and 
note how each recoils from this brood of beliefs 
and offers its own peculiar substitutes for them. 
Turn, for example, to the only authorized life 
of Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy, written by Sibyl 
Wilbur. Here we are told that the father of 
the foundress of Christian Science entertained 
these revolting beliefs and grew alarmed at the 
refractory reliance of his daughter on God's 
love, in the face of predestination and uncon- 
ditional election. That struggle with her 
Calvinistic father for the triumph of a re- 
ligion of love, Mrs. Eddy declared, left a 
deep impression upon her and we see it 
reflected in the pages of " Science and 
Health." 

But weightiest among the causes that 
brought these various movements into being 
is one suggested by the fact that they all origi- 
nated about the same time and in response to 
the same spiritual need. The same year that 
marked the centennial of our political emanci- 
pation witnessed also a number of spiritual 
emancipations. Recall what occurred in 1876. 
In that year the celebrated Daniel D. Home, 



INTEREST IN PSYCHIC PHENOMENA 15 

a Scottish immigrant; wrote his ^^ Lights and 
Shadows of Spiritualism '' — the first literary 
exposition of the movement. In that year 
Mme. Blavatsky published her " Isis Un- 
veiled," having just founded, in New York 
City, tl^e " Theosophieal Movement." In that 
year Sir Wm. Crookes and Mr. Frederick W. 
H. Myers began those investigations of spirit- 
istic phenomena that led to the formation, in 
1882, of the Society for Psychical Eesearch. 
In that year Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy (then 
Mrs. Patterson) organized "the Christian 
Science Association " — the germ out of which, 
in 1879, the " first Church of Christ, Scien- 
tist" was evolved. In that year, a decade 
after the death of P. P. Quimby, his most 
intimate follower, W. F. Evans, contested 
the claims of Mrs. Eddy and the New 
Thought Movement extended its influence 
far beyond the boundaries of Maine in which 
Quimby had first brought its principles to 
light 

What, now, is the significance of the syn- 
chronous rise of these movements ? It means 
that during the generation prior to 1876 a suc- 
cession of disquieting discoveries had been 
made, shaking people out of their dogmatic 



16 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OP TO-DAY 

slumber and plungmg them into a sea of skep- 
ticism that threatened to engulf them. Spirit- 
ual life-preservers were in immediate demand 
and it was met, in part, by a supply of psychic 
movements, each in its own way proffering 
the needed help. 

What were the more important of these dis- 
quieting discoveries ? First may be mentioned 
the relation of the Copemican astronomy to the 
generally-accepted idea of God. Though it 
was as long ago as 1543 that the illustrious 
astronomer set forth the heliocentric theory of 
the cosmos, supplanting the geocentric theory 
of Ptolemy, it was not until the second quarter 
of the last century that the bearing of his dis- 
covery upon theology began to be generally 
appreciated. Given an infinite amiverse and 
the Ptolemaic theism which conceived of God 
as a master-mechanic, fashioning the cosmos 
from without, had to be surrendered, for the 
Copemican universe has no "outside" and 
while, for some atheism seemed the logical 
conclusion, others held that God must be recon- 
ceived as within Nature, distinct yet insepara- 
ble from Nature. Given hymns and prayers 
of the Jewish and Christian communions, all 
based on the Ptolemaic astronomy and con- 



INTEREST IN PSYCHIC PHENOMENA 17 

aistency required that they be sung no more 
but replaced by others in keeping with the dis- 
covered Copemican cosmology. 

In 1835 D. F, Strauss published his " myth- 
ical'' theory of the life of Jesus and F. C, 
Baur his critique of the documents on which 
the biographies of Jesus were based, showing 
how much of the gospel-story betrays a " ten- 
denz/' or design on the part of the writers. 
Such conclusions struck terror into the hearts 
of those who fancied the gospel reports of say- 
ings and incidents were to be accepted at their 
face value. 

In 1842 Sir Charles Lyell, the eminent 
geologist, made his famous excursion to Ni- 
agara Falls and from a careful survey of the 
canyon-walls discovered that the Niagara river 
had been wearing away the rock on either side 
for not less than 300,000 years to the point 
where now the river makes its thunderous de- 
scent. This discovery disposed of the estab- 
lished notion that the antiquity of the earth did 
not exceed 6000 years. 

In 1844 Robert Chambers published his 
" Vestiges of a Natural History of Creation," 
propounding a disturbing theory of man's 
origin because utterly at variance with the 



i 



18 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

Biblical story, vouched for only by the revela- 
tions of Nature's book, with its pages of petri- 
fied flora and fauna — evidence that was soon 
to be reenforced by the ampler discoveries of 
Darwin. 

In 1846 appeared Biichner's ''Kraft und 
Stoff'^ (force and matter), followed in '56 by 
Moleschott's *' Licht und Lehen" (Light and 
Life), both works attempting an interpreta- 
tion of the universe in materialistic terms and 
seeming to strike a fatal blow at the belief in 
immortality. 

In 1859 a supremely disconcerting and dis- 
quieting publication appeared, the epoch-mak- 
ing book of Charles Darwin, " The Origin 
of Species." Herein Darwin set forth — more 
fully and conclusively than had Kant, Goethe, 
Buffon, Lamarck, Chambers and Erasmus Dar- 
win — the fact of man's ascent, by evolution 
from lower life-forms, as opposed to the older 
theory of his descent from a primordial per- 
fection. And according to this earlier view, it 
was said by good old Dr. South, that Aristotle 
and Plato were but " melancholy ruins " of 
the greatness embodied in Adam. Here then 
was a discovery that dispensed with the 
" Christian " scheme of salvation for " fallen *' 



INTEREST IN PSYCHIC PHENOMENA 19 

man. lu other words it was now made plain 
that man is not ^^ lost " and therefore does not 
need to be " saved." Rather is man ignorant, 
undeveloped, still carrying about with him 
traces of his animal ancestry and requiring 
above all else eradication of his brute-iuherit- 
anoe, which John Fiske, the expositor of Dar- 
winism, declared is the real " original sin." 

In 1874 the researches of Tyndall in the 
sphere of physics culminated in the celebrated 
" Belfast " address, in which he declared that 
" in matter lies the promise and potency of all 
terrestrial life." 

What wonder, then, that in the light of these 
revolutionizing discoveries and publications 
thooaands of thoughtful people found them- 
selves bereft of the &upiliar sources of religious 
comfort and inspiration; robbed of inherited 
beliefs they had tacitly accepted as true for all 
time ; disf ellowshiped from religious organiza- 
tions that had their raison d'etre in those very 
beliefs which science had now discredited? 
No wonder that in 1876 earnest, serious souls 
found themselves in the same plight as the 
" Godf carers," mentioned in the " New Testa- 
ment book of "Acts." The "Godfearer" 
was a deeply-religious man dissatisfied with 



20 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OP TO-DAY 

existing types of religion. He was without a 
church-home, yet he felt the need of getting 
into vital touch with something transcendently 
holy. His difficulty was that he could not ac- 
cept the established ways of satisfying this 
need. He went from one religious organiza- 
tion to another, finding everywhere something 
that appealed to him, yet nowhere all that he 
wanted. In the Jewish synagogue, for exam- 
ple, he f oilnd a noble monotheism that made a 
powerful appeal to his sense of a divine Power 
in the world, but he found here also ceremonial 
observances that impressed him as antiquated 
and out of vital relation to the spiritual needs 
of modem men. In the meeting-house of the 
worshipers of Mithra he found a religious 
mysticism that seemed to provide for his 
spiritual life a sense of union with something 
indefinable, mysterious, yet real. But here 
also he found a mythology and ritualistic forms 
quite at variance with the best educated 
thought of the time. And so here again, as in 
the case of the synagogue, he recognized that 
which appealed to him and also that which 
restrained him from identifying himself with 
the organization^ Another day he went into 
the temple of the state religion, the official Ro- 



INTEREST IN PSYCHIC PHENOMENA 21 

man religioiu Here he observed a deification 
and woi*sliip of the emperor that repelled him. 
Here was neither the noble monotheism of the 
synagogue nor the mysticism of the mystery 
religions. Indeed, what he found in this pa- 
gan temple seemed scarcely worthy to be called 
religion. Thus, he became involuntarily a 
spiritual wanderer, a religious man without a 
church-home. Precisely so was it with the 
Godfearers of 1876. They, too, were spiritual 
wanderers, deeply-religious natures yet with- 
out a church-home. 

As we look back to their spiritual experience 
following upon those revolutionizing discov- 
eries of the preceding generation we may liken 
it to a deluge which has gradually blotted out 
one after another the familiar landmarks of 
traditional religion, leaving the ark of faith 
afloat upon a watery waste, with no sign of sub- 
sidence to cheer and encourage the spiritually 
bereft. Day after day did they seek dry land 
on which their ark might safely rest, when lo, 
at length, the doves which they had sent forth 
in different directions returned, one bringing 
the amaranthine flower of Spiritualism; an- 
other, the lotus-lily of Theosophy ; a third, the 
balsam-bud of Christian Science ; a fourth, the 



22 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

healing-leaves of New Thought. In other 
words, each of these movements arose to stem 
the tide of skepticism, to check the growth of 
philosophical materialism and of that practical 
materialism which is far more dangerous than 
any erroneous speculations of the philosophers ; 
the materialism, whose gospel is creaturensom- 
forts, sensualism and starvation of the spirit; 
life self -centered and unconsecrated. For, our 
inner life is all starving and forlorn save as it 
touches some transcendent good and gets into 
vital relation with what has eternal and in- 
finite worth. And whenever serious souls are 
seeking that, they are in search of a satisfying 
religion. 

So poor and petty are these human lives of 
ours, even at their best, that we feel the need 
of something greater than they which they may 
subserve and thus be made worth while ; some- 
thing infinitely beautiful and holy, a supreme 
spiritual Ideal working itself out in the evolu- 
tion of the world, one qualified to invigorate 
us with a divine patience and courage, to save 
us from cynicism and despair, and to sustain 
in us that enthusiasm without which no worthy 
work can ever be done. 

In passing it may be permitted me to re- 



INTEREST IN PSYCHIC PHENOMfi^H^T'^a 

mark that not only did the Ethical movement 
originate in 1876, but its birth was due to the 
selfsame cause that brought these psychic move- 
ments into existence, viz., the deeply-felt need 
of a satisfying religion to take the place of the 
Judaism and Christianity that had failed to 
make a satisfying appeal. And their failure 
was due in large measure to their claim to 
have a complete and final revelation, a fixed 
and finished system of faith and practice. 
These men and women, these " God-fearers " 
of 1876 were part of the unchurched, un- 
templed host, looking for a religion that would 
satisfy. And as neither Church nor Syna- 
gogue, nor yet again the extreme radicals, fur- 
nished the fellowship of which they were in 
search, no alternative remained but to organize 
one of their own. And this they did, mark 
you, not in opposition to religion, not in de- 
spair of religion, nor yet again in the hope of 
finding in philanthropy and moral education a 
substitute for religion, nay, but in the hope of 
working out a satisfying religion. 

It remains to answer the last of the three 
questions, viz., what should be the spirit in 
which one not identified with any of these 
psychic movements should approach them and 



84 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

deal with them ? Too common is the practice 
of rudely relegating them all to the limbo of 
the ridiculous and the irrational, without the 
slightest regard for what justice and love re- 
quire of us. Yet 'tis a compound of these 
two, justice and love, that constitutes the spirit 
that should control us in our exposition and 
criticism of these movements. We may de- 
scribe it by the term appreciation, — the no- 
blest word in the vocabulary of the human soul 
and descriptive of that modem virtue toward 
the practice of which the race has been slowly 
climbing. 

Time was, when, in Christian civilization, 
persecution seemed ethically warranted, when 
those in ecclesiastical authority, assuming that 
ihey only had the true religion, believed it was 
God's will that they should suppress dissenters 
and so vindicate and spread "God's truth." 
If persuasion failed, they resorted to imprison- 
ment. When that proved ineffectual, they 
tried the lash. As a final measure they con- 
demned the dissenters to the stake, hoping by 
fire to exterminate both heresy and heretics. 
Nor are the traces of such persecution entirely 
extinct To-day the Christian persecutes the 
Jew and the Jew the Christian. Bomanism 



INTEREST IN PSYCHIC PHENOMENA 25 

persecutes Protestantism, Orthodox Protestant- 
ism pjgrsecutes liberal Christianity, and liberal 
Christianity persecutes the religion that is no 
longer Christian. 

A step upward in the direction of the new 
ideal was taken when forbearance replaced 
persecution, when latitude was admitted in 
theology no less than in geography, when dis- 
senters were reluctantly allowed to hold their 
heresies without fear of molestation or threat. 
And when tolerance was substituted for for- 
bearance, it meant a new attitude toward 
dissenters, because tolerance is the willing 
(not the reluctant) consent to let others hold 
opinions diiferent from our own. Yet even 
this attitude, noble as it seems, cannot be 
regarded as the acme of spiritual attain- 
ment. For, tolerance always implies a meas- 
ure of concession. We tolerate what we 
must, but would suppress if we could. Tol- 
erance has an air of patronizing condescen- 
sion about it. He who tolerates affects a cer- 
tain offensive superiority, exhibits a spiritual 
conceit. Yet in the estimation of many a 
thoughtful person tolerance is looked upon as 
the acme of spiritual attainment, the ne plus 
ultra of considerateness, the very loveliest 



26 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

flower on the rosebush of liberalism. What 
more, it is asked, can there be expected of us 
than a friendly, tolerant attitude to beliefs and 
systems with which we are not in sympathy? 
Our answer is you can appreciate them, be 
sincerely eager to do full justice to them, gen- 
erously assume that they have something of 
worth which may enrich your own thought on 
life, all the while remembering that if the be- 
lief or system contain errors, it is kept alive 
only by reason of the truth-germ which it hides. 
Lovelier by far than tolerance is appreciation 
which, while wholly free from the blemish that 
mars the beauty of tolerance, adds to that 
beauty fresh graces all its own. Certain it is 
that we have always something to learn until 
we have traced beliefs we disown back to their 
source and discovered what good and useful 
end they still serve for those who still hold 
them. In short, appreciation is the spirit 
which exceeds tolerance, despises mere for- 
bearance, blushes at persecution. Toward the 
various religious systems of the world it takes 
a sympathetic attitude, seeking to estimate 
each from the dynamic rather than from the 
static viewpoint; judging each, not only by 
what it originally was, but also by what it has 



INTEREST IN PSYCHIC PHENOMENA 27 

grown to be. Appreciation is the spirit which 
turns to the founders of the great historic re- 
ligions not with a polemical but with an eclec- 
tic purpose, asking of each : What have you to 
offer ? What can we borrow from your gospel 
to enlarge and deepen our modem life? In- 
stead of singling out Moses or Jesus as though 
he alone had all the truth the world needs, ap- 
preciation bows reverently before all religious 
teachers, esteeming each according to the truth 
he has to teach and the inspiration that may 
be drawn from the story of his life. 

Similarly toward present-day psychic move- 
ments the spirit of appreciation exhibits a cor- 
responding regard, granting to each a respect- 
ful hearing, persuaded that its thesis has some 
measure of truth and the more unpromising 
its appearance the more diligent the search for 
it. Appreciation aims to state the position 
and claims of each movement as fairly and as 
strongly as would a representative of it, avoid- 
ing both understatement and exaggeration to- 
gether with everything that savors of dispa- 
ragement or contempt. The spirit of apprecia- 
tion, moreover, is one that patiently strives to 
determine what life-giving elements these 
movements contain, what needs they satisfy, 



28 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

what wants thej supply, modestly aware of the 
vast firmament of thought under which we 
move and watchful for every new star the guid- 
ing heavens may reveal. The spirit of vappre- 
ciation looks upon these various movements not 
as rivals, waging a competitive sectarian war- 
fare, but instead, likens them^to tiie' stopi^ and 
pedals of a vast ' pfg^jjLf ^rxxe. stressing the 
noble, others the tender- tones, none of itself 
yielding the full-orbed music, but the harmoni- 
ous blending of their individual qualities pro- 
ducing a symphony of reverence for the good, 
the beautiful and the true. 

In the New Testament epistle to the Ephe- 
sians, written to the Christian converts at 
Ephesus, the writer makes use of a noble 
phrase which succinctly expresses the spirit I 
am "stijiving to define. Eealizing the danger 
th^ tbpe newly-made converts would be prone 
to spfak disdainfully of the old Eoman re- 

ligipnj^tfa«x -J^^^ j^s* relinquished, the writer 
besgy^t them to abstain " from all4i\^lj^p and 
wra^ jfi^^^&flger,^ '^peaking th^^iruthi^iv-Jfi've/* 
In tliela^ five' words of this earnest, appeal the 
apostle sums up the spirit of appreci^aliion as 
applied to exposition* aifd^criti^^^smi of-.bjeliefs 
with which we are not in accord. How often 



INTEREST IN PSYCHIC PHENOMENA 29 

has it happened that people, armed with logio 
and facts, with rhetoric and a rich vocabulary 
have yet carried no conviction, corrected no 
error, because they spoke not the truth in love. 
The only way to abolish superstition is by ab* 
sorbing and assimilating the truth that perpet- 
nates it. The true way to suppress quackery, 
whether in medicine or in religion, is by doing 
in a scientific way what the quacks do after 
the manner of the charlatan and leave vitupera- 
tion, ridicule, opprobrious epithets and wrath- 
ful words severely alone. 

Let us frankly confess, that very few, if any 
of us, have succeeded in bringing the whole 
of our mental life under cultivation. Only a 
part of it gets completely rationalized and 
ethicized. The truth is our mental life is 
much like one of those clearings I used to see 
in forests of the far west, the work of pioneer 
/flettlers. After the conifers have been cut 
down, the stumps and underbrush removed 
from an acre or two it is forthwith brought 
under cultivation with all the promise and 
potency of an earthly paradise. But it is 
only a clearing in the wild. Around it on 
every side is the forest, inhabited by formid- 
able beasts and birds of prey. So is it with 



80 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

the human mind. Very rarely is the whole 
of it brought under cultivation. A little sec- 
tion gets redeemed from superstition and dog- 
matism and traditionalisms that lie about the 
cleared area of the mental forest. But our 
business is to enlarge the clearing, to remove 
more and more of the stumps of prejudice and 

— the underbrush of bigotry that interfere with 
the formation of just judgments of persons, 
beliefs and organizations with which we are 
not in sympathy. 

Strange and lumatural as it may seem, we 
yet meet at this late day, with clergymen and 
statesmen who perpetuate the unwarranted 
practice of heaping opprobrious epithets upon 

'^ the name of Thomas Paine. Do these gen- 
tlemen imagine they are furthering their par- 
ticular religious or political interests by vili- 
fying one whom they hate? Think of the 
noble causes to which the sincere, public- 
spirited, patriotic Paine gave the power of his 
pen and voice. I am no disciple of his. I 
dissent from most of the views he entertained 
of the Bible and of religion, but I cannot for- 
get that it was out of the heart of Thomas 
Paine that the American doctrine of independ- 
ence was bom; that it was he who first used 



INTEREST IN PSYCHIC PHENOMENA 81 

the phrase " United States " ; he who first in- 
sisted that they must be independent and he 
who led all his contemporaries in the practice 
of that intemational-mindedness which we 
evaluate to-day as never before. 

When a great liberal thinker with bold icono- — 
clasm tears down the walls of superstition 
which mediaevalism had reared, he takes a i 
brave part in the gigantic task of leading the 
faith of the past on to the faith of the future. 
But alas, if through unscholarly utterances, 
unwarranted ridicule and misplaced wit, he "^ 
create a vast deal of harm which it will re- 
quire years of calm, temperate, kindly utter- 
ance of the truth to repair ! A raw rational- 
ism that speaks with flippant and irreverent** 
tongue never yet won its way to human hearts, 
whereas a ripe rationalism, bom of scholarship 
and reverent regard for the fact of evolution, 
never fails to produce a wholesome effect and 
to promote the cause of truth. 

A friend has just sent me a book entitled 
'*The Religio-Medical Masquerade," written 
by a Boston lawyer. 

" Christian Science," he said, in his open- 
ing sentences, " is the most shallow and sordid 
and wicked imposture of the ages. Upon a 



82 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

substratum of lies a foundation of false pre- 
tense has been laid. Never before has the 
world witnessed a masquerade like that of 
Christian Science. The founder of this pre- 
tended religion, this bogus healing-system, 
has throughout her whole long life, been in 
every particular precisely antithetical to 
Christ.*' 

Obviously in these heated terms the author 
describes, not Christian Science, but his own 
irritation, impotence and unworthiness. The 
temptation to indulge in vituperative epithets 
is very strong and subtle, but it is always a 
positive detriment to the progress of truth and 
to the moral development of him who yields to 
it. For, not only does this practice develop in 
him the evil qualities conveyed in his invec- 
tives, but it also reduces his capacity for dis- 
passionate judgment, besides making him in- 
creasingly unsympathetic, uncharitable and 
unlovely. Vituperation is like the boomerang 
which returns upon its projector. Believing 
this profoundly and intensely and having 
sought for years to profit from it, permit me 
now to say that if, in succeeding chapters, any 
criticism of mine on any of these psychic move- 
ments be construed as manifesting an unkindly 



INTEREST IN PSYCHIC PHENOMENA 88 

or a contemptuous spirit, it will be miscon- 
strued; and it will be in regretted contradic- 
tion of my purpose if I let slip a single care- 
less word that shall wound the reverence of 
even the most sensitive soul. 



/ 

/ 

II ^ 



THE NEW tuought: its origin and 

CLAIMS 

(With incidental reference to " Christian Science" and 

kindred cults.) 

It is not an uncommon thing in our aaj to 
see good men and women who have lost their 
physical or their spiritual bearings feeling 
about for some trustworthy guide, reaching out 
for anything that may prove to be for the 
good of their body or their soul. Consequently 
it would be both imwarranted and unkind to 
speak slightingly or contemptuously of a move- 
ment which has ministered in just such helpful 
ways to unnumbered thousands of diseased and 
dis-eased people. 

Wherever you find a religion acting benefi- 
cently upon the conduct of its adherents, there 
you may be satisfied some truth is to be found. 
Similarly, wherever you find a large number of 
adherents to a given belief, there also, you may 
l)e assured, something good and true obtains. 

34 



THE NEW THOUGHT 85 

And so I would deal temperately and dis- 
passionately with this Movement, treating it 
neither with flippancy nor ridicule, regarding 
it neither as a delusion nor as a fraud, recog- 
nizing its actual cures as readily as those 
wrought at the shrine of Ste. Anne, in Beaupre, 
and often by a like cause. That thousands of 
cripples come with crutches and depart with- 
out them is not to be denied, though the aban- 
doned crutches be no evidence that a bone of 
St Anne made lame people walk. Rather do 
these crutches show how many people there 
were who had them longer than they needed 
them and that they discovered there how much 
less dependent on them they were than they 
supposed. At the shrine they got just the bit 
of confidence and trust they needed, persuad- 
ing them they could walk without crutches. 
A stirring impulse, a confidence that St. Anne 
will not let them fall, gave them courage and 
will to discard the crutches and walk without 
them. The cure was not a miracle, but a dis- 
covery; an exhibition, not of what St. Anne 
does, but of what they who go there do. As 
the local priest, in charge, said — " it is their 
faith.'' 

Say what we will in criticism of the New 



86 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

Thought movement, we have to admit that a. 
very large number of people, possibly a mil- 
lion, are influenced by it. They constitute a 
psychic type to be studied with respect, since 
for them the movement continues to fulfill a 
helpful mission, physically, morally, spirit- 
ually. 

Glance with me, for a moment, at some of 
its more important achievements on each of 
these three planes. 9 

Thousands of people there are who have 
suffered from one or another ailment, real or 
imaginary, and who, through the treatment 
peculiar to this movement, have become con- 
scious of good health and freedom from pain. 
Explain it in any way you wish, enough has 
been done, on the physical plane, by the heal- 
ing method peculiar to this movement to pro- 
hibit our branding it as a humbug or a fad. 
True, a large nimiber of failures have been 
reported, but this only adds to the strength of 
the argument, because there must have been a 
goodly number of successes to offset the fail- 
ures, otherwise the movement would have come 
to an inglorious finish long ago. In so far, 
then, as New Thought treatment has brought 
health to hosts of people who have failed to 



THE NEW THOUGHT 87 

secure it by any other means, we must ac- 
knowledge that the movement is an incalcul- 
able boon« 

But healing the sick is not the whole of New 
Thought, any more than it is of Christian Sci- 
«nce.^ On the contrary, the representatives of 
both these movements are quick and keen to in- 
sist that healing the sick is the smallest part, 
the least significant side of their cult. In con- 
firmation of this conviction they point to thou- 
sands of homes in which the conversation never 
turns on bad weather or bad health ; homes in 
which it is bad form to talk about bad weather 
or disagreeable sensations; homes from which 
all worry and dread, all morbidity and pessi- 
mism have been banished. Nay more, bad 
habits, unconquered by other means, have by 
this system been vanquished, sour dispositions 
have been sweetened and hot tempers cooled; 
snobbishness has been replaced by graciousness 
and where once men and women fed on the gar- 
bage of gossip they now feast upon the fruits of 
the spirit, ,,For foolish, fashionable dissipa- 
tions there has been substituted serious, sensi- 
ble interest in things eminently worth while. 

1 Bee '^ Rudimentary Divine Science," by Mrs. M. B. 
Eddy» p. 9. 



88 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

• 

No less impressive is the achievement of this 
movement on the spiritual plane, for it has 
made the idea of God a practical reality where 
formerly it was only a theological belief un- 
related to daily life. This movement has 

^ stressed the idea of the immanence of God as 
an indwelling, quickening power, bringing 

_ calm, serenity and poise into natures that were 
once nervous, fretful and unbalanced. And if 
you would know how these results on the 
spiritual plane have been achieved, let me com- 
mend the last fifty pages of the latest book on 
the subject, written by one of the ablest repre- 
sentatives of the movement, Mr. Horatio W. 
Dresser, and entitled, " Handbook of the New 
Thought." Here are concrete, practical sug- 
gestions intended to make the thought of God 
a vital reality to the reader, to enable him to 
"practice His Presence."^ 

From what has been thus far said, it must 
be clear that the New Thought movement is 
not only a method of healing disease but also 
a spiritual philosophy of life. At the start it 

^ was solely therapeutic ; it began as a mental 
healing movement and only after its ethical and 
religious implications had been perceived was 

2 '* Handbook of the New Thought/' p. 261. 



THE NEW THOUGHT 89 

the name "New Thought" substituted for 
Mental Healing as a broader, more comprehen- 
sive designation. We can trace the movement 
back to the middle of the last century when 
one Phineas Parkhurst Quimby undertook in- 
vestigation of certain mesmeric or hypnotic 
phenomena, which were being exhibited in his 
native city of Belfast, Maine. Having dis- 
covered that he could experiment successfully 
with hypnotism he conceived the idea of apply- 
ing it to the cure of disease. = For the man had 
suffered for years from a seemingly incurable 
disease and believed himself likely to die at 
any time. Consequently he was ready to en- 
tertain any proposition that promised success 
where the regular medical practice had failed. 
Experiments made with a few sensitives soon 
proved to Quimby that hypnotism could be suc- 
cessfully applied to the cure of disease. But, 
realizing one day that suggestion is the essence 
of hypnotism, he thought to dispense with the 
hypnosis, or sleep, into which the patient had 
been put and treat him in his waking state in- 
stead. Thus the transition was effected, for 
Quimby, from Hypnotism to Mental Healing; 
from the method of treating the patient in a 
sleeping state and in that hypnosis bidding him 



40 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

yield his will to the will of the practitioner, 
to the method of treating the patient in his 
waking state and therein encouraging him 
to exercise his own will in carrying out 
the suggestion the practitioner had made to 
him. 

Quimby's healing method was briefly as fol- 
lows : — Starting, with the idea that all disease 
is a form of error, due partly to inherited ideas 
about* the physical origin of disease, and in 
part to popular notions concerning symptoms 
of disease, Quimby sought to give the patient 
" the truth " about himself, a new mental pic- 
ture, indeed, that should take the place of his 
inherited conceptions. " God," he said, " be- 
holds the patient sound, sane, whole, free.'' 
Inoculate the patient's mind with this concep- 
tion of his true selfhood, for there is healing 
power in it. A New York representative of 
Quimby's therapeutics recently recommended 
the following modus operandi: — " Addressing 
the patient let the healer say : — ^ You were 
created In the image and likeness of God. He 
endowed you with dominion and power. 
There is nothing to fear; you are in no danger. 
As light excludes all darkness, so truth ex- 
cludes all error. God loves you with an infi- 



THE NEW THOUGHT 41 

nite love. He is jour Father, and cares for 
you with an infinite tenderness. Have no 
fears or doubts; realize your oneness with the 
Source of your being. This body is not you; 
you are a spiritual being, endowed with life, 
love, and truth. If God be for you, nothing 
can be against you. Put your trust in Him 
who alone is able to save to the uttermost. If 
He be for you, what can be against you ? He 
alone is omnipotent and omnipresent He 
alone gives strength and health and life to all. 
He is your life and your strength ; in Him you 
live, and move, and have your being. There 
is nothing to fear. The spirit of the Lord 
hath formed you, the breath of the Lord hath 
given you life and the so-called powers of 
darkness cannot prevail against you. His 
love, which passeth understanding, is^ resting 
and abiding with you, and will rest and abide 
with you now and evermore.' " 

Another practitioner of New Thought, en- 
larging upon the foregoing, bids the patient : — 
" recollect there can be no disease where there 
is no life ; and, where there is life, there is the 
healing power. Pay no further attention, 
then, to the disease, or pain, or the fear of 
them, but focalize your thought upon that 



42 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

healing life as now active in the affected parts 
and image them as even now becoming sound 
and perfect after the divine ideal. Hold to 
that resolutely, with boundless trust and lively 
hope in Almighty Goodness and, ' according 
to your faith be it unto you,' '' 

Applying these principles in his own case, 
Quimby was cured of his disease. Among the 
hundreds who came to his oflSce for treatment 
was a woman destined to be world-renowned 
as the foundress of Christian Science. Mrs. 
Mary Baker Eddy was one of the early patients 
of Dr. Quimby, and over her signature testified 
to the efficacy of " mental healing," in her own 
case, albeit that later she repudiated Quimby's 
teaching and set up " Christian Science " in- 
stead.^ 

^Having successfully experimented with 
"mental healing,^' Quimby established what 
he called " a science of health " in that he 
knew Jiow the cures were effected and that he 
could explain the curative principle to others. 
Quimby, however, took no credit to himself 
as a mental healer. On the contrary, he held 
that God is the only healer, that " true causal- 
ity, of whatever kind, is ultimately Divine,'^ 

^Bee ''Science and Health," p. z (1917 edition). 



THE NEW THOUGHT 48 

and that his own mind was merely an instru- 
ment or agent through which the divine power 
did its beneficent work. Nevertheless, to 
Quimby belongs the credit of having been the 
first in the modem world to apply the " men- 
tal'' method to the cure and prevention of 
disease. 

After his death in 1866, the movement 
spread far beyond the confines of Maine, and 
soon took on the form of a religious cult, be- 
cause behind the process of mental healing were 
definite religious ideas — of God and God's 
healing power and man as made in the image 
of God. In 1886 a church was established in 
Boston, active propaganda was instituted, 
magazines were published, " metaphysical " 
clubs were organized, New Thought " centers " 
and " circles " were formed, a national conven- 
tion was held, attended by a goodly number of 
New Thought groups. By the year 1900 it 
had reached the stage where the demand for its 
literature was sufficiently great for " insin- 
cere stuff, mechanically produced for the mar- 
ket," to be to a certain extent supplied by pub- 
lishers — " a phenomenon," said Professor 
Wm. James, " never observed until a religion 
has got well past its earliest insecure begin- 



44 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

nings." ^ In Boston the movement was then 
represented chiefly by the three Dressers, 
father, mother and son (Horatio W.), Charles 
Newcomb, W. J. Winkley, Henry Wood, Ralph 
Waldo Trine. In Chicago the movement had 
a remarkably brilliant and competent repre- 
sentative in Mrs. Ursula N. Gestefeld. Still 
further West, Helen Wilmans served as an able 
exponent of it, while here, in New York, the 
movement had for its foremost speakers, 
Charles Brodie Patterson and W. J. Colville. 
To-day, in this city there are nine "New 
Thought" organizations which announce in 
the Saturday press their Sunday services. 
One is entitled " Advance Science " ; another, 
" The Church of Silent Demand " ; a third, 
" The Fellowship of the Life More Abun- 
dant " ; a fourth, " The League for the Larger 
Life " ; a fifth group meets with Mrs. Chapin 
at the " Biltmore " ; a sixth holds its meetings 
with Edith Earick at the "Park Avenue 
Hotel " ; a seventh is called " The School of 
the Builders " ; while the last two are known 
as "The Society for Constructive Thought," 
and " Unity Society." 

With the spread of the movement came in- 

«'' Varieties of lUligious Experience," Lect. ir. 



THE NEW THOUGHT 45 

evitable modifications of Quimby's original 
views. He, for example, bad held that his 
own thought was only an instrument of Divine 
Mind, but certain of his followers, notably 
Henry Wood, regarded thought as " the great- 
est power in the world, creative and forma- 
tive,'' Again, Quimby s^ the cause of dis- 
ease in other factors besides erroneous thoughts, 
i. e. in emotions, nervous states and bodily 
conditions, but many of his followers believed 
that wrong thought constituted the sole and 
sufficing cause. Quimby regarded Grod as the 
only real healer, but there were those who held 
that man's own thought has healing power in 
it, just " holding the thought " of health being 
often sufficient to induce it. But without 
dwelling at greater length upon these modifi- 
cations suffice it to note that because of them 
the New Thought movement is now known by 
many different names, such as Mental Science, 
Divine Science, Practical Metaphysics, Spirit- 
ual Science^ Moreover, because of these modi- 
fications the movement has no one oracle, no 
one text book, no uniformity of scope or con- 
tent. Then, too, because of these modifica- 
tions, which are still multiplying, there exists 
BO single book in the literature of the move- 



46 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

ment giving both an adequate and a complete 
statement of what it stands for. Yet despite 
all their differences they who represent the 
New Thought Movement hold much in com- 
mon. They all agree on certain therapeutic, 
ethical and religious beliefs. 

Common to all forms of New Thought on 
^the therapeutic side are the following be- 
liefs : — (a) that disease is a form of error, 
(b) that the cure is effected by giving the pa- 
tient a picture of his true self as made in the 
divine image, (c) that God is omnipotent, equal 
to curing organic as well as functional dis- 
orders, and (d) that man has in himself power 
to draw upon the Divine reservoir for health. 

On the ethico-religious side of the move- 
ment, all respresentatives are agreed (a) that 
God is infinite Wisdom and Infinite Love, 
(b) that man is a soul and has a body, (c) 
that each human being is " an infinitesimal 
component of the Infinite God," (d) that every 
human being is master of his own destiny, to be 
worke4 out through the discipline of adver- 
sity, iji one or. another of its countless forms, 
(e) that sin on any plane is subject to the law 
of retribution, and that a sin on one plane 
cannot escape pimishment because of obedi- 



THE NEW THOUGHT 47 

ence to law on another plane. !No matter how 
fine a moral character you may have, if you 
commit a sin on the physical plane you sufiFer 
for it notwithstanding — a law pathetically 
illustrated in the case of Milton, who read the 
Bible every night by a dim candle-light, and 
eventually became blind. The fact that he 
was reading the Bible could not save his eyes 
from being subject to the law of retribution 
on the physical plane where a condition of pre- 
serving his sight had been violated. But let 
me not leave this characterization of the unity 
of the New Thought movement without con- 
firming what has been set forth as common to 
all its types by quotations from the works 
of leading representatives and organiza- ^ 
tions : 

" Love is the eternal sunshine of life, and to 
one living in that sunshine there can be no 
darkness. Law controls all planes of life." 

"To obey all laws is to live the complete 
life.'' 

" To think no evil is simply to have no 
ownership of it." 

" In proportion as a man opens himself to 
the divine influx he takes on the God-powers." 

" The art of living is the art of thinking, 



48 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

for life has no values except as thought molds 
them. . . . Eight thought means right living. 
Thoughts are forces. God is all; and, if all, 
then each individual, you and I, must be a 
vital part of that all, since there can be nothing 
separate from it. And if a part, then the 
same in nature, in characteristics, the same 
as a tumbler of water taken from the ocean is, 
in nature, in qualities, in characteristics, iden- 
tical with the ocean, its source/^ As indica- 
tive of the radiant, unlimited optimism every- 
where manifest in the movement, the follow- 
ing quotations will serve : 

" Only the good exists, all seeming wrong 
being but the means to an end higher than 
itself. All things work together for good 
whether we call them by the name of good 
or evil. The world is a garden of delights 
to those who are not blind and deaf. True 
life is unalterable sweetness in which all the 
shadows of our yesterdays are woven into the 
soft tints of the morning sunshine." 

In a bulletin of the International New 
Thought Alliance (just published),*^ appear 
the following sentences written by its presi- 
dent, James A. Edgerton. "Spaiming the 

6 January, 1918. 



THE NEW THOUGHT 4» 

world is a rainbow above the receding deluge 
of war. It is the promise that never again 
shall its inundating flood touch the eartlu 
The horror of the great war is nearing its end. 
Henceforth, the world is to belong all to God, 
all to construction, all to health, all to truth, 
all to freedom. The principles of liberty are 
hereafter to predominate in all nations. 
Henceforth there is to be a more cordial, a 
more genuine, and a more poetic relation be- 
tween man and man, and between man and 
woman the world aroimd. The old limitations 
of geography, of class, of race, of so-called 
religion, of the imaginary ills of the flesh, and 
all the progeny of error have gone into the dis- 
card. Man has awakened from an evil dream. 
This is the message of the New Thought in 
the new time." 

In the " Declaration of Principles " adopted 
by the International New Thought Alliance 
at the St Louis convention in 1917 we find 
the following compendium of the therapeutic 
and ethico-reUgious beliefs in which all mem- 
bers are agreed. 

" We aflirm the freedom of each soul. Each 
individual must be loyal to the Truth he sees. 

"We affirm the Good. This is supreme,. 



«0 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

universal and everlasting. Man is made in the 
image of the Good, and evil and pain are but 
the tests and correctives that appear when his 
thought does not reflect the full glory of this 
image. 

" We affirm health, which is man's divine 
inheritance. Man's body is his holy temple. 

" We affirm the divine supply. 

" We affirm the new thought of God as Uni- 
Tersal Love, Life, Truth and Joy; that His 
mind is our mind now, that realizing our one- 
ness with Him means love, truth, peace, health 
and plenty, not only in our own lives, but in 
•the giving out of these fruits of the Spirit to 
others. 

" We affirm these things, not as a profession, 
•but practice ; not on one day of the week, but 
in every hour and minute of every day ; not in 
•the ministry of a few, but in a service that in- 
cludes the democracy of all ; not in words alone, 
but in the innermost thoughts of the heart ex- 
pressed in living the life. 

" We affirm Heaven here and now, the life 
everlasting that becomes conscious immortal- 
ity, the. communion of mind with mind 
throughout the universe of thought, and the 
quickened realization of the indwelling God in 



THE NEW THOUGHT 51 

each soul that is making a new heaven and a 
new earth." 

But in this ethico-religious teaching there 
is nothing really new. Emerson and Quimby 
were both bom in 1803, yet twenty-eight years 
before Quimby had worked out these ethico- 
religious ideas Emerson had already expressed 
them in his essay on " Nature " published in 
1832, amplifying them in his "Divinity 
School" address, in 1838. Here it is that 
we read : " Yourself a newborn bard of the 
Holy Ghost, cast behind you all conformity, 
and acquaint men at first hand with Deity. 
Look to it first and only that tradition, custom, 
authority, are nothing to you, are not bandages 
over your eyes, so that you cannot see, but 
live with the privilege of the inmieasurable 
mind. . . . Let me admonish you first of all 
to go alone, to refuse good models, even those 
that are sacred in the imagination of men; 
dare to love God without mediator and without 
veil. Friends enough you shall find who will 
hold up to your emulation Wesleys and Ober- 
lins, saints and prophets. Thank God for 
these good men, but say : * I also am a man.' " 
With Emerson the New Thought takes the 
affirmative, constructive, optimistic attitude. 



52 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

affirming success even amid failure, believing 
devoutly in the supremacy of the good, the 
triumph of ideals, self-reliance, and the de- 
velopment of individuality. 

Twenty years before Quimby's death, t. e. 
in 1846, Emerson had published all three of 
those volumes of Essays in which every salient 
ethico-religious idea that is characteristic of 
the New Thought may be found. It was, 
then, no mere joke which a recent reviewer of 
the most popular of all 'New Thought books 
perpetrated when he described "In Tune 
with the Infinite," written by Ralph Waldo 
Trine, as " two- thirds Emerson and one-third 
Trine." 

If, on its therapeutic or healing side, the 
movement may be traced to Quimby, on its 
ethico-religious side it harks back chiefly to 
Emerson, the author more frequently quoted 
in its literature than any other. Nay, more, 
it would not be unjust to say that many a book 
on the New Thought shows little else than a 
simplification of the more difficult and recon- 
dite thought we meet with in the works of 
Emerson. And this is frankly admitted by 
many New Thought writers. Says one of 
these, in a little brochure, just published. 



THE NEW THOUGHT 5S 

" New Thought is a more satisfying and more 
practical revelation of that which is eternally 
old. New Thought uses the inspired truths of 
all the ages including those of the present. It 
does not claim to be a new philosophy, but it 
claims to bring a clearer understanding of the 
Divine Truths of God revealed through His 
children. New Thought is really old thought, 
but becomes new to the individual through 
making Truth applicable to the daily liv- 
ing." * 

Nor is this type of originality to be despised. 
Absolute originality is a mere abstraction. 
The man who should venture to express an 
absolutely original idea would become dry as 
Sahara, more laconic than the Spartans, and 
dumb as the Egyptian Sphinx. But there are 
species of relative originality and one of these 
is manifested by New Thought writers. For, 
just as it is the transcendent merit of the tree 
that it draws from the surrounding earth, air 
and water, the materials wherewith to build 
the strength of its trunk and the beauty of its 
foliage, so it is the transcendent merit of these 
authors that they drew from the surround- 
ing literature of Emerson and Plato, Berke- 

« M. L. S. Butterworth : " What is New Thought.'* 



54 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

ley, the Vedanta and the Fourth Gospel, 
materials wherewith to construct their in- 
spiring gospel of health, hope, freedom and 

joy. 

If this movement be called " new," then it 
can be only as it has carried Emerson's thought 
beyond the limits which he intended — trans- 
lating it into terms of healing. The New 
Thought is new as a reaction from that limited, 
or narrow medical science of sixty years ago 
which ignored the mental factor in the cause 
and cure of disease. It is new as a protest 
against that philosophical materialism which 
sixty years ago endeavored to prove that the 
total world, including even the finest products 
of our spiritual nature, can be adequately in- 
terpreted in terms of matter and motion. In 
its post-Quimby development the "New Thought 
marks a reaction from the so-called " autocracy 
and dogmatism " of Christian Science and, in 
so far as it has worked out a Biblical science of 
health, differing from that presented by Mrs. 
Eddy in her " Science and Health," the move- 
ment may be regarded as new. Quimby, in- 
deed, was the first to educe such a science of 
health from the Bible, Mrs. Eddy following in 
the wake of his exegesis, wjth a " Key to the 



THE NEW THOUGHT 55 

Scriptures" of her own. As for these at- 
tempts at deriving a system of therapeutics 
from the Bible, let it be understood that while 
all are free to interpret the Bible in any way 
they choose, yet it is incumbent upon them to 
note carefully what the Bible writers intended 
to teach as distinguished from such other in- 
terpretations as may be put upon their words. 
Good doctrinal matter, even a " Science of 
Health," can be extracted from the Bible, but 
this is not to be ascribed to the intention of the 
authors. No one can object to the proper 
name Adam being divided into two syllables 
so that it reads ''a dam," or obstruction, as 
Mrs. Eddy adyocates in her " Science and 
Health" (p. 338). Nor again is there any 
harm in making the name of the Bible river 
Oihon signify " woman's rights," as we read 
on page 587 of this same book. But to de- 
scribe such interpretation as " the original 
meaning" as ]!^rs. Eddy did on page 579 
and as New Thoughters, like Mrs. Geste- 
feld, did, is to violate the ethics of inter- 
pretation. 

Let there be liberty for all in the matter of 
interpretation, but in heaven's name, let there 
be also reason and conscience to see things as 



56 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

they really are and not make the Bible writers 
responsible for ideas foreign to their thought, 
their age and their purpose. 

Perhaps we shall be helped to a fuller under- 
standing of this movement if we contrast it, 
briefly, with four kindred movements. 

And in so doing, let it be distinctly under- 
stood that my aim here is not criticism but 
clarification, not to pass sentence upon these 
four but, by contrasting the New Thought with 
them, to set the features of the former into 
bolder relief. 

I. Hypnotism involves a fcim of sleep in 

which the patient's natural susceptibility to 

suggestion is increased and this may hold over 

.after the hypnosis has passed away. Thus the 

/will of the patient yields to that of the prac- 

ftitioner. 

The New Thought movement abjures hyp- 
nosis and a crippled wilL It treats the patient 
in his waking state and encourages him to 
strengthen his own will rather than surrender 
it to the will of the healer. According to New 
Thought doctrine it is not safe to surrender 
one's own will to that of another, even to 
escape a pain or a sorrow. 

II. The Emmanuel Movement, so called be- 



THE NEW THOUGHT 57 

cause it originated in Emmanuel Church, Bos- 
ton, represents a healing ministry first under- 
taken by that Episcopal Church. It does not 
represent a revival of the healing ministry of 
the early Christian Church because incident 
to that ministry was the belief in Satan and 
his demons as the cause of disease. All sick- 
ness was attributed to demoniacal possession 
and special officials called " exorcists " were 
appointed healers by virtue of their alleged 
power over the demons. No, the Emmanuel 
Movement takes its stand on modern pciontific 
medicine. It conducts a clinic in which each 
case is scientifically diii^osed by an expert 
physician. No organic diseases are treated in 
the Emmanuel clinic; its treatments are con- 
fined to fimctional disorders alone. Thus the, 
Emmanuel Movement is a term signifying a< 
scheme for medical and clerical alliance, for 
psycho-therapeutic treatment of nervous and 
functional disorders. 

The New Thought is not dependent on medi- 
cal diagnosis nor does it acknowledge any dis- 
tinction between organic and functional dis- 
eases but regards both as susceptible to mental 
treatment. 

III. Psychotherapy is a recognized branch 



58 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

of the science of medicina It is not allied 
with the New Thought or with any psychic 
movement whatsoever. The term is neutral 
and the movement free from " entangling alli- 
ances/' Its immediate task is the training of 
the mind, the emotions and the muscles by 
strictly scientific methods alone. 

IV. Christian Science is a highly organized 
institution homogeneous and unified in doc- 
trine, practice and government. 

The New Thought Movement is an unorgan- 
ized aggregation of independent, heterogene- 
ous groups, only partially unified in doctrine 
and practice. 

Christian Science acknowledges the leader^ 
ship of Mrs. Eddy and the text book, " Science 
and Health," as the ultimate criterion of truth 
on all questions of faith and practice. 

The New Thought Movement centers au- 
thority in no person, neither in Quimby nor in 
Emerson, but only in the revelations of intui- 
tion and the discoveries of experience. 

Christian Science looks for healing-truth in 
the Bible and in " Science and Health," since 
Mrs. Eddy declared, that " all outside Chris- 
tian Science is error" ("mutable" in the 
1917 edition; p. 202). 



THE NEW THOUGHT 59 

The New Thought Movement welcomes 
truth from every source, holding that the word 
of God camiot be limited to any book or any 
age. 

Christian Science denies the existence of 
disease, as we read on p. 374, line 10; p. 395, 
line 21, and elsewhere in " Science and 
Health." ^ 

The New Thought Movement acknowledges 
the existence of disease while treating it as the * 
product of error. 

Christian Science denies the reality of mat- 
ter; as we read on p. 368, line 27 ; pp. 269-70 
and elsewhere in " Science and Health." 

The New Thought Movement insists that 
matter is a palpable fact but that the body, as 
matter, is to be governed by the spirit. In 
the language of a leading representative of the 
New Thou^t : — " We regard the notion that 
the body, sin, and sickness are unreal, as a 
baseless dogma, the product of a confused 
metaphysic. For us the body is a reality, not 
indeed to be compared as a reality with the 
soul of the Absolute, but still in a genuine, how- 
ever limited sense, real/* 

7AU quotations from ''Science and Health" are 
taken from the 1917 edition. 



€0 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

Considered on its ethico-religious side, it 
must be said that this movement holds itself 
rather aloof from the practical philanthropies 
and social service. Very rarely do you meet 
a New Thought representative among the social 
workers in settlements or in neighborhood 
guilds. Said the President of the National 
New Thought Alliance in St. Louis last month 
(March, 1918), "New Thought is the oppo- 
site pole of Sociology.'^ I should have con- 
sidered that statement unfair had any one else 
made it, but it comes from the presiding officer 
at a national convention. The statement was 
received without protest, or even conmient; 
and, alas! it is too true. Because of its 
exclusive devotion to " spiritual science," it 
has tended to take an attitude of unconcern 
toward all physiological and environmental 
obstacles that militate against moral health and 
social health, — such, for example, as the 
" Prophylaxis Society " deals with in its fight 
against the social evil or such as one sees in 
those tenement houses where people of dif- 
ferent ages and different sexes are huddled to- 
gether in a single room, or, again, the over- 
worked bodies of men and women in factories 
where monotonous machine work superinduces 



THE NEW THOUGHT 61 

nervous irritation and this, in turn, indulgence 
in intoxicating drink, not to mention loss of 
power to develop individuality. Surely some 
effort should be put forth to improve these 
hindering conditions rather than to rely ex- 
clusively on New Thought teaching, however 
excellent it be. Well enough, to insist upon 
" the power of man to draw upon the Divine 
reservoir," but alas that this should carry in its 
train indifference toward these terrible hin- 
drances that ought to be removed from the path 
of decent living in which the New Thought 
would have their handicapped fellow beings^ 
walk. 

On its therapeutic or healing side, also, the 
New Thought has taken certain positions that 
expose it to inevitable criticism. Thus, for 
instance, it affirms the power of mind over the 
body, but it refuses to admit the opposite truth. 
The former statement is universally accepted, 
it stands unquestioned. But it is equally true 
that the body has power over the mind. Ex-^ 
perience has taught us that when we become 
physically fatigued we find it exceedingly diffi- 
cult to read and still more difficult to carry on 
a process of consecutive, logical thinking. 
Ordinary fatigue sometimes induces mental 



62 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

disorders that baffle the neurologist. Organs 
with which the gynaecologist is concerned, react, 
when disordered, to the serious detriment of 
mental power. Other physical conditions 
there are which superinduce delirium, while 
certain disturbances of brain-plasm bring on, 
in some cases, insanity; in others, complete loss 
of consciousness. 

The human organism is a " transformer ^' of 
energy, whether of the body or of the mind. 
Chemical and physiological processes go on in 
us and influence our spiritual health, witness 
the case of the preacher who lost his pulpit be- 
cause of inebriety, relapses following every 
effort at reform, his long indulgence having 
damaged nervous structures whose function 
is bound up with will-power. There is in 
truth a physiology of the moral and the spirit- 
ual life, too often ignored by devotees of the 
New Thought. If, then, on the one hand it 
be admitted that the mind has power over the 
body, it must be also admitted that the body 
has power over the mind. 

A second affirmation to which exception must 
be taken is that "the mind is practically 
omnipotent in its mastery over bodily condi- 
tions.^^ Listen to these utterances of a promi- 



^ 



THE NEW THOUGHT 68 

nent New York representative of the New 
Thought movement, Qiarles B. Patterson: 
'* There is no ailment that mind cannot re- 
move. If mentally we digest thoroughly we 
will have no physical indigestion. Bright- 
minded people are never bilious." Twenty 
years ago I heard Mrs. Julius Dresser, the 
mother of Horatio, say, at a public meeting, 
that " through the power of thought even nails 
may be digested and poisons swallowed with 
impunity." And Miss Helen Wilmans, in an 
address delivered at San Francisco, made the 
supreme claim for the power of thought, say- 
ing that death itself can be defied by it. 

For Christian Science parallels to these as- 
tounding utterances we have the claims made 
by Mrs. Eddy in her " Science and Health." 
Thus, for example, she said : " If you or I 
fihoidd appear to die, we should not be dead. 
The seeming decease (is) caused by a ma- 
jority of human belief that men must die.® 
If a dose of poison is swallowed by mistake 
and the patient dies, human belief causes the 
death. In such cases a few persons believe the 
poison harmless but the vast majority believe 
the arsenic (or whatever the drug) to be poi- 

8 « Science and Health/' p. 164. 



64 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

sonous. Consequently the result is controlled 
by the majority of opinions.® 

" The Christian Scientist takes the best 
care of his body when he leaves it most out of 
his thought.^® You say a boil is painful, but 
that is impossible. The boil simply manifests 
a belief in pain and the belief is called a 
boiL" 11 

Such extravagant statements can be excused 
indeed but only as evidences of an exuberant 
enthusiasm that breeds credulity which is 
characteristic of the early stages of every move- 
ment. What better evidence could there be of 
limits to the power of thought over the body 
than the total breakdown of conspicuous repre- 
sentatives of the movement; prolific writers 
and busy healers, so busy that they could not 
demonstrate, in their own case, the truth of 
the principles for which they stood; physical 
wrecks transported to a sanitarium or to a 
" watering " place as a last resort ? Remem- 
bering that his own father was one of these, 
and frankly recognizing the many failures that 
New Thought healers had scored, Horatio 

• Pp. 177-178. 

10 p. 383. 

11 p. 163. 



THE NEW THOUGHT 65 

Dresser published the following appeal : " Let 
us apply the New Thought as far as we can in 
the healing of disease, but above all, let us be 
true to common sense, and let us be free to con- 
sult others besides the mental healer in order 
to add to our knowledge of Nature's processes. 
Our only hope is in taking strict account of 
both mental and physical facts." A younger 
contemporary of Mr. Dresser recently re- 
marked, " Little advance has been made by our 
mental healers because they are blind to the 
obvious limits to therapeutic thought. My 
own mother has been laid up for six months a 
victim of over-specialization as a mental healer 
and others too, have collapsed." Commenting 
upon this a fellow healer, W. J. Winkley, said : 
" Let us be broad, as broad as we require the 
doctors to be. Let us gladly recognize the 
good, all good helps and agencies, whatever 
they may be, and from whatsoever quarter they 
may come." 

Eighteen years ago a noble young woman 
suffering from deafness and having tried 
Christian Science in vain, was prevailed upon 
to take the New Thought treatment under a 
practitioner of great repute. Throughout the 
intervening years sue had been a faithful f ol- 



W PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

lower of "the Truth," had lived daily in a 
congenial New Thought atmosphere and com- 
plied with all the requirements of the healer, 
yet her hearing has not improved. Many a 
New Thought disciple would say, "she did 
not hold the thought with sufficient clarity or 
tenacity." But to those, not partial to any 
psychic theory and knowing something of hos- 
pital clinics, it would seem a sufficient reason 
for her continued deafness that it dates from 
an attack of scarlet fever in childhood when an 
injury to the aural nerve is frequently a sequel 
to that disease. 

Grant that physicians generally are in need 
of more psychological knowledge, yet as 
Horatio Dresser candidly confessed, " New 
Thought leaders no less than Christian Sci- 
entists are in need of more physiological 
knowledge ; nay more, even their combined wis- 
dom is insufficient to explain aU cases ade- 
quately." Certainly, no one movement has 
all the truth ; no one " knows it all " and it 
V70uld therefore seem the part of wisdom not 
to close our medical schools and laboratories 
and leave the field of therapeutics to the men- 
tal healers alone. Physicians, it is true — 
and none are so ready to confess it as the best 



THE NEW THOUGHT 67 

educated — are liable to err. For, theirs is 
an experimental science and all shades and 
grades of persons are in the profession. Yet it 
may be said, with all fairness and in the spirit 
of imqualified kindness, that there is more 
hope for the world in one well trained, highly- 
skilled doctor, who sees his case from every 
side, than in a hundred uneducated mental 
healers or " scientists " devoid of all scientific 
training in the causes of disease and imwilling 
to concede that truth may reside elsewhere as 
well as in their cult. 

There are many diseases over which all the 
various psydbic modes of healing have proved 
powerless. Why this should be so, or that 
it always will be so, is something that no one 
as yet knows. So far as can be ascertained 
there are diseases, like cancer and meningitis, 
Bright's disease and locomotor ataxia, incur- 
able by mental means. To be sure, this asser- 
tion has been often questioned, but the fact still 
stares iisxa the face. Again and again has it 
been reported that one or another organic dis- 
ease has been " cured " by New Thought, or 
by some kindred method. But, as in the case 
of the cures attributed to Jesus, we have to ask 
what was the precise nature of the disease and 



68 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

was the cure permanent? For, recurrence of 
cancer and other diseases is common even after 
a protracted interval of seeming restoration to 
health. " Kidney-trouble " may have been 
cured indeed, but the question we must ask is, 
was it acute nephritis ? Cases of cancer-cure 
may be cited, but we ask what kinds were 
they? Were they the "self -eliminating " or 
the " rapidly progressing " type ? " Heart- 
trouble " too, may have been cured, but was it 
an aneurism of the aorta? So of alleged 
*^ stomach-trouble " being cured we must ask 
was it a case of gastric ulcer, and if of " lung- 
tr'ouble " was it a case of phthisis ? ^ More- 
over, it must be remembered that there is not 
a single organic disease but Nature may simu- 
late it when only some functional disorder ob- 
tains. Kead the illuminating account of this 
mimicry of organic disease as related by the 
eminent English physician, Stephen Paget, 
or, take the testimony of a prominent Boston 
physician, one who, after eight years^ careful 
study and diagnosis of over one hundred cases 
that had been unsuccessfully treated by Chris- 
tian Scientists and mental healers. "I am 

12 These instances are taken from the ''testimony" 
meetings reported in various periodicals. 



THE NEW THOUGHT 69 

satisfied/' he said^ ^^that the limitations of 
mental therapeutics are as follows : 

" First, They are of value chiefly as curative 
agents in cases of functional neurosis. 

" Second, In correcting vicious hahits 
formed by the mind of the individual. 

" Third, In removing some of the acute 
symptoms of organic disease. 

" Fourth, I consider that their greatest value 
is in the department of preventive medicine: 
I believe that more disease could be prevented 
by studying the minds and souls of youth 
and by correcting abnormal tendencies in 
them, than can be cured in later life by 
any amount of treatment, no matter of what 
kind." 

Nearly twenty years ago there appeared in 
the Americdn Journal of Psychology a most 
illuminating article contributed by Henry H. 
Goddard, Ph.D., a Fellow of Clark University, 
Worcester, Mass., in which he presented the 
results of prolonged study of what he called 
" faith-cures." He used this term to include 
Dowieism, Schlatterism, Quimbyism, Chris- 
tian Science and other allied non-medical 
modes of healing. Dr. Goddard's investiga- 
tions were conducted with admirable candor 



70 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

and open-mindedness and for the sole purpose 
of discovering the truth r^arding the nature 
and achievement:? of these *' cures." Ifo un- 
prejudiced reader of this record can fail to see 
how utter] V unwarranted is the notion that 
any one of these " cures " is superior to all the 
rest. The results of Dr. Goddard's investiga- 
tions may be summarized as follows : — 

1. They all cure disease and sin, and all 
alike have scored failures. 

2. All have cured the same kinds of disease 
and for all alike certain cases hare proved 
incurable. 

5. The records show that patients went from 
one ^^ school " to another and that no one 
school shows marked success (in treatment) 
over the other schools. 

4. Many persons remained uncured though 
all the schools had been patronized. 

6. Some failed to be cured by Dowieism but 
succeeded under Christian Science ; some failed 
with Christian Science but succeeded under 
Schlatterism ; some failed with Christian Sci- 
ence but succeeded under Hypnotism; some 
failed with both, but succeeded under the New 
Thought. 

6. There is only one factor common to all 



THE NEW THOUGHT 71 

the schools^ viz,, suggestion. Nor is Christian 
Science an exception, witness the testimony of 
Mrs. Eddy in her " Science and Health," p. 
411, line 27. 

7. Each " school " sees in Jesus a represen- 
tative of its healing method and claims him as 
its sponsor. 

I come now to a third just charge to which 
the New Thought has exposed itself. By its 
complete rejection of medical science it has 
cast a slur upon it, leaving no room whatever 
for its ministrations. It sets at naught all 
the medical knowledge that has been accumu- 
lated from the days of Hipprocrates down to 
our own; it ignores all the wonderful anes- 
thetics which medical research has brought to 
the relief of suffering man. It disdains the use 
of those marvelous discoveries — disinfectants, 
sera, antitoxins made by Pasteur and his illus- 
trious successors — men who have wrested 
from scourge and plague the secret of their 
decimating power, not halting at self-martyr- 
dom, as in the case of Drs. Laazear and Car- 
roll who gave their lives to prove that yellow 
fever is caused by the malarial mosquito which 
scatters the deadly germs, men who have re- 
duced mortality statistics to such a de- 



72 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

gree that to-day children have 96 chances 
for life in cases where formerly they had 
only four. 

Some one remarks, " How cruel these peo- 
ple are ! " Nay, they are tender-hearted and 
kind to a degree. Some one else exclaims: 
" How ignorant these people are ! " Nay, 
they are finely educated, indeed some of us 
might rejoice greatly had we the culture that 
I have seen in some representatives of the New 
Thought and of Christian Science. What are 
they, then ? They are simply extremists, peo- 
ple who in their reaction from that limited 
medical science of sixty years ago, which dis- 
regarded the power of mind, have gone over 
to the opposite extreme, contending that 
mental power or Divine power, as the case 
may be, is practically omnipotent. Because 
of this extremist position it has been proposed 
to " legislate New Thought out of existence," 
even as it has been repeatedly proposed thus 
to annihilate Christian Science. Just how 
far legislation is needed to curb these psychic 
movements appears when we ask: what is the 
object of law? It is to protect society and 
hitherto society has not stood in need of pro- 
tection from these systems, any more than 



THE NEW THOUGHT 78 

from quacks. We do need a law requiring all 
practitioners of whatever school to give satis- 
factory evidence that they have knowledge of 
the sciences of chemistry, physiology and 
anatomy. We have a law requiring vaccina- 
tion and the reporting of all cases of con- 
tagious diseases to the medical authorities; 
and with this law these movements have com- 
plied. When statistics shall he produced prov- 
ing that people are suffering and dying from 
the treatment furnished by " irregulars " it 
will be time enough to enact a law prohibiting 
their practice and every sensible person would 
raise voice and hand against them. Till then 
we must regard every attempt to legislate them 
out of existence as un-American procedure, as 
an imwarranted attack on the personal liberty 
of people who have a right to choose any kind 
of therapeutics they desire, provided they do 
not imperil other lives. 

It is fairly well settled that rats carry the 
infection of the bubonic 'plague from house to 
house and that mosquitos carry the germs of 
malaria and of yellow fever and deposit them 
where they will do positive and perhaps fatal 
harm to human bodies. Acquired knowledge 
in these fields has already resulted in reducing 



74 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

to a great degree the death-rate in affected 
regions. Contagion of disease is also fairly 
well settled and while every one should be al- 
lowed to risk or guard his life as he likes, no 
man or woman has a right to play upon human 
society the part of the rats and mosquitos in 
spreading disease. There may be differences 
of opinion concerning vaccination and the 
germ-theory of disease, but we have readied a 
point where it is the clear duty of all citizens 
to play the game of life according to these rules 
of health and safety. When physicians seek 
to crush out " irregular '^ therapeutists we 
should protest. Similarly, when Christian 
Scientists or New Thought adherents try to 
obstruct the progress of public health-measures 
and especially of preventive-medicine we 
should also protest. And precisely as mar- 
riage-ceremony laws are made, not for the sake 
of clergymen and justices of peace but for the 
good of the community, so laws against the 
spread of disease and its prevention are made, 
not for any particular school of practitioners 
but for the benefit of society. 

If there existed an infallible school for the 
diagnosis and cure of disease there would then 
be a law forbidding any one to practice unlesa 



THE NEW THOUGHT 75 

a graduate of that school. But there is none 
such. Nay, more, seeing that irregulars of 
various schools have accomplished results of 
unquestioned benefit to sufferers, every true 
American wiU oppose anything that stLs in 
the way of peopleVhoosing Jj form of prac^ 
tice they wish, provided society be not 
jeopardized. 

It remains to make mention of one other 
criticism. Wherever the New Thought is of- 
fered as a short cut or royal road to good 
health — and it has often been so offered and 
adopted for that reason — it exhibits the same 
deplorable American tendency that we witness 
in other matters of intense human interest. 
We see it in those typical " Wallingfords " 
who went to Alaska with a passion to " get rich 
quicf We see it in those Christian Scien- 
tists who joined the followers of Mrs. Eddy 
because, as they said, they believed they could 
" get health quick." We see it in those persons 
who entered the ranks of the Socialist party 
in the pious belief that society would "get 
social health quick" by the adoption of So- 
cialism. Similarly there are people who have 
espoused the New Thought with a correspond- 
ing expectation, seeing in it a short-cut to their 






76 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

supreme desideratum. Riding recently on the 
Kutlaud railroad my eye was attracted by a 
signboard bearing this inscription, " Go slow 
round this curve." It has a pertinent appli- 
cation to the point we are here considering. 
There are dangerous curves on the track of 
social and therapeutic progress and it behooves 
the redeeming or healing engineer to run his 
reform locomotive with prudence and caution. 
You see the sufferings and deprivations of the 
poor and oppressed and your pity and sympa- 
thy are so stirred that you refuse to wait for 
a remedy or to accept one that operates slowly. 
And this, in truth, is the origin of all Utopias 
— the notion that " what ought to be can be 
realized quickly and with a minimum of effort 
and pain." But the real remedies never work 
that way. On the contrary, the more deep- 
seated the evil to be cured, the slower and more 
detailed the process of reform. And this is 
every whit as true of physical and spiritual dis- 
eases with which the New Thought deals. 
Consequently one should beware of fooling 
oneself with a false idealism by seizing upon a 
scheme or system that promises inmiediate or 
early relief when perchance the malady to be 
<5ured is one requiring patient, systematic and 



THE NEW THOUGHT 77 

even a measure of experimental treatment. 
Grennine idealism always goes slowly^ fear- 
lessly facing even the darkest facts and search- 
ing (mt causes ynih tireless patience and with 
deathless hope. 

Incidentally it may be remarked that the 
death-rate as a whole has not decreased since 
the New Thought and Christian Science came 
into the world. Moreover, in the types of dis- 
ease which it would seem must be peculiarly 
amenable to treatment by these two methods, 
the death-rate continues unchanged^ whereas 
in the case of such diseases as diphtheria, 
malaria, yellow fever and tetanus a remark- 
able reduction in the death-rate has been 
scored due to the sera and antitoxins which 
the New Thought and Christian Science ab- 
jure. 

Finally, it behooves us to note that since 
mind plays so large a part in the cure of dis- 
ease and a still larger part in the prevention 
of it ; and since there are cases that clearly fail 
to respond to mental treatment in any one of 
its varying forms, the two systems — medical 
science and New Thought — should not be 
regarded as mutually exclusive and antagon- 
istic, but rather as complementary and inter- 



78 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

dependent And the bond between them is 
certain to grow stronger as the representatives 
of each system grow in mutnal understanding 
and appreciation of the service which each is 
empowered to render mankinds 



ni 



8IB OUVBS IiODOE AND OBJBCTIVS SVIDEirOX 
von UFE AFTBK DSATH 

(With incidental reference to the views of Sir Wm. 
Barrett and Sir A. Conan Doyle.) 

We live at a time when more people are 
mourning their dead than in any other period 
of history. At such a time a book written by 
an eminent scientist and dealing with the ques- 
tion of man's survival of death is certain to 
make a wide and powerful appeal Indeed, 
it was the appalling amoimt of bereavement 
and grief entailed by the war that prompted 
the author to give publicity to his experiences 
and views. He believed that to read them 
would give, to many a doubting, sorrowing 
soul, the consolation of light and faith. So 
strong and so deep was his conviction on this 
point that he wrote in the Preface to his book : 

"The pain caused by exposing one's own 

sorrow and its alleviation to possible scoffers 

becomes almost negligible in view of the service 

7» 



80 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

which it is legitimate to hope may thus be 
rendered to mourners, if they can derive com- 
fort by learning that commimication across the . 
Gulf is possible." ^ 

And when we pass from this motive for pub- 
lishing the book to the reasons for its wide 
circulation (over 30,000 copies have already 
been sold), I think we shall have to ascribe it, 
first, to the fact that the war has stimulated, to 
an imprecedented degree, the passion for sur- 
vival, both national and individual. 

In the impressive words of Sir A. Conan 
Doyle : — " When the war came it brought 
earnestness into all our eouls and made us look 
more closely at our own beliefs and reassess 
their values. In the presence of an agonized 
world, hearing every day of the deaths of the 
flower of our race in the first promise of their 
unfulfilled youth, seeing around one the wives 
and mothers who had no clear conception 
whither their loved ones had gone, I seemed 
suddenly to see that this subject was really 
something tremendous, a call of hope and of 
guidance to the human race at the time of its 
deepest aflBiction." ^ Small wonder, then, that 

1 " Raymond, or Life and Death," p. viii. 

2 Metropolitan Magazine, January, I0I8, p. 10. 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 81 

Sir OKver's book has been so widely read* 
Moreover, in the wake of this passion for sur- 
vival, with its concomitant emotions, a certain 
depreciation of mentality has ensued. We 
see it exemplified in the succession of strange 
and illogical positions taken by Sir Conan in 
this article from which I have just quoted. 
Quite evidently has the war generated in him 
a singular tendency to easy acceptance of all 
manner of psychic phenomena. 

He accepts the " lowly manifestations " of 
the Fox sisters, unaware of the fact that in 
1888 one of them confessed the rappings were 
produced by the action of toe-joints and 
showed just how they wrought the phenome- 
non. He confesses himself compelled to be- 
lieve that the celebrated spiritualist, Daniel 
D. Home, passed out of one window across a 
space of 30 feet through another window, at a 
distance of YO feet from the ground, simply 
because three gentlemen of repute were pre- 
pared to take their oath on having seen the 
phenomenon. Of its possible explanation in 
terms of collective hallucination. Sir Conan 
says not a word. He accepts the affirmation 
(made by the medium reporting a message 
from '^the other side") that the departed 



-V. 



«2 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

Itave " spiritual bodies," but as to what these 
can possibly be or how such brain-less bodies 
can have an instrument for thinking or for 
transmitting thoughts, he says nothing. 

He regards the " messages " from the Eev. 
Stainton Moses as evidence of his survival of 
death, albeit that many of them fall painfully 
below what was known of his intellectual abil- 
ity while on earth. Sir Conan boldly affirms 
that the group-photograph, referred to at one 
of Sir Oliver's ^^ sittings," " corresponds ex- 
actly to Raymond's description of it," whereas 
(as we shall see) several points of discrepancy 
are to be noted. 

He accepts mediumistic accoimts of condi- 
tions in the spirit-world which compel the 
conclusion that only Christians constitute the 
population of heaven. What would the 
Buddha and Zoroaster, Confucius and Moham- 
med say of the statement that " the Christ rules 
there, high above all other spirits " ? 

Because of mental intercommunication be- 
tween persons separated by three thousand 
miles Sir Conan concludes that "mind is a 
thing separate from the body." 

This depreciation of mentality, following 
upon the new passion for survival, is seen again 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 88 

in the readiness and avidity with which 
mediiimistic utterances are accepted even by 
trained observers at their face value. And so, 
as a further consequence it has come to pass 
that money-making mediums and clairvoyants, 
taking advantage of this "break" in the 
mental market, are exploiting speculators in 
spiritistic phenomena. 

But there is a further explanation to be 
noted for the great popularity of this book. 
It is that we have here the work of a man 
who holds a very high place in the scientific 
world, and because he has spoken with autbor- 
ily on physics, people assume he must be 
equally authoritative on psychics — a field 
•widely remote from that in which his reputa- 
tion has been acquired. So in the seven- 
teenth century it was assumed that Sir Isaac 
INTewton must speak with authority on light 
because of his proved scientific ability as dis- 
coverer of the law of gravitation. And pre- 
cisely as people then turned to Sir Isaac for 
knowledge on light, so to-day thousands have 
hailed Raymond with loud acclaim. 

"Raymond, or Life and Death," is a sin- 
gularly self -revealing book. It shows us the 
author's masterful grasp on matters pertain- 



84 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

ing to physical science. It shows us also the 
simplicity, the purity, the guilelessness of his 
nature: a man whose graces of character are 
no less exceptional than his intellectual attain- 
ments. The book lays bare his overwhelming 
sorrow at the loss of his son and his eagerness 
for any evidence that might indicate the boy's 
survival of death, and the possibility of enter- 
ing into communication with him. Very im- 
pressive is the revelation, between the lines, 
of the noble candor and detachment of Sir 
Oliver in his attitude toward the alleged com- 
munications, maintaining throughout a won- - 
derfully calm, objective and intellectually 
honorable relation to the evidence. A sitter 
less honorable than he would have suppressed 
the absurd and revolting data which form part 
of the conununicated messages, but Sir Oliver 
frankly confesses " a good deal of this struck 
me as nonsense, but I kept on recording what 
was said." His feeling was that the total body 
of evidence should be reported and nothing 
suppressed — an act indicative of his cour- 
age, candor and intellectual integrity. And, 
as the evidence increased in quantity and im- 
proved (for Sir Oliver) in quality, we see it 
mitigating the man's sorrow, so that in place 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 85 

of ''the spirit of heaviness he puts on the 
gannent of praise." 

Not indeed that Sir Oliver had hitherto been 
a disbeliever in a future life and needed these 
external evidences to create in him faith. 
Nay^ he makes it most explicit in this book 
that he was always a believer, in personal 
inunortality, so that if every particle of spirit- 
istic evidence in support of it were to be dis- 
proved he would still hold to his faith. In 
other words, Sir diverts faith is not depend- 
ent upon this evidence, but the evidence con- 
firmed and strengthened his faith. And what 
is more, he holds that such evidence for the 
persistence of personality and spirit-inter- 
course is amenable to verification by the 
niethod of science, no less than physical phe- 
nomena. Indeed, he goes so far as to say 
that he would have absolutely not one whit of 
interest in psychic phenomena were they not 
verifiable by the scientific method. Permit 
me to quote one sentence from his presidential 
address before the British Association for the 
Advancement of Science : 

"I am one of those who think that the 
methods of science are not so limited in their 
scope as has been thought, that they can be ap- 



86 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OP TO-DAY 

plied much more widely, and that the psychic 
region can be studied and brought under law 
also. We wish now to make the attempt. 
Give us a fair trial, a fair field. Let those 
who prefer the materialistic hypothesis by all 
means develop their thesis as far as they can. 
But let us try what we can do in the psychical 
region, and see which wins." 

The book is divided into three parts. The 
first is chiefly biographicaL It tells us that 
Raymond Lodge, the youngest son of Sir 
Oliver and Lady Lodge, volunteered for serv- 
ice in the British army, in September, 1914; 
that in the following spring he was in the 
trenches near Ypres, and that on the eighth 
of September, 1915, he was fatally wounded 
by a fragment of a German shell in the at- 
tack on Hooge Hill. These biographical de- 
tails are followed by a number of letters, 
written home from the front. No one, I 
think, can read these letters without recogniz- 
ing the fine, brave, noble, heroic character of 
this lamented young man. 

The third part of Sir Oliver's book is by 
far the most interesting and satisfying. It 
deals with religio-philosophical problems and 
presents in successive chapters carefully 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 87 

worked out definitions of life, death, mind^ 
matter, consciousness. Its greatest value, 
however, lies in its vindication of a non-ma- 
terialistic interpretation of the cosmos. Sir 
Oliver repudiates, and on scientific grounds, 
the notion that it is possible adequately to 
interpret the world in terms of motion and 
matter alone. 

But our immediate concern is with the sec- 
ond part of the book. It deals with the evi- 
dence adduced by Sir Oliver and by mem- 
bers of his family in support of the belief that 
Raymond survived death and communicated 
with his immediate relatives. Here in this 
second part we have some 160 pages devoted 
to reports of " sittings " with accredited pro- 
fessional mediums who served as channels of 
communication between Raymond and mem- 
bers of the Lodge family. 

It would be a very serious mistake to sup- 
pose that because this is Sir Oliver's latest 
work it therefore contains stronger evidences 
than are found in his earlier writings. On 
the contrary. Sir Oliver himself admits that 
much stronger evidence in support of human 
survival of death can be found elsewhere.* 

> See Sir William F. Barrett's '* On the Threshold of 



88 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

"But," he adds, "this is a case that came 
very closely home to me, and therefor^ it was 
very carefully and closely observed." 

In closing his introduction to this second 
part of the work, he said : 

" I myself considered the case of survival 
practically proven before, and clinched by the 
efforts of Myers and others on the other side. 
But evidence is cumulative, and the discussion 
of a fresh case in no wise weakens those that 
'have gone before. Each stick of the faggot 
must be tested, and unless absolutely broken 
it adds to the strength of the bundle. To 
base so momentous a conclusion as a scientific 
demonstration of human survival on a single 
instance would doubtless be unwise. But we 
are justified in examining the evidence in any 
case of which all the details are known, and 
in trying to set forth the truth of it as com- 
pletely and fairly as we may." * 

There are, according to Sir Oliver, three 
propositions established by what his book sets 
forth. First, they who have died continue 
to live. Second, they who have died continue 

the Unseen ** for an impressive cumulative array of 
evidential experiences in support of this hypothesis. '* 
*P. 85. 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 89 

to be interested in the affairs of survivors. 
Third, they who have died are willing and, 
under certain conditions, able to communicate 
with survivors. Now all three of these propo- 
sitions are based on experiences for which. Sir 
Oliver contends, there is only one adequate ex- 
planation, viz., the spiritistic. Reverting to 
these experiences in the third part of the book, 
he wrote: 

" Every kind of alternative explanation has 
been tried, including telepathy. If they had 
succeeded, well and good. But inasmuch as 
in my judgment there are phenomena which 
they cannot explain; and inasmuch as some 
form of spiritistic hypothesis explains prac- 
tically all, I have found myself driven back 
to what I may call the commonsense explana- 
tion." 5 

And by the " common sense explanation " 
he means the spiritistic explanation. 

Turning now to the evidence in support of 
these three propositions, we have to note that 
Sir Oliver attaches particular importance to 
five sittings, of which he says that they have 
exceptional evidential value, since they are 
quite free from unverifiable matter. Conse- 

«P. 369. 



90 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

quently, the disinterested and conscientious 
student of Sir Oliver's evidence will fix his 
attention with special care upon these five sit- 
tings. 

The first of these sittings occurred at the 
summer home of Mrs. Leonora Piper. Of 
her it may be said that she is the most re- 
nowned of all living mediums and that she 
won the respect and approbation of all the 
leading representatives of the Society for 
Psychical Research because of her honest, earn- 
est desire to help them in their research work, 
because of her entire freedom from decepticm, 
having successfully met every test to which it 
was put, and again, because of the high de- 
gree of accuracy in her trance-utterances. 

On the 8th of September, 1915, six days 
before Raymond was killed, a Miss Robbins 
visited Mrs. Piper and at their sitting the 
latter announced that Frederick Myers had 
a message to deliver to Sir Oliver Lodge — 
the same Myers, indeed, who has enriched 
our literature with " Essays '' that are models 
of English style and whose supreme contribu- 
tion to psychical research is the noble octavo 
volume on " Human Personality and Survival 
of Death." Myers' message was as follows: 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 91 



€i 



You, Lodge, take the part of the poet, and I 
will act as Faunus." In this cryptic utter- 
ance Sir Oliver saw a reference to one of the 
Odes of Horace in which that poet describes 
how he was saved from being killed by a fall- 
ing tree through the intervention of a Faun — 
one of the rural deities of the ancient Homan 
religion. 

Now, the natural application of this mes- 
sage would seem to be: Disaster threatens 
you, Lodge, but I, Myers, will save you from 
it. Certainly the message does not suggest 
that Eaymond is going to be killed. Had he 
been exposed to some grave danger, and es- 
caped it, or had he been wounded and recov- 
ered, there would then be some measure of 
agreement between the facts and the message. 
But the very most the message can mean, no 
matter to whom the calamity be referred, is 
escape from death through the intervention 
of some unseen power. Yet, in the light of 
what actually happened on September 14th, 
Sir Oliver sees a reference to Raymond's death 
in Myers' use of the Horatian ode. Yes, this 
is the meaning Sir Oliver gives it, in the light 
of what actually happened on September 8th. 
According to him, Myers meant: Your son 



92 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

is going to be killed, but I, Myers, will lighten 
the blow for you, Lodge, by taking care of 
him, and endeavoring to put you in touch with 
him. But even if we grant this rather strained 
interpretation of the cryptic message, we are 
forced to ask, if Myers meant to notify Sip 
Oliver that Raymond would be killed, why 
this elusive and far-fetched way of expressing 
it, causing Sir Oliver to consult persons suffi- 
ciently familiar with the classics to interpret 
the allusion for him? Like the Delphic 
oracle, the message is made to admit of various 
interpretations and to suit different situations. 
If Myers could remember an ode of Horace 
and get the difficult name " Faunus ^' across, 
why could he not simply say: Your son is 
going to be killed, but I will take care of him ? 
Mediums insist that the dead have great diffi- 
culty in making their meaning clear. But 
in that case why should it be easier for Myers 
to recall an Ode of Horace and refer to it 
cryptically, than for him to say simply: Tour 
son Raymond is going to be killed, but I will 
protect him? It is worth noting, en passant, 
that if this be in truth a communication from 
Myers it proves prevision as a power possessed 
by the dead in addition to their having knowl- 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 93 

edge of the past and of the present For, in 
that case, Myers was able to foresee, on Sep- 
tember 8th, the precise position of Raymond 
on September 14th and that a fragment of a 
German shell would kill him on that day. Sir 
Oliver recognized the difficulty involved in 
attributing foreknowledge to the dead, say- 
ing, " I do not understand how anticipation 
of the future is possible; I do not dogmatize; 
I try to keep an open mind ; " adding, how- 
ever, that " prognostication can hardly be part 
of the evidence for survival." ® 

The second case cited by Sir Oliver as hav- 
ing "evidential value" concerns the results 
of two sittings at which Raymond is said to 
have mentioned and described a group photo- 
graph, the existence of which no member of 
the Lodge family had any knowledge whatso- 
ever, but which Sir Oliver says "was later 
verified in a satisfactory and complete man- 
ner." Two weeks after Raymond was killed 
a medium named Peters, at a sitting with Lady 
Lodge, said: 

"You have several portraits of this boy; 
before he went away you had got a good por^ 
trait of him, two, no, three; two where he is 

« Pp. 314-316. 



94 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

alone, and one where he is in a group of other 
men.'* 

Sir Oliver, commenting upon this, says: 
" We had single photographs of him, of course, 
and in uniform, but we did not know of the 
existence of a photograph in whidi he was 
one of a group/' ^ 

On November 29th there came a letter to 
Lady Lodge from a Mrs. Cheves saying that 
she had a photograph of a group of officers in 
which her own son and Kaymond appeared; 
would she, Lady Lodge, like a copy { A grate- 
ful reply was written Mrs. Cheves, but before 
the photograph arrived, Sir Oliver, on Decem- 
ber 3rd, had a sitting with another remarkable 
medium, a Mrs. Leonard, and he took occasion 
at this sitting to ask Baymond several ques- 
tions concerning the photograph, receiving 
through this medium the answers as delivered 
to her from "Feda,'' Raymond's "control." 
For, in the process of spirit-intercourse, a 
double medium of communication is involved. 
Besides (a) the communicator or sender of 
messages, on the other side, and (b) the sitter 
on ours, who receives them, and (c) the 
medium, whose normal consciousness is in abey- 

7 p. 106. 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 96 

ance but whose physiological mechanism is 
used as a chamiel for transmission of the mes- 
sage, there is also (d) the control, a person 
on "the other side'' akin to the medium on 
ours, whose function it is to receive the orig- 
inal message and transmit it to the medium 
who is temporarily used for the purpose of 
takings in a trance-state, the sender's message. 

Among the questions Sir Oliver asked were 
the following: 

Q. "Do you recollect the photograph at 
all ? " A, " He thinks there were others 
taken with him, not one or two, but several/' 
Yet the photograph contains twenty-one offi- 
cers in alL 

Q. "Does he remember how he looked in 
the photograph?" A. "No, he does not re- 
member how he looked." But how, we ask, 
could he help remembering? seeing that this 
photograph was taken only twenty days be- 
fore his death, and when we note, moreover, 
that in his diary, Raymond had made a memo- 
randum of this photograph, and in all prob- 
ability had seen a proof of it, as is customary. 

Q. "Were they soldiers?" A. "Yes, a 
mix6d lot. Somebody called C — was in it 
with him, and somebody called R — , K — ^ 



96 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

K — , K — , he says something about K — J^ 
But not a single one in that group of 21 officers 
had a name beginning with " K." 

Q. " Did he have a stick ? " A. " He does 
not remember that'' Strange, when every- 
one of the group had a stick as well as himself. 
A, (continued) "He remembers that some- 
body wanted to lean on him, but is not sure 
whether he was taken with some one leaning 
on him," When we examine the photograph 
all that we see is the officer behind Kaymond 
resting his forearm li^tly on Baymond's 
shoulder. But when we look at the next offi- 
cer, we observe that his hand also rests lightly 
on the shoulder of the officer sitting next to 
Eaymond — a very common position, as many 
other such group photographs show. 

Q. "Was it out of doors?" A. "Yes, 
practically." 

Q. " What do you mean ? ^ Yes, prac- 
tically ' must mean out of doors or not out of 
doors. You mean yes, don't you ? " A. 
"Feda says he means yes, because he says 
^ practically.' It might have been a shelter. 
It looks like a black background with lines at 
the back of them." It is generally known 
that photographs of officers are, as a rule, taken 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 97 

out of doors, and against or near a building. 
But the remarkable thing is that Raymond, 
with his back to the building, should have been 
so impressed by these vertical lines. 

In the light of these facts concerning the 
photograph and in the light of the answers 
given to six of Sir Oliver's questions, it is 
surely difficult to see wherein the " exceptional 
value " he ascribed to the sitting consists. 

Why cannot Raymond give the name of a 
single friend in that group ? He is asked for 
it in vain. Yet just one name would have had 
some degree of evidential value. We are told 
that the memory of the dead is imperfect. 
But while Myers can remember an Ode of 
Horace as well as the difficult name " Faunus,'' 
Raymond cannot remember the name of a 
single soldier, although he has been separated 
from them only 20 days. 

I pass over the third and fourth of these 
sittings, because their " evidential value " ap- 
pears to be on a par with that of the first and 
second. The same vague, elusive, halting 
character of Raymond's answers to questions 
impresses us here anew and with cumulative 
force. Indeed, one gets the impression as one 
reads that the medium is guessing at the an-- 



98 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

swers to Sir Oliver's questions. And I bid 
jou note that this hypothesis is not (in the 
present state of our ignorance on the subject) 
to be considered as illegitimate. When more 
is known of the mental operations of mediums 
in delivering trance-utterances, we shall be in 
a better position to judge the worth of this 
hypothesis. 

Coming to the fifth in the series of "evi- 
dential sittings '* readers of the book will re- 
member the reference to a peacock that 
the Lodges had in their garden, and which 
they facetiously styled "Mr. Jackson." Sir 
Oliver is once more at a sitting with Mrs. 
Leonard and in the course of his customary 
questioning he asked concerning this pea- 
cock.* 

Q. "Do you remember a bird in our gar- 
den ? " A. " Yes, hopping about ? " 

Q. "No, Feda, a big bird." A. "Of 
course not sparrows, he says. Yes, he does." 

Q. Feda (sotto voce) : " Did he hop, Ya- 
mond ? " A. " No, he says he would not call 
it a hop." 

8 Here again, as in the previous sitting, Mrs. Leon- 
ard's child-control, the illiterate Feda, is supposed to 
be speaking for Raymond, through the medium, Mrs, 
Leonard. 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 99 

Q. "Well, we will go to something elae 
now ; ask him if he remembers Mr. Jackson." 

Note the cleverness of Sir Oliver in thus 
attempting to put Eaymond off the track and 
thereby test the genuineness of the communi- 
cation. 

A. " Yes ; going away, going away, he says. 
He used to come to the door; he used to see 
him every day, he says, every day.'* 

Feda (sotto voce) : " What did he do, Ya- 
inond ? '' " He says nothing. He's thinking. 
It's Feda's fault, he says." 

Q. "Well, never mind. Report anything 
he says, whether it makes sense or not." A. 
" He says he fell down. He hurt himself — 
pain in arms and hands ! " 

Q. " Was he a friend of the family? " A. 
"No, not a friend of the family, scarcely a 
day passed without his name being men- 
tioned. . . ." ("Feda feels sure he's jok- 
ing — he's making fun of Feda.") 

Q. "No, tell me all he says." A. "He 
says put hin^ on a pedestal ; no, that they put 
him on a pedestaL He was considered very 
wonderful and he 'specs he wouldn't have ap- 
preciated it if he had known, but he didn't 
know, he says. It sounds nonsense what he 



839757 



100 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

sajs. Feda has an impression he's mixing 
him up with the bird." 

Sir Oliver tells us that the bird's legs had 
been rheumatic, that he had of late tumbled on 
them and finally died the week before the sit- 
ing. 

The dead bird had been stuffed and put on 
a pedestaL When later in this sitting Ray- 
mond seems to have an inkling of these facts. 
Sir Oliver, with splendid restraint, imflag- 
gingly skeptical (fearing the possibility of a 
too sanguine acceptance of the spiritistic 
hypothesis), admitted that " these details 
might have been received by the medium from 
him through telepathy." • The same rigor- 
ously challenging attitude appeared at a later 
sitting when the medium reported that on 
" the other side " cigars and whisky and soda 
were to be had, and that the effect of these 
stimulants soon palled. Of this declaration 
Sir Oliver said that " little value was to be 
attached to it" and that it "might have 
emanated from the mind of the medium di- 
rect" 

Yet what logical warrant can there be for 
thus differentiating messages from the sender 

» P. 268. 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 101 

and spontaneous utterances of the medium? 
And how, if telepathy entered into it, can " the 
episode of Mr. Jackson and the bird ^' }ye con- 
sidered " a good one," as Sir Oliver maintains, 
or how shall it be classed with incidents hav- 
ing " evidential value " ? 

Estimating the significance of these sittings 
and the ground of his acceptance of what they 
have revealed. Sir Oliver says : 

" The hypothesis of continued existence in 
another set of conditions, and of possible com- 
mimication across the boundary, is not an 
egregious one made for the sake of comfort 
and consolation, or because of dislike to the 
idea of extinction. It is a hypothesis which 
has been gradually forced upon the author, 
as upon many other persons, by the stringent 
coercion of definite experience. The evidence 
is cumulative and has broken the back of all 
legitimate and reasonable criticism." ^® 

But, with all due respect to this frank and 
confident assertion, there are those of us who, 
after a candid and impartial study of the evi- 
dence, find that their skepticism has not been 
reduced, much less removed. 

Just here let me meet the suggestion that 

10 p. 288. 



102 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

"temperament'* determines one's relation to 
objective evidence for belief in human survival 
and spirit-intercourse. Perhaps, after all, it 
is temperament — that physiological condi- 
tion by which the thought, feeling and action 
of people is permanently affected — which 
largely decides our leaning, with Podmore and 
William James, to the side of skepticismi, or 
with Lodge and Hyslop to that of belief. Just 
as they who have had experience of a happy 
married life are very likely to disapprove of 
divorce, so they who have their dear ones still 
about them and who perhaps have never had 
the unassuageable heart-ache of an irreparable 
loss will take their stand with the skeptical 
representatives of the Society for Psychical 
Research. On the other hand, they whose 
hearts are hungering for the renewal of sacred 
ties with those whom they have "loved long 
since and lost awhile '' will wait, as did Sir 
Oliver and his fellow-believers, for " the touch 
of a vanished hand and the sound of a voice 
that is still." 

Happily, however, for us all, we can ac- 
quire assurance of the reality of the immiortal 
life without resorting to Ouija-boards or to 
mediumistic seances. The fact is that our one 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 103 

ultimate ground for faith in the persistence of 
our essential selfhood is, as we shall see in 
Part IV, subjective and ethical, rather than 
objective and experimental. 

If, as it appears, the evidence at these five 
sittings proved satisfactory and conclusive to 
Sir Oliver, we do well to remember that during 
these sittings he was suffering from a deep 
personal sorrow, and therefore would scarcely 
be qualified for thorough-going scientific inves- 
tigation of mediumistic utterances. Under 
the stress and strain of such a deepening grief 
— the days heavy with the dull sense of an ir- 
reparable loss — his critical acumen would of 
necessity be somewhat blunted ; nay more, he 
might well feel that it would be a kind of irre^ 
verence to doubt the genuineness of statements 
purporting to come from a dearly beloved son. 

Reviewing the evidence with all the im- 
partiality and candor of which I am capable, 
I confess that it appears nebulous, elusive, 
halting, confused. On all crucial points, the 
medium, through whom Raymond is said to 
be speaking, is painfully brief, while on all 
matters of no particular consequence the med- 
ium is usually garrulous. And this criticism 
applies not only to the evidence offered in this 



104 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

latest book, but also to that adduced by Sir 
Oliver in earlier writings.^^ Here, as else- 
where, he exhibits the error of inferring from 
the mere conceivability of a disembodied spirit 
existing, the probable existence of it But, to 
argue thus is to interpret the phenomenon 
ahead of the evidence, because, as yet, there is 
no evidence to show that spirits can exist in- 
dependently of a body. Nor again is there 
evidence of communication, because, as yet, it 
is wholly unintelligible to us how a discamate 
intelligence can influence another personality 
here on earth, how the disembodied Raymond 
can confer with his " control " (Feda) and 
she, in turn, " set into operation a physical 
organism (the medium) lent for the occa- 
sion " ^^ that a message may be received by 
the sitter. True, belief in disembodied spir- 
its is not inconceivable, but that gives no 
warrant for believing they probably exist. It 
does not follow that because a proposition can- 
"T not be disproved, it may be accepted as prob- 
ably true.^** That intelligence, or the inter- 

11 See Addington Bruce, ** Adventures in the Psychi- 
cal," pp. 108 sq. 

12 P. 358. 

18 This unwarranted inference appears again in Sir 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 106 

commTinication of human beings exists any- 
where else than on this earth requires evidence. 
It will not do to say that because intelligence 
and intercommunication are conceivable as ex- 
isting elsewhere, they probably do. 

Again and again throughout the volume, 
more especially in the second part, one is 
forced to question the propriety of Sir Oliver's 
practice (for which he has a strange predilec- 
tion) of regarding as " facts " what on care- 
ful observation prove to be only particular 
impressions made upon him by facts. Thus, 
for example, he cites, with unqualified appro- 
bation, the remark of Mrs. Sidgwick that the 
hand of the medium (Mrs. Piper) while en- 
gaged in automatic writing " seemed tremen- 
dously pleased " and " gave the impression of 
one dancing with delight at having achieved 
something." Here the " facts '' were that the 
hand moved, waved, thumped ; all else is sheer 
interpretation of what the hand did ; it is not 
fact at all. A similar confusion of fact and 
interpretation appears in Sir Oliver's ascrip- 
tion of the personal pronoun to an inanimate 
object, such as a table or chair. Well enough 

A. Gonan Doyle's contribution to the January (19 18) 
number of the Metropolitan Udgaaime, 



106 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

for Sir Oliver to pity prejudiced people for 
their lack of the scientific spirit, but it is 
scarcely scientific to personify a table or to 
make what is mere interpretation of a fact 
appear as itself fact How can a hand 
"turn itself to the sitter when it wishes to 
be addressed by him/' or "turn away if 
distracted by some other communication '^ 
or "turn itself for further {information 
to a part of the room in which no one ap- 
pears '' ? ^* 

Sir Oliver maintains that " communications 
must necessarily be faulty because our minds 
are still hampered by their connection with 
our bodies," an assumption which reappears in 
Sir William Barrett's book. " Since the ex- 
ercise of our mental faculties is apparently hin- 
dered by our bodily organism we may infer 
that when we are freed from ^ this muddy 
vesture of decay ' these faculties will no longer 
be trammeled as they are now." ^^ But what 
warrant is there for such an assumption? 
What justifiable ground can there be for re- 
garding the mind as " trammeled " by its con- 

^^8ee the Hihhert Journal, April, 1917, pp. 161 foil, 
for a fuller exposition of this point by Charles Mercier. 

IS Sir William F. Barrett, *' On the Threshold of the 
Unseen," p. 283. 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 107 

nection with the body since we have no ex- 
perience whatever of mind apart from body? 
For aught we know our minds might not be 
able to operate at all dissociated from the body. 
Of course, we dare not say they cannot so op- 
erate, but the proof of any hampering of the 
mind because of its connection with the body 
rests with Sir Oliver and Sir William, who 
have ventured the assumption of such a hin- 
drance. 

To excuse the defects of obscurity, discon- 
tinuity, incoherence and incompleteness that 
mark so many of the alleged " messages," on 
the ground of " amnesia " — the transition to 
"the other side," causing forgetfulness — 
would involve a surrender of the sole remain- 
ing means for identifying the deceased. Now 
that bodily continuity has been destroyed, how, 
with loss of memory, shall identity be estab- 
lished? Certainly the appeal to his "moral 
characteristics " will not serve as a means of 
identification any more than it would serve 
the bank-clerk had he nothing but these to go 
by when about to cash a cheque. A million 
men might easily be taken for Raymond Lodge 
were moral characteristics the sole source of 
identification. 



108 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

If we agree with Mrs. Henry Sidgwick ^* 
that the trance-state of the medium is ^^ a self- 
induced hypnosis in whidi her hypnotic self 
personates different characters unconsciously 
(or subconsciously), believing herself to be the 
person she represents," then indeed have we an 
explanation for all those cases of false state- 
ments, errors of sundry sorts, the fanciful per- 
sonation of great historic characters (e.g., 
Moses, Sir Walter Scott), and again, the per- 
sonations of people who never existed at all, 
e.g., Bessie Beals, the alleged niece of Presi- 
dent Hall of Clark University, who asked the 
entranced Mrs. Piper if she could " communi- 
cate." And she forthwith did, giving various 
messages at several sittings ! ^'' 

Another assumption not to be overlooked, 
is that life on " the other side " is " finer," 
*^ higher," than on ours. Do the communica- 
tions recorded in this book warrant that as- 
sumption? On the contrary, they incline us 
to believe the very opposite. Mark you, it is 
not the alleged allusions made by the deceased 
to trifling objects and incidents that are here 
criticized. For, the recalling of these might 

i« 8e€ Proceedings S. P. R. Dec., 1916. 
^f See Sir Wm. Barrett, op. cit., p. 1S6. 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 109 

well serve to convince intimate friends that 
just one person and no other must be the source 
from which the message comes. To refer to 
a brown-handled penknife, or a blue-bordered 
handkerchief, or a pair of silk socks, might 
well be deemed, because of associations, the 
surest sign that the memory of the deceased 
had not weakened, nor love lessened because of 
transition to another environment. 

But, wholly apart from these, no unpreju- 
diced reader can fail to feel, after reading 
what Raymond is reported to have said at the 
various sittings, that his many incoherent, halt- 
ing, confused utterances show a deplorable de- 
terioration of personality as compared with 
what his parents said of him at the beginning 
of the book. And the self-same sort of dis- 
crepancy appears also in the reported utter- 
ances of other departed spirits. Recall, for 
instance, those of F. W. H. Myers, who dur- 
ing his terrestrial life took rank among lead- 
ing men of letters in his day. What a far 
cry from the English of his two noble volumes 
of " Essays, Classical and Modem," to the bad 
grammar, wretched rhetoric and vulgar col- 
loquialisms met with in communications said 
to have come from him ! To read them is to 



110 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OP TO-DAY 

feel depressed by the lamentable decline of 
power which his personality has suffered in the 
changed environment. Or^ consider the schol- 
arly Anglican priest^ Stainton Moses, and that 
philosophical writer, styled " G^eorge Pelham ^' 
in the literature of psychical research. Here 
were men of marked intellectual ability and of 
fine moral character, yet to read some of the 
utterances they are said to have delivered 
through accredited mediums is to marvel at 
Sir Oliver's assumption, nay, to reject it as 
painfully disproved by the content of the mes- 
sages. If human personality can thus de- 
teriorate, what is there in life on ^^the other 
side ^' that we should desire it ? 

Very significant it is that the mediums who 
served as channels of communication in the 
cases just referred to were, for the most part, 
imeducated, unrefined, illiterate. For, their 
ignorance and their crudenesses suggest the 
possibility that they, not the communicators, 
were the source of what was "transmitted.''" 
Indeed it is not unreasonable to surmise that 
all the sittings reported by Sir Oliver and 
others prove no more than unsuspected mental 
powers of the medium, his (or her) utterances 
nothing more than a product of subliminal 



SIR OUVER LODGE 111 

aotivity in the medium, or sitter, or in both. 

We know that the stomach is a laboratory 
in which there proceeds, unconsciously to us, 
the process of assimilation, converting the food 
we ate into the red blood that flows into this 
other laboratory of the brain and operating 
there, too, xmconsciously to us. And precisely 
as medical science taps the stomach and other 
organs below the line of our consciousness of 
their functioning, so, for aught we know, the 
brain may be tapped by powerful mediums, be- 
low the line of our consciousness of its pro- 
duction of thought and emotion. 

And this leads me to the remark that the 
next step in the progress of psychical research 
might well be the appointment, by the Society 
for Psychical Research, of a commission to in- 
stitute a fresh and thoroughgoing examination 
of such mediums as are mentioned in this book, 
together with the phenomena of mediumship. 
That commission should include in its per- 
sonnel a psychologist, a psycho-therapist, a bi- 
ologist, a business man and a lawyer — all five 
of them to be experts in their respective voca- 
tions, and the moral character of each to be as 
unquestioned as his vocational ability. And 
until some such commission shall have been 



112 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

appointed and its findings reported, the proper 
attitude for us of the laity should be one of 
suspended judgment If there be any one 
thing that 36 years of psychical research has 
brought home to us more than another, it is 
that we lay-people are no more competent to 
pronounce on the genuineness and origin of 
mediumistic utterances than we are to pro- 
nounce on the genuineness of a Syriac manu- 
script It is simply preposterous to suppose 
that we, untrained people, are capable of de- 
termining the merits of a seance. Very little 
weight is to be attached to the ordinary spec- 
tator's account of what has been seen, so easy 
is it to report inaccurately or to miss seeing 
what is most essential. What better proof 
of this than the accounts given of tricks per- 
formed by a professional conjurer? What 
man or woman is there who would dare to deny, 
on the basis of what had been seen, that the 
handkerchief was burnt, the watch smashed, or 
the hat destroyed! And the reason we dare 
not deny what we have seen is that our eyes 
were fixed on the left hand, upon which the 
conjurer concentrated our attention, while he 
did the trick with the right. It is simply 
silly to say that anybody with a good pair of 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 118. 

eyes and a good pair of ears is competent Uy 
judge of the genuineness of mediumistie phe- 
nomena. Even Sir Oliver himself was de- 
ceived — and more than once. So, too, were 
his confreres, Crookes and Hodgson, Wallace 
and Myers. Consequently it behooves us, who 
are untrained observers, to refrain from pass- 
ing judgment on baffling and perplexing psy- 
chic phenomena imtil the findings of the pro- 
posed commission warrant it. 

Finally, let me call attention to two dangers 
against which we must be constantly on our 
guard. First, the danger intimated by Sir 
Oliver in one of the sentences which served as 
an introduction to this address, the danger, 
namely, of venturing to affirm, in this par- 
tially explored universe, what is possible 
and what impossible. As Sir Oliver has* 
said: 

" Let us be as cautious and critical, aye, as 
skeptical as we like, but let us also be patient 
and persevering and fair. Let us not start, 
with a preconceived notion of what is possible 
and what is impossible in this almost unex- 
plored universe." 

Lavoisier, you remember, boldly affirmed 
that there were no stones in the sky, and there^ 



114 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OP TO-DAY 

fore none could fall to the earth. But the 
meteorites on the ground floor of onr Museum 
of Natural History are a standing rebuke to 
his lack of intellectual modesty. Similarly 
Dr. Lardner, the Irish physicist, was rash 
enough to predict that ocean steam-navigation 
would be forever impossible ; his treatise, how- 
ever, was published in time for the first trans- 
atlantic liner to export copies of it to the 
United States. Auguste Comte, the Positivist, 
committed himself to the prediction that man 
could never know the composition of the stars. 
But one day the spectroscope was invented 
and as a result we are as familiar with star 
dudt as with street dust. Still another scien- 
tist of distinction declared, with unreserved 
assurance, that long-distance intercommuni- 
cation with only Nature's elements as media 
of transmission must remain forever an idyllic 
dreauL Yet, only a little while ago naval 
oflScers in Washington talked, by wireless, with 
naval oflScers in Paris and so distinct were 
their voices as to be recognized by friends in 
the Hawaiian islands. 

In all probability coming generations will 
be disposed to attach great importance to the 
belief in a hereafter only as it shall be re- 



SIR OUVER LODGE 116 

enforced by evidential means. Special sig- 
nificance therefore attaches to careful exam- 
ination of whatever purports to be proof of 
human survival of death. 

True, nothii^ purportiBg to come from the 
dead has yet been accepted as genuine^ except 
by a very small minority of the human race. 
But who will dare to say that nothing can 
come worthy to receive adoption by the ma- 
jority of mankind? People have wanted to 
fly ever since the days of Dsedalus ; and though 
all the materials for flying were in existence, 
no one had put them together in an aeroplane 
till the age of the Wrights. Argon had been a 
constituent element of the atmosphere for un- 
told ffions but no one knew it till the time of 
Lord Baleigh. There are many things about 
us of which we are ignorant, but because they 
have not been discovered it will not do to say 
they never can be. Because nothing generally 
satisfying has yet come from alleged inter- 
course with deceased persons, we dare not say 
nothing ever will come. 

The second danger to be scrupulously averted 
is that of resorting too readily to supramun- 
dane causes for mysterious psychic phenom- 
ena. In this age of unprecedented progress in 



116 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OP TO-DAY 

science^ an age that has witnessed the discoveiy 
of " Neon," of the " discontinuity of matter/' 
and of the so-called " mentif erous ether'' 
(analogous to the luminif erous ether) we ought 
to beware of the easy and popular practice of 
ascribing otherwise inexplicable "manifesta- 
tions " and " messages " to the agency of de- 
parted spirits. 

Not until the realm of terrene agencies has 
been fully and thoroughly explored dare we 
fall back on super-terrestrial causes. Grant, 
with Myers, that there is an " irreducible mini- 
mum " of phenomena for which no satisfactory 
explanation can now be offered other than the 
spiritistic; grant that there are utterances of 
Mrs. Piper's that absolutely defy adequate ex- 
planation in terms of any cause familiar to us ; 
yet must we beware of ignoring that established 
canon of inyestigation which bids us refrain 
from falling back upon strange, unfamiliar, 
supramundane explanations until this darkest 
Africa of the human mind has been thoroughly 
explored. Recall, for a moment, the case re- 
. ported by Coleridge in his "Biographia Li- 
teraria." It has exceptional value as a 
permanent object-lesson for all those persons 
who too easily accept the spiritistic hypothesis 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 117 

when trying to account for some exceedingly 
abnormal phenomenon. When a finely edu- 
cated lady tells me she cannot see how any one 
can read Sir Oliver's evidence for immortality 
in " Raymond " and not believe in the reality 
of a hereafter I see in the remark (with all 
due respect to her attainments) a reflection 
on her power to sift evidence and weigh pre- 
mises from which plausible conclusions are 
easily inferred. I see, too, an attitude of 
mind toward the question at issue for which 
Coleridge's case is a corrective not to be forgot- 
ten. 'Tis the case of a young woman who 
could neither read nor write, yet, during a 
nervous-fever attack, talked Latin, Greek and 
Hebrew with strident voice and clear enun- 
ciation. Her utterances were recorded di- 
rectly as she spoke them and were found to 
consist of a series of sentences wholly intel- 
ligible as such, yet bearing no relation to one 
another. Physiologists and psychologists ex- 
amined the case with scrupulous care. No 
trace of fraud, collusion or trickery was any-< 
where to be found. None of her fellow-citi- 
zens in the town where she lived could throw 
any light upon her strange and sudden linguis- 
tic power. Naturally, hosts of people as- 



118 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

sumed that these classical utterances on the 
lips of an ignorant girl must have proceeded 
from some other person, living or dead, by 
means of telepathy, or some other unknown 
mode of communication. And if any one 
among the host of believers in this explanation 
of the case had been confronted by a skeptic 
and said to him, how otherwise could this sud- 
den acquisition of those languages be accounted 
for ? the skeptic would have had no alternative 
explanation to offer. The super-normal ex- 
planation would have been the only avail- 
able one and it would have been generally 
conceded that the facts bore out the explana- 
tion. 

But now it so happened that a doctor, deeply 
interested in the case, after prolonged, pains- 
taking investigation discovered that this girl 
at the age of nine had entered the service of 
an elderly clergyman and remained there till 
the time of his death. It had been his habit 
for years to walk up and down the hall, to the 
open kitchen door, reciting passages from fav- 
orite Greek, Latin and Hebrew authors. A 
careful survey of the clergyman's books 
brought to light a number of sentences iden- 
tical with those which the servant in fever- 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 119 

ravings had Uttered. Thus the origin of her 
strange ahility was no longer questioned. For, 
it is well known that the soHJalled sub-conscious 
mind records impressions and ideas, unknown 
to the receiver. And from just this case, the 
inference may be legitimately drawn regard- 
ing other such cases, that, were the facts known, 
they would warrant a similar explanation and 
consequently a dispensing with the spiritistic 
hypothesis. What a lesson is here for those 
who all too easily and quickly resort to supra- 
mundane explanations for phenomena that 
might be explained by known causes were all 
the facts in the case at our service ! Let it be 
ever remembered that lack of complete ex- 
planation is no warrant for accepting a con- 
jectural explanation. The only true infer- 
ence to be drawn from lack of explanation is 
lack of information. Nor again will it do to 
offer one mystery as explanation of another, 
e.g. telepathy, as an explanation of long-dis- 
tance comm'jnications without the aid of the 
ordinary channels of intercoui-se. For, tele- 
pathy is merely a synonym for thought-trans- 
ference, but as to how the thought is trans- 
ferred, we know as yet absolutely nothing. 
Telepathy expresses merely the idea of trans- 



120 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

mission without the use of the ordinary sen- 
sory channels of communication. Conse- 
quently the appeal to telepathy in accounting 
for psychic phenomena is just as much an ap- 
peal to the unknown as is the spiritistic hypoth- 
esis. To be sure, if there be such response 
between souls separated by great distance, it 
suggests (it does not prove), that if we can 
get on at times without the ordinary channels 
while still on earth, we may be able to dis- 
pense with them altogether. That a human 
mind should be able to reach down into the 
stored memories of some other mind, and from 
the mass select just the one pertinent to the 
given occasion, defies explanation in the pres- 
ent state of our knowledge. On the other 
hand, we are in duty bound to make use of 
what experience and testimony we have and 
apply it to cases that await explanation. 
Take, for example, the case of the celebrated 
Patience Worth of St. Louis who refuses to 
permit thorough-going, competent investiga- 
tion of her strange ability to write Elizabethan 
poetry and prose. We cannot, we dare not 
(if we be true to what facts we have established 
from study of other cases), conclude that her 
power is evidence of spirit-intercourse with a 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 121 

person of the Elizabethan era. All that the 
facts in her case prove is that in some now in- 
determinable way this woman uses idioms 
which in her customary mental state she is in- 
capable of producing. With entire confidence 
may we affirm (in the light of Coleridge's 
case already explained) that if all the facts in 
her case could be ascertained, the inexplicable 
faculty she possesses would be found to have a 
natural, terrestrial and contemporary source. 
The refusal to permit investigation of her case 
is based upon the fear that the power may 
forthwith vanish. But Mrs. Piper's power 
did not disappear despite the extremely severe 
tests to which its genuineness was subjected. 
No candid examination of strange powers can 
really affect them if they be in truth real. 
And even were her power to go, the loss would 
be more than made up by the knowledge that 
her gift is not supernatural. No genuinely 
scientific investigator in our day would think 
of attributing to spirit-agency the occurrence 
of a mysterious phenomenon which his formula 
had failed to explain, albeit that Newton and 
other celebrities in the scientific world had 
done so. When Kepler discovered that the 
planets move in an ellipse and not in a circle 



122 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 



\ 



ho was wholly at a loss to account for the 
strange phenomenon. Accordingly he con- 
cluded that some supernatural agency must be 
responsible for this strange and unintelligible 
planetary motion. Each of the planets he 
solemnly declared, is attended by an angel who 
personally conducts it on its elliptical tour. 
But one day the law of gravitation became 
more fully understood and it was found alto- 
gether adequate to explain the mysterious 
movement. And so the guiding angels were 
dismissed. Is it unreasonable to anticipate a 
possible corresponding dismissal of the good 
spirits that are now said to be the source of 
many a psychic phenomenon? The sciences 
of medicine and psychology have enabled us to 
dispose of evil spirits as the causers of disease 
and insanity. And this good riddance should 
be remembered when seeking explanation for 
those psychic phenomena that still await pos- 
sible elucidation in terms of psycho-physics, 
a science that has not yet emerged from its in- 
fancy. It may well be that with further prog- 
ress in psychical research some terrestrial ex- 
planation may be furnished that will be a,lto- 
gether satisfactory. It may be that with fuller 
investigation of (a) the medium's mind and 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 128 

(b) the mind of the sitter, of (c) thought- 
transference, of (d) subliminal activity, that 
the spiritistic hypothesis will prove superflu- 
ous. 

Sir Oliver reminds us that while " progress 
in knowledge began when supernatural causes 
were eliminated and treated as non-existent, 
yet unknown causes of an immaterial (or tran- 
sendental) character may exist nevertheless, 
and it is part of the business of science to dis- 
cover and begin to attend to them. The ef- 
fort may be ridiculed and resented, it may be 
ambitious, but it is perfectly legitimate and, 
if it fails, it fails," 

Meanwhile it behooves us not to ask con- 
temptuously : Can any good thing come out of 
this Nazareth of research ? Nor, again, should 
we, in the present state of our knowledge, ac- 
cept a theory, not in itself convincing, simply 
because it has no rival, or because none other 
is now available. So to do would be to make 
the theory an opiate for the uneasiness of sus- 
pended judgment. Nay more, so to do is to 
violate the ethics of the intellect which gives 
us po warrant for settling down on a theory 
simply because it gives us mental peace. Be- 
cause Sir Oliver has tried telepathy and all 



124 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

other available explanations in vain it does 
not give him the right to commit himself to 
the spiritistic hypothesis other than tentatively, 
awaiting further observation and experimenta- 
tion. 

Why this fretful anxiety to settle at once 
upon an explanation, rather than wait till re- 
search has been pushed beyond its present lim- 
its ? Strange as it may seem, even the realm of 
science is not free from men with a passion for 
settling upon an explanation rather than sus- 
pending judgment till all the evidence is in. 
Witness the case of Kepler, who felt in duty 
bound to give an immediate explanation of the 
elliptical movement of the planets, but felt no 
moral obligation to suspend explanation till 
known forces were more fully understood, one 
of which (gravitation) eventually accounted 
for the strange phenomenon. Why this crav- 
ing for finality? Why, in the present state 
of our knowledge, " prefer the completed circle 
to the suggestive parabola " ? 'Tis because of 
this preference that so' many people go over to 
such pseudo-sciences as astrology, palmistry 
and phrenology. The champions of each of 
these gather all the facts that support their 
theory, and calmly turn their backs on all 



SIR OLIVER LODGE 125 

other facta that would overthrow the theory. 
Better by far it is to keep the windows of 
our minds open toward the Jerusalem of truth, 
with no curtains of prejudice within and no 
shutters of finality without. 



IV 



MODERN MATERIALISM AND BESIRTH OF 
THE IMMORTAL HOPE 

The reader will recall in Part I, the reasons 
given for the rise of present-day psychic move- 
ments. Chief among these reasons was that 
of the disquieting effect produced by the 
philosophical materialism of Biichner and 
Moleschott as manifested in the middle of the 
last century. It was for the most part, as a 
reaction from the spiritually-blighting doo- 
trines propounded by these philosophers, that 
the psychic movements of our time arose. 
These thinkers held that " science had already 
pushed her investigations so far that the last 
vestige of a reasonable basis for belief in a 
hereafter had vanished." Whereupon there 
appeared Spiritualism, Psychical Research, 
Theosophy, Christian Science, the New 
Thought — each in its own way seeking to 
prove that the blow which materialism had 
struck at the most cherished of all beliefs was 
ot at all fatal as had been supposed. 

126 



MODERN MATERIALISM 127 

But, of late, the contention of materialism 
with regard to human survival of death has 
been urged afresh by representatives as re- 
nowned as their forerunners in the nineteenth 
century. 

It will therefore be worth our while, before 
leaving the subject, briefly to examine the 
character and claims of this later materialism 
with special reference to its doctrine of the 
sequel to death. For, we all endorse the apos- 
tle's precept, " prove all things, hold fast that 
which is good." Moreover, if we would rest 
securely and serenely in our faith we cannot 
do better than face squarely and dispassion- 
ately the claims of a system which, if true, 
would mean the destruction of that faith. 
Say what we will, the fact remains that faith 
is strong only as it puts doctrines to the proof. 
Fear and laziness can accept beliefs, it takes 
courage and consecration to question them. 
Doubt has been decried by clerics in every 
clime and in every age, yet it remains, as of 
old, an indispensable condition of human prog- 
ress. Doubt is the purgatory through which 
the thinker passes on his way to the heaven of 
truth. Doubt is the germ, out of which the 
creed of the future will be evolved, because the 



128 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

creeds of to-day express the satisfied doubts 
of past ages. Doubt has indeed a blessed min- 
istry to fulfill. We become aware of the essen- 
tial worth of our spiritual heritage only after 
we have yielded ourselves to that ministry. 
It was so with the illustrious English preacher, 
Frederick Robertson, when in the Austrian 
Tyrol he passed through doubt of God and 
Duty to a " provisional morality " and thence 
to a transfiguration of his inherited faith and 
ethics. It was so with Arthur Henry Hallam, 
as his dearest friend testified in the stirring 
cantos of " In Memoriam " : 

He fought with doubt and gathered strength^ 
He would not make his judgment blind. 
He faced the spectres of the mind 
And laid them ; thus he came at length 
To find a stronger faith his own. 

In the light of so inspiring an experience, 
known to many another seeker after truth, and 
with the hope of arriving at a like result, let 
us face that " spectre of the mind " — modern 
materialism — and see if it be true that ^* sci- 
ence has pushed her investigations so far that 
the last vestige of a reasonable basis for belief 
in immortality has vanished." 



MODERN MATERIALISM 129 

I fancy no thinkers are more avowedly 
averse to dogmatism, to fixing the limits be- 
yond which human knowledge cannot reach, 
than are the scientists. Yet they, no less than 
the theologians, have been often found guilty 
of it. 

Ernst Haeckel, the Nestor of modern ma- 
terialism, boldly affirmed that " all phenomena, 
from the most material to the most spiritual, 
can be accounted for in terms of motion and 
matter." Yet, there is not a single fact in 
the region of life, or mind, or consciousness, or 
emotion, or purpose, or will, that dynamics has 
actually explained.^ 

Sir E. Ray Lancaster, in a recent address 
before a society of physicists, said : " We can- 
not know, or ever hope to know, whence thia 
physical mechanism has come, or whither it 
goes; these are things that can never be ex- 
plained by science." But surely such ex- 
travagant generalizations " profane the mod- 
esty of science," which refrains from affirming 
what is possible and what is impossible in this 
progressive world. 

Sir Ernst Schaefer, the predecessor of Sir 
Oliver Lodge as president of the British As- 

ifiec Sir Oliver Lodge: "Raymond," pp. 286-7. 



180 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

sociation for tlie Advancement of Science, 
speaking for himself and for his fellow-ma- 
terialists, said they all were one in their com- 
mon denial of any purpose in the universe. 
But how can any sane person profess to know 
enough about the universe as a whole to in- 
dulge in such a denial ? And this same cham- 
pion of materialism further denied that there 
exists " any form of mental or spiritual entity 
that cannot be explained in terms of matter and 
motion." But even within the realm of phys- 
ics itself, as Sir Oliver has shown, there exist 
at least two such entities, light and electricity. 
And while heat, sound and the phenomena of 
gases and liquids have been reduced to matter 
and motion, there is a whole brood of non- 
physical phenomena never yet explained in 
these materialistic terms. 

Surely it is to be regretted that men of un- 
questioned scientific ability will entrench them- 
selves in such dogmatic denials and in their 
battle with the idealists imagine that this fort- 
ress of materialism is a sufficient protection 
against their volley of verified facts. 

Contrast this spirit with the humility, re- 
serve and modesty of Sir Isaac Newton who, 
ivhen he reflected on the vast realm of the 



MODERN MATERIALISM 181 

iinknown, compared himself to a little child 
playing on the shore of an infinite ocean and 
picking np here and there a pebble. 

Just here permit me to register my unquali- 
fied abhorrence of dogmatism in dealing with 
the question of the hereafter. Dogmatism de- 
notes something other than the wish to im- 
pose one's views on another. The essential 
idea involved in the term is affirmation with- 
out reason, assertion without evidence. A 
dogma is an undebatable proposition, one 
declared to be true on the basis of some 
authority regarded as too sacred to be ques- 
tioned. Thus, e. g., the dogmatist is one 
who holds that no question can be opened 
which the Bible has closed. As though any 
question could ever be closed so long as any 
one is competent to reopen it In the esti- 
mation of the dogmatist there are certain 
questions too sacred to be investigated — as 
though the sacredness of a belief did not de- 
pend (in part, at least) upon its verifica- 
tion. 

Nor again, am I a whit less strongly op- 
posed to sentimentalism than to dogmatism. 
I, for one, am utterly unwilling to satisfy my 
heart at the expense of my head, to sacrifice 



182 PSYCHIC TEXDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

reason for the sake of faith, albeit that I rec- 
ognize the place where knowledge fails and 
faith may rightly hold sway. If the temple 
of the immortal hope be not spacious enough 
to hold both my head and my heart, I will stay 
outside and wait for more satisfying evidence 
of what I devoutly hope is true. Dear as is 
the word immortality to me, there is one word 
dearer still — truth. Deep as is my desire 
for personal survival of death, my desire not 
to be deceived, not to be fooled, is deeper still. 
Surely the deepest passion of the soul must be 
to know the truth, whatever it may be, and 
then calmly, loyally to adjust oneself to it. 
The prayer of Ajax was for light; there can 
be no nobler prayer. 

K one can be said to hnow that he is im- 
mortal. When Emerson and Theodore Par- 
ker, Addison and Samuel Taylor Coleridge af- 
firmed that they knew they were immortal, the 
most they could possibly have meant was that 
they had a very strong assurance, a very power- 
ful intimation, of immortality. Whether or 
not we are immortal is a question as to whether 
or not we shall continue to live after the state 
called Death ; and since that cannot be decided 
or realized until it occurs, no one can say, in 



\ 



MODERN MATERIALISM 188 

advance, that he knows it. Before we can 
•claim knowledge concerning the hereafter we 
must be able to add to our reasoning experi- 
ence, because into every act of human knowl- 
edge there enter Both reason and experience; 
and of immortality no one can be said to have 
liad experience. True, the Spiritualists make 
that claim, but we have examined the groimds 
of their contention and see that they do not 
warrant the claim. 

Nor, again, can any one be said to Jcnow 
that annihilation is the sequel to death. When 
a materialist makes that claim the most he 
can possibly mean is that he has a deep in- 
timation of, a strong feeling or a predilection 
for, this negative conclusion. And such pre- 
dilection is often the parent of his argument, 
as Sir Oliver Lodge has shown. But, as long 
as forty years ago Tyndall disqualified mate- 
rialism to sit as a juror in the case of personal 
survival after death by his pronouncement of 
three incontrovertible propositions : 

1. " The passage from the physics of the 
brain to the facts of consciousness is unthink- 
able.'' 

2. " While a definite thought and a definite 
molecular action in the brain occur simultane- 



134 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

ously, we do not possess the intellectual organ 
which would enable us to pass, by a process of 
reasoning, from the one to the other." 

3. " The chasm between these physical pro- 
cesses and the facts of consciousness remains 
as intellectually impassable, as in prescientific 
ages." 

Thus did the distinguished physicist take 
the shine out of the materialist's claim. The 
latter's contention was that " consciousness is 
a mere epi-phenomenon " or by-product of 
life, itself " a physico-chemical process of 
protoplasmic structure and cell-organization.*' 
But in the light of Tyndall's first proposition, 
this definition of consciousness and of life ia 
reduced to a mere oracle because it does not in 
the least explain the nature of life which is 
sui generic, neither energy nor matter, and 
cannot be explained in terms of anything else, 
— a stimulating, organizing principle" Sir 
Oliver calls it, " directing energy and thereby 
controlling the arrangements of movements of 
matter and in no way entering into the scheme 
of physics." ^ 

As for consciousness being an " epi-phe- 
nomenon " of a " physico-chemical process 

2 '* Raymond " Sir OUver Lodge, p. 290. 



7> 



MODERN MATERIALISM 135 

and ceasing when the brain has been injured — 
jnst as the music of a harp ceases when the in- 
strument is broken — all we can accurately 
say, all that we are scientifically warranted in 
saying, is that the manifestation of conscious- 
ness has ceased, i,e,, consciousness has been 
lost, not necessarily destroyed, as Sir Oliver 
remarked in commenting upon Dr. Mott's es- 
say.* 

We have no right to say consciousness is 
non-existent any more than we have a right 
to say that without a continuous supply of 
oxygen consciousness cannot exist, simply be- 
cause we do not know that oxygen or any other 
form of matter has anything to do with con- 
sciousness. All that we know, all that we have 
a right to say, is that " without a continuous 
supply of oxygen consciousness gives no physi- 
cal sign."* 

In his effort to explain consciousness in 
terms of matter the old time materialist asked 
only for as many atoms as there are chemical 
elements. But even when provided with all 
these, how shall he educe consciousness ? How 
can the concurrence of any number of atoms 

« €p. p. 328. 
« Ibid. p. 329 



186 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

result in consciousness i His answer was, by 
positing " polarity " and " gravitation " as 
among tlie eternal properties of matter. And 
when pressed further to account for what is 
observed in consciousness he added " memory " 
to these eternal properties. But the focusing 
of attention upon an object to be remembered 
is a mental not a physiological process. In 
short, the materialist behaved like the bank- 
depositor who appeared to have met every 
financial claim fully and honorably by the 
issuing of cheques, whereas his account was 
overdrawn after the cashing of his first cheque. 
So the materialist in order to explain con- 
sciousness had to draw upon his original deposit 
of matter for more than it actually contained at 
the start and thus he forced his insolvent the- 
ory into the hands of a receiver. In mining- 
regions there obtains a practice known as " salt- 
ing a claim." In order to enhance the value of 
an essentially poor property it is " salted '^ 
with gold-dust. So the materialist salted mat- 
ter with mental qualities, not one of which 
could be taken out except as it had first been 
put into matter. Collocate, refine, attenuate 
the atoms of gray-matter in the brain as much 
as you please, your thought still remains ab- 



MODERN MATERIALISM 187 

solutelj unlike the whitest and most tenuous 
cerebral tissue. 

It is noteworthy that while this materialism 
was made in Germany and imported by Eng- 
land and America, it was a German who first 
laid bare the fallacies lurking in Biichner's 
"Matter and Force" (published in 1845), 
as well as in the later " beer and cheese " phi- 
losophy of the " Freien Oemeinden/' accord- 
ing to which matter and force are the key to 
explication of all that is. Dubois-Reymond, 
bom at Berlin in 1818 and buried there in 
1896, was a specialist in the physiology of 
the nervous system and it was on this physiol- 
ogy that these materialists based their notion 
that thought and consciousness and emotion 
are after all but the resultant of chemical ac- 
tion and reaction in the nerves set a-vibrating 
by external or internal irritation. Dubois- 
Reymond recognized the fact of such irrita- 
tion, but he also recognized the deeper fact 
of our utter ignorance of how, from that irri- 
tation and the response to it in the central 
organ, thought and feeling are born. Why the 
concept chair should be formed when the peri- 
pheric nerve is excited by touching the arm of 
the chair; why, when I look at yonder gas- 



188 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

jet, I get the concept of light; why, as 
I look at a crevice in the roof the same 
excitation of my optic nerve gives me the 
concept of solar rays piercing the aperture; 
why the similar excitation of the same 
nerve gives rise to dissimilar concepts — 
remains a mystery which no science has yet 
explained, or according to Dubois-Reymond, 
ever can explain. Nor, again, is the mystery 
of emotion miraveled by the physiological 
formula. Why, under the same nervous ir- 
ritation have we at one time the sensation of 
pleasure and, at another, one of pain ? Here 
too, is a chasm as unbridged as ever and which 
this eminent physiologist felt would never be 
spanned.*^ Thus did this master of natural 
science show forth its limitations, teaching the 
dogmatists a needed lesson in intellectual mod- 
esty and pricking the bubble of BUchner's cock- 
sureness that matter and force are the solvents 
of Nature's mysteries and that cerebral chem- 
istry is capable of accounting for all the phe- 
nomena of thought and feeling. The most 
delicate fibers of gray matter woven in the 
loom of science or of the imagination cannot 
be spun into an emotion. You can resolve 

6 See his noble essay " Die Siehen Weltrdtael/* 



MODERN MATERIALISM 139 

a tear into oxygen, hydrogen, chlorine and 
sodium, but the mystery of grief remains as 
unexplained as ever. The difference between 
the tone of the marriage bell which begins 
happiness and that of the funeral-toll which 
ends it, cannot be stated in terms of ^^heat- 
waves '' or of the " concurrence of brain- 
atoms." 

Whether or not mind can operate without a 
brain remains an open question, despite all the 
argumentation of the materialists. And this 
is the only vital issue in the discussion. Were 
brain and thought related to each other as 
cause and effect, then, indeed, would the con- 
tention of the materialist be established, viz.: 
no brain, no thought. But their relation is not 
one of cause and effect. Rather is it compara- 
ble to the relation of the wire to electricity in 
pre-Marconi days. Without the wire there 
could be no manifestation of electricity, but 
the wire does not produce the electricity, nor 
would electricity cease to be were the wire 
destroyed. So, for aught we know, it may be 
with the human mind. It may exist without 
a brain; it may continue after the brain has 
been destroyed; it may make itself manifest 
to other personalities by means of some other 



140 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

organ than a brain. Thought^ therefore, 
would not necessarily cease were the brain de- 
stroyed, any more than would electricity withr 
out the wire. And even as Marconi's ^^ wire- 
less" has made electricity manifest so, for 
aught we know, may thought by " brain-less '' 
be yet made manifest. 

From physics we learn that heat, light and 
electricity are interconvertible, because all are 
modes of motion. Motion is their common 
factor. But, between moving particles of gray 
matter in the brain, and thought, there is no 
such relation; on the contrary, there is a 
chasm that has never yet been bridged. If 
a cause is to be found for thought it must be of 
the same hind as thought, and no such ade- 
quate cause has yet been discerned. How 
physical brain-processes are connected with the 
facts of consciousness still remains a mystery. 
Browning, in " Abt Vogler," furnishes a sug- 
gestive parallel here. Could we explain how, 
from the physical, musical notes, psychical 
emotional states are awakened, wg would have 
solved the riddle of the universe. Hence his 
injunction to the reader, reverently to bow be- 
fore this mystery of music, as inexplicable in- 
deed as the whence of thought 



MODERN MATERIALISM 141 

Consider it well : each tone of our scale in itself is 

naught ; 
It is everywhere in the world — loud, soft, and all 

is said : 
Give it to me to usel I mix it with two in my 

thought : 
Andy there I Ye have heard and seen: Consider 

and how the head I 

No, materialism has not disproved the reality 
of life after death, and till it does no one need 
apologize for retaining his faith. All that sci- 
ence has proved is that material processes ac- 
company mental states, not that the latter are 
caused by the former. Science has proved that 
the molecular motion of the gray matter in the 
brain is concomitant with thought, not that it 
is the caiLse of thought. Science has demon- 
strated that the eye is the organ of sight, but 
not the seer ; the ear, the organ of hearing but 
not the hearer ; the brain the organ of thought 
but not the thinker. The brain, then, as I 
have said elsewhere, is only a machine for 
making our thoughts and emotions apparent iJO 
others. At death the machine breaks but for 
all that science knows, the operator may still 
possess what he had to conununicate.® The 

« See my " Faith in a Future Life,** chap. v. 



142 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

materialist aaks, what reason is there to expect 
that after the dissolution of brain-matter, con- 
sciousness will remain, any more than that the 
wetness of water will remain after it has been 
resolved into hydrogen and oxygen? As- 
suredly, so far as the limits of our experience 
and knowledge are concerned, we have no war- 
rant at all for such an expectation. But what 
does this argument amount to so far as disprov- 
ing immortality goes? Absolutely nothing. 
What right have we to assume that because we 
know thought only in association with brain, 
therefore no thought can exist without brain ? 
What right have we to say that " the mind of 
man is the totality of his brain-processes in the 
same sense that the flame of the candle is the 
totality of its combustible processes " and 
therefore that man^s soul is extinguished by 
death as completely as the candle's light is ex- 
tinguished when it is blown out ? The truth is 
that in all such statements two separate phe- 
nomena are quite unbridged, the one physical, 
the other psychical, and therefore not to be 
treated as in the same category. Until science 
can prove that thought is impossible apart from 
brain-physics, faith remains in possession of 
the ground. All we know is that brain and 



MODERN MATERIALISM 148 

thought go together in our experience without 
being able to say that the latter is caused by the 
former. Borrowing an illustration from Pro- 
fessor Adler, we may liken their relation to two 
citizens, walking arm in arm into a town and 
through the town, but parting company when 
they pass the city limits. So brain and 
thought come arm in arm, as it were, into the 
town of life but there is no known reason why 
they may not separate when they pass out of 
sight of the citizens, because their relation is 
not one of cause and effect but only of concomi- 
tance or simultaneity. 

By the year 1885 the crude materialism of 
Biichner, — espoused with such zest by the 
" intellectuals " of social democracy fifteen^ 
years before, — was wholly discredited. 
Lange, in his "History of Materialism," de- 
votes a brilliant chapter to the story of its 
repudiation by all the leading minds of Europe. 

But hardly had the faith in a future life 
been reborn when the veteran Haeckel dealt 
it a fresh blow, broaching a theory of " mind- 
producing atoms," whose " mind-sides " being 
in touch, "maintained thought" till the dis- 
solution of these atoms at death. To the ven- 
erable CoryphflBUS of the materialistic school 



144 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OP TO-DAY 

it seemed that now, at last, the doctrine of per- 
sonal immortality was downed for all time. 
But no, with the further progress of brain-re- 
search it was found that Haeckel is wholly 
wrong in his belief that the atoms to which he 
attributed " mind-sides *' are in touch. On the 
contrary, there exists a " discontinuity of mat- 
ter." Inter-atomic spaces in the brain, there 
are ; gaps, separating its material atoms. If ot 
only have these atoms no contact, but the inter- 
atomic spaces greatly predominate over the 
atoms, so that out of the cubic contents of a 
human brain only a few hundredths consist of 
material particles. According to Risteen, a 
recognized authority on the subject, " the dis- 
tance from the center of one molecule to the 
center of its neighbor averages ten times the 
molecular diameter," while " of the space oc- 
cupied by brain-pulp, or any so-called ^ solid 
flesh,' at least 999,999 parts are occupied by 
something other than atomic matter." If, 
then, Haeckel's mind-sided atoms be separated, 
how shall they unite thought with thought, 
premise with conclusion ? For all such men- 
tal processes a unitary and continuous medium 
is needed. And if these inter-atomic spaces 
be occupied by an imponderable, intangible, 



MODERN MATERIALISM 145 

elusive substance, a " mentif erous '^ ether^. 
analogous to the " luminiferous " ether, then 
we have an intermediary between brain-cells^ 
and thought, '^ an inunaterial substance of the 
self," as an Oxford professor has called it, and 
because immaterial or etheric, therefore in- 
cognizable by our senses. Here, then, we enter 
a region where sight, hearing and touch are 
powerless either as observers or as interpreters 
and where a " chasm " exists between mentif er-^ 
ous ether and thought even as between Tyn- 
dalFs " molecular motion of gray matter in the 
brain " and thought. 

As a result of this recent scientific research 
it is as difficult to-day to find a champion of 
materialism as it was fifty years ago to find an 
opponent of it. And whereas for five decades^ 
the task of dethroning materialism devolved 
for the most part upon dogmatic theologians, 
to-day it is physicists who are conspicuous as 
disclaimers, on scientific grounds, of any sym- 
pathy whatever with materialism. 

In so far then as the arguments of the ma- 
terialists were designed to break down all rea- 
sonable supports for faith in personal con- 
tinuity after death, those arguments have sig- 
nally failed. 



146 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

But before leaving this aspect of our sub- 
ject it will be well to glance for a moment at 
the doctrine of evolution which in the estima- 
tion of many a layman has been construed as 
synonymous with or tantamount to materialism 
and as leading directly to a negative answer 
regarding man's survival of death. The evo- 
lutionist tells us that our earth is dying, 
doomed to become a cold dead world, like the 
moon. Has it then been evolved from the 
primordial nebula with no ulterior purpose 
than its annihilation, or does it shelter some 
indestructible good that shall survive the de- 
cay of physical phenomena? Unless some- 
thing worth while shall survive this ultimate 
disaster, evolution must be set down as a sense- 
less fiasco and farce. If that process, in the 
course of which there appeared a Homer, a 
Plato, a Dante, a Shakespeare, a ,G6the, a Dar- 
win, is to end in a harvest of corpses, leav- 
ing no permanent good behind, then we must 
liken the process to the act of a crazy sculptor 
who, after life-long toil upon a magnificent 
masterpiece, broke it into fragments. Or we 
might compare the process to a drama with a 
prologue and a series of absorbingly interest- 
ing acts, in the last of which the lights go out 



MODERN MATERIALISM 147 

and the whole thing vanishes like a dream. 
Tennyson, whose " In Memoriam " was pub- 
lished nine years before Darwin's " Origin of 
Species," held the selfsame view. Contemplat- 
ing the age-long process of evolution, with Man 
as Nature's latest, highest product, tiie poet 
exclaimed : 

And he, shall he, — 
Man, her last work, who seemed so fair, 
Such splendid purpose in his eyes. 
Who rolled the psalm to wintry skies. 
Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer. 
Who loved, who suffered countless ills. 
Who hattled for the True, the Just, — 
Be blown about the desert dust. 
Or sealed within the iron hills? 
No more! A monster then, a dream, 
A discord. Dragons of the prime. 
That tare each other in their slime, 
Were mellow music matched with him. 

The poet^s point is that no man would create 
such a world, no human being would be guilty 
of evolving such a system only to see it end in 
failure and chaos, the most hideous of all 
mockeries. 

Yet we must frankly recognize the fact that 
for the evolution-process we can claim only 
this: it points to something other than noth- 



148 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

ingness as the goal of the process. This much 
we may legitimately claim as a reasoned prob- 
ability. As such, we may say, the outcome of 
Nature's age-long process, whatever it be, will 
justify the process. As a reasoned probabil- 
ity, Leverrier, in 1845, announced the exist- 
ence of an unknown planet In the follow- 
ing year " Neptune " was seen and precisely 
at the place where the astronomer had pre- 
dicted it would appear. As a reasoned prob- 
ability, Professor Eamsay affirmed the exist- 
ence of a gas never yet discovered by any of 
the senses and lo, " neon " appeared. Now, 
just as the scientific world believed in the real- 
ity of both the planet and the gas before their 
discovery, so we may believe, as a reasoned 
probability, that the outcome of the evolution- 
ary process will be worth all it cost. 

Clearly, then, neither the materialist nor the 
evolutionist has furnished any objective evi- 
dence that invalidates faith in a future life. 
Fifty years ago their claims struck terror into 
many a human heart even as did the recent 
doctrine of Haeckel, but with the putting of 
those claims to the proof comes a rebirth of the 
faith which it was thought had been forever 
destroyed. 



MODERN MATERIALISM 149 

And in Part III it was shown that the ob- 
jective evidence, adduced by Sir Oliver Lodge, 
in support of the spiritistic hypothesis fails to 
satisfy even as did the objective evidence of the 
materialist in support of the thesis that man 
is dust and returns to dust Is there, then, 
perchance, any subjective evidence to which 
we may turn and find the faith in a future life 
reborn once more ? There is, if I mistake not, 
a moral experience which all souls have and 
which furnishes, not demonstration of future 
life, but the nearest approach to it possible in 
the present state of our knowledge. Let me 
explain. Most of us must confess that we do 
not live the moral life either very deeply or 
very intensely. None the less is such moral 
living constantly in our power and the point 
I wish to make is that the more we succeed in 
our endeavor thus to live the moral life, deeply 
and intensely, the more persuaded we become 
that there is something within us that cannot 
perish, the more profoundly aware we become 
of the spiritual (and hence imperishable) na- 
ture of our essential selfhood. Similarly, if 
it be our privilege to enjoy relationship with 
some rare soul, one who lives on a lofty spirit- 
ual plane, one who refines and inspires us, then 



150 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

are we made to feel that here also^ in this ex- 
ceptional personality, is something that must 
survive death. 

No one can live an ephemeral, selfish, 
worldly life and then expect by some intel- 
lectual process to arrive at faith in personal 
survival of death. One gets that faith only 
when finding in oneself, or in another soul, 
something infinitely worth preserving. 

There is a beautiful legend of the moun- 
tains that aptly illustrates this truth. 'Tis 
the legend of a shepherd lad, tending his fath- 
er's flock, who saw or thought he saw a beau- 
tiful figure of womanly grace and charm, mov- 
ing before him as he climbed the heights. 
Again and again the fair vision greeted his 
sight so that for his rapt imagination it pre- 
figured an inspiration and guide in the conduct 
of life. And when the dark experiences came 
to him as they come to us all, he tenderly and 
reverently besought the fair figure to return — 
" appear, oh appear, beloved spirit, but if this 
happiness be denied me then let me make my 
life better and worthy to share thine immor- 
tality because thy gracious light has been shed 
upon my way." 

Who of us has not known in actual life such 



MODERN MATERIALISM 151 

a woman, one who exercised a mighty, ever- 
present inspiring influence, persuading us not 
only of the eternality of her own spirit but also 
prompting the faith that through our response 
to that inspiration something worthy of per- 
petuation inheres also in us. 

What Plato, Dante, Leonardo, Groethe and 
Browning experienced, we too may experience 
and like them find that nothing is so difficult 
as disbelief in inmiortality. 

They simply could not think of their spirit- 
ual selfhood as ceasing, because they felt the 
urge within them to continue the pursuit of the 
ideal. Many a thoughtful man, it is true, has 
felt himself intellectually driven to agnosti- 
cism, or even perhaps to outright rejection of 
the immortal hope. But if his moral nature 
does not revolt at what his intellect prescribes^ 
it would be proof that he had never lived the 
moral life intensely or deeply, so inevitably 
does such living compel revulsion from the 
thought of annihilation at death. It was this 
conviction that had mastered Tennyson when, 
in his " Wages," he raised the question, what 
wages would virtue have ? 

'^ She desires no isles of the blest, no quiet seats of 
the just. 



162 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

To rest in a golden grove, or to bask in a summer 

sky; — 
Give her the wages of going an and not to die.'' 

Recall Professor Adler's noble statement of 
this crucial truth : " We admit that we do not 
80 much desire immortality as that we do not 
aee how we can escape it ; on moral grounds we 
do not see how our being can stop short of the 
attainment marked out for it, of the goal set 
up for it; the best within us, our true being, 
cannot perish, in regard to that the notion of 
death is irrelevant." ® " Man, unlike the pro- 
ducts of Xature, is not a mere wave that rises 
and subsides, a shadow that passes aver the 
43cene — there is in him that which does not 
deserve to die and will not die." 

Let me supplement this quotation with one 
of my own, from the book to which reference 
has already been made. 

"What are we here for? We are here to 
realize the infinite possibilities of our being, 
or, to speak more accurately, we are here to 
«nter on the realization of those possibilities. 
This realization is the supreme good ; the will 
that strives for the supreme good is the good 

«"Life and Destiny," pp. 38 sq. The Standard, 
April, 1918. 



MODERN MATERIALISM 158 

will, and the good will cannot die in a universe 
that is rational and moraL We enter the 
world with a moral obligation imposed upon 
us — develop the real that you are into the 
ideal you ought to be. Nature has intended 
that we should strive for realization of that 
immanent ideal. But, clearly, that ideal can 
never be completely realized; it can be only 
eternally approximated.'^ 

Yes, the ideal is unattainable and loyal pur- 
suit of the unattainable ideal is our highest 
possible attainment. Perfection is not a final, 
static, completed moral state, rather is it an 
evolving process. The ideal flies ever before 
us and most passionately do we pursue it when 
it seems furthest away. Our task is one in 
which everlasting progress may be made, not 
one that can be once for all fulfilled. 

And if, on the one hand, it depresses us to 
realize this, to realize that no achievement is 
ever final, but that each is only the vantage- 
ground from which we climb to some higher 
manifestation of power — at each new level 
broadening the perspective and deepening the 
content of our life, — on the other hand, it is 
mightily inspiring and cheering to realize that 
no statical heaven, however finished and fine, 



154 PSYCHIC TBNDSNCIES OF TO-DAY 

oould ever permanently satisfy ns. As a tem- 
porary resting place for tired souls we might 
welcome it indeed^ but once rested and re- 
freshed, we would wish to resume the upward 
way. 

At OberammergaU; on the morning after 
the Passion Flay, I climbed the nearby hill 
that rises behind the imposing theater. The 
road was rather steep, tortuous, and stony. 
At intervals of sixty or seventy yards, benches 
had been placed to break the continuity of the 
climb. Before each bench there was erected 
a crude picture, representing a scene from the 
closing days of Jesus' life. These resting 
places with their pictures, are called in Boman 
Catholic countries " stations of the Cross/' 
Thus the pedestrian pauses as he climbs and 
as he pauses there looks down upon him a 
great thought out of tl>e 4^f e of the Nazarene. 
Then, rested and refreshed, he resumes the 
climb, until at last the final " station of the 
Cross " is reached. 

Strip this story of its sectarian implications 
and what remains is a condensed statement of 
what our human life must be. We must be 
climbing, we must get tired, we must have 
moments of rest; moments in which there may 



MODERN MATERIALISM 156 

look down upon us the great thought of the 
infinitely-perfect to which we tend. 

Most of us only begin the upward ascent, 
we reach but a little way up the mount Per- 
fection when our climb is stopped by death. 
Here, then, on the one hand, is Nature impos- 
ing upon us the moral obligation " Be ye per^ 
feet," realize the ideal ; and here, on the other 
hand, is Death, stopping us in our upward 
march and seemingly bringing that moral ob^ 
ligation to naught. How, I ask, shall we solve 
the riddle? Clearly, we are forced to accept 
one or the other of two alternatives; either 
death is not the end of life and there is oppor- 
tunity beyond death for continuing the ascent 
of the spiritual moimtain, or else Nature de- 
feats the end she had in view in the creating 
of man. That, I believe, is the logical alterna- 
tive to which we are forced if we do close and 
consistent thinking. Nay, more, we can go 
one step further and say that the loyVl, faith- 
ful soul, the soul that has been steadfastly loyal 
in the pursuit of the ideal, in the ascent of the 
mount Perfection, that soul is entitled to con- 
tinue the pursuit when death has cut short the 
series of earthly endeavors. If this be a 
moral tmiverse, if at the heart of the universe 



156 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OP TO-DAY 

the principle of justice obtain, then, I say, 
the loyal, faithful soul, the man or woman who 
has consecratedly pursued the ideal, is thereby 
entitled, has a right to continue that pursuit. 
If we loyally pursue the ideal and that pursuit 
is the end which Nature has decreed in creating 
us, then she would defeat her end and be irra- 
tional did she allow death to cut off that pur- 
suit. And if faithful pursuit constitutes a 
right to continue it. Nature would be unethical 
were she to disregard that right. Thus does 
personal immortality become an ethical neces- 
sity, as was said by the lamented Francis E. 
Abbot, to whom I am indebted for the thought 
that has been here worked out. And this is as 
near to demonstration as it is possible for us 
to come, in the present state of our knowledge. 
There can be but one reasonable, satisfying 
view of our earthly pilgrimage. It is that of 
a process of growth, upward and onward end- 
lessly toward the ultimate Ideal. If, then, 
when that pilgrimage ends, our goal be still, 
like a star, shining in the distant heaven, and 
we, from the low plane of our present attain- 
ment, looking up to that star, what escape is 
there from the frightful unreason of such a 
situation ? It is, so far as I can see, that death 



MODERN MATERIALISM 157 

does not terminate the pilgrimage, but that 
somehow, somewhere, provision wiU be made 
for the perpetuation of what is essentially 
spiritual in us, to the end that it may fulfill, in 
ways beyond our ken, the supreme purpose of 
its being. 

Far be it from any of us to dogmatize on the 
question of personal immortality. To me it 
seems the only possible explanation of the mys- 
tery of our life. Yet is our reason limited in 
its powers and we must therefore beware of 
the tone of finality in our discoursing upon it. 
Who knows but that in the universal plan not 
a single human being is accounted of sufficient 
value to the imiverse to require his preserva- 
tion ? It may be that the universal plan pro- 
vides for some altogether different solution 
than that of personal immortality as popularly 
conceived. But that the solution will be both 
rational and ethical I am bound to believe. I 
am bound to believe that my essential spiritual 
selfhood will be perpetuated in the eternal 
order, all the while (with Emerson) utterly 
" incurious " as to the mode of that perpetua- 
tion, omdesirous to pry into the ultimate secret 
of the cosmos, serenely ready for whatever des- 
tiny has in store for me, calmly trusting that 



158 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OF TO-DAY 

whateyer is best will be wrou^t out in the 
universal plan. 

» There is, then, a concatenation of moral 
ideals and moral experiences that have given 
rebirth to the faith in personal survival of 
death. The haunting sense of incompleteness 
of character, the consciousness of an infinitely 
perfect goal, the sense of a constant residuum 
of capacity to approximate it, no matter how 
many times we slip back; the moral obUgation 
Nature has imposed on us to pursue it, the 
conviction forced upon us, when we earnestly, 
ardently obey, or when we see complete obedi- 
ence in another, viz., that there is something in 
that person, as in us, which cannot cease — • 
such is the order of ethical thought and experi- 
ence which, like the heart, hastes my panting 
soul to the waterbrooks to quench its thirst at 
the eternal stream of faith in a future life. 

We are stationed here on this earth, between 
two great ignorances. For, when we talk of 
origins we don't know exactly whence we came 
and when we are discussing destiny we don't 
know exactly whither we go. What then re- 
mains between these two ignorances? There 
remains the kind of behavior we adopt. We 
have to choose between living like immortals 



MODERN MATERIALISM 109 

and living like the day-fly, dead at sundown. 
Grant that the mystery of the origin of things 
is insoluble; grant that the mystery of the 
hereafter is equally impenetrable; there yet 
remains a higher and a lower order of lif e, 
and a choice to be made between them. Ac- 
cept, if you will, the simile which likens life 
to a midnight sea illumined by a single streak 
of light, and man to a ship, crossing that light- 
ened path- way, emerging from the darkness and 
presently disappearing in the future darkness, 
yet none the lees would you think it worth 
while, even in that brief moment, to catch the 
light upon your sails and while you live, to live 
in the light ! 

When, in otir pursuit of knowledge concern- 
ing man's persistence as a spiritual being, we 
reach the place where knowledge fails, faith 
must hold sway. The ethics of investigation 
on post-mortem conditions requires of us that, 
having caught the light upon our sails, we trust- 
fully steer our ship forward and with the 
requisite moral heroism face the ulterior dark- 
ness. If Oalderon be right in regarding life 
as but a dream, then 'tis for us to live well 
throughout the dream and trust the waking, 
whatever it may be. Since we cannot prove 



160 PSYCHIC TENDENCIES OP TO-DAY 

either the negations of doubt or the affirma* 
tions of faith, we can none the less 

'' be wise in this dream-world of ours ; 
Nor take our dial for our deity. 
But make the passing shadow serve our wilL" 

Perhaps in no better way can I bring my 
thought to a telling conclusion than by retellr 
ing the incident related of Dr. Pritchett, dur- 
ing his presidency of the Massachusetts Insti- 
tute of Technology. He was touring the 
Bernese Alps, from Badzeuck, via the Gtemmi- 
Pass, to Kandersteg. When he reached the 
summit of the pass he looked vainly about for 
a path that would lead to his destination. All 
that he saw was a narrow, faintly-marked trail 
on the surface of the huge granite boulder, 
stretching down the steep mountain side. 
Such a trail it was as a mountain sheep might 
risk, but hardly to be ventured upon by human 
feet. Concluding he had missed the right 
road the pedestrian was about to retrace his 
steps when he spied a little Swiss boy about 
forty feet away. " Where is Kandersteg ? " 
the president exclaimed. To which the lad 
replied, " I don't know, sir, but (pointing to 
this hazardous trail) that is the way to it." 



MODERN MATERIALISM 161 

Without in the least realizing it, the boy had 
summarized the whole practical philosophy of 
life. If you are on the right road you don't 
need to see your destination. In such a situa- 
tion — ■' and it is symbolic of that in which we 
all find ourselves, no matter what our vocation 
or lot in life may be — there are only three 
alternatives open to us: First, we may sit 
down, if our inertia be in excess of our motive- 
power. Second, we may turn back, if our 
desire to reminisce be greater than our pro- 
phetic proclivity. Third, we may go bravely 
and trustfully on. 

In the sacred name of the latent possibili- 
ties that reside in each one of us, and of that 
constant residuum of capacity for progress 
that is present in even the lowest of us, I say, 
let us go on and take the ethics of an immortal 
being for our guide. 



THS END 



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