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C\J 
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LITTLE BOOK OF LIFE 
AFTER DEATH 

FROM THE GERMAN OF 

USTAV THEODOR FECHHER 






1 






921 

1905 
C. 1 
ROBA 



THE L.ITTLE BOOK 

OF 

LIFE AFTER DEATH 

BY 

GUSTAV THEODOB FECHNEB 



TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN BY 

MARY c. WADSWORTH 

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY 
WILLIAM JAMES 



" Indetien, freut et immcr wenn man teine Wurztln autdefmt 
und teine Exitttnz in Andere emgreifen tieht." Schiller iiu 
BrifwchMl luit GotUe. Ill, 8. 63. 



BOSTON 
LITTLE, BROWN, & COMPANY 

1905 



ICR* ~~ -~^ 



DAI 



:, 

. 




Copyright, 1904, 
BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY. 

,4/J rights reserved 
Published October, 1904 



LIBRARY 

7 "> >S O C J o 
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 



THE UNIVERSITY PRESS, CAMBRIDGE, U.S.A. 



THE LITTLE BOOK 

OF 

LIFE AFTER DEATH 



TO 

ISIDORE AND ELIZABETH 

DAUGHTERS OF HIS FRIEND 

CH. F. GRIMMER 

THE AUTHOR 



INTRODUCTION 

/GLADLY accept the translator s 
invitation to furnish a few words 
of introduction to Fechner s 
"Biichlein vom Leben nach dem Tode," 
the more so as its somewhat oracularly 
uttered sentences require, for their proper 
understanding, a certain acquaintance 
with their relations to his general system. 
Fechners name lives in physics as 
that of one of the earliest and best de 
terminers of electrical constants, also as 
that of the best systematic defender of 
the atomic theory. In psychology it is a 
commonplace to glorify him as the first 
user of experimental methods, and the 
vii 



INTRODUCTION 



first aimer at exactitude in facts. In 
cosmology he is known as the author of 
a system of evolution which, while 
taking great account of physical details 
and mechanical conceptions, makes con 
sciousness correlative to and coeval with 
the whole physical world. In literature 
he has made his mark by certain half- 
humoristic, half-philosophic essays pub 
lished under the name of Dr. Mises - 
indeed the present booklet originally ap 
peared under that name. In cesthetics 
he may lay claim to be the earliest sys 
tematically empirical student. In meta 
physics he is not only the author of an 
independently reasoned ethical system, 
but of a theological theory worked out 
in great detail. His mind, in short, 
was one of those multitudinously organ- 
viii 



INTRODUCTION 



ized cross-roads of truth, which are 
occupied only at rare intervals by chil 
dren of men, and from which nothing is 
either too far or too near to be seen in 
due perspective. Patient observation 
and daring imagination dwelt hand 
in hand in Fechner ; and perception, 
reasoning, and feeling all flourished on 
the largest scale without interfering 
either with the others function. 

Fechner was, in fact, a philosopher in 
the "great " sense of the term, although 
he cared so much less than most pMloso- 
phers do for purely logical abstractions. 
For him the abstract lived in the con 
crete ; and although he worked as defi 
nitely and technically as the narrowest 
specialist works in each of the many lines 
of scientific inquiry which he successively 
ix 



INTRODUCTION 



followed, he followed each and all of 
them for the sake of his one overmaster 
ing general purpose, the purpose namely 
of elaborating what he called the " day 
light-view " of the world into greater and 
greater system and completeness. 

By the daylight-view, as contrasted 
with the night-view, Fechner meant the 
anti-materialistic view, the view that 
the entire material universe, instead of 
being dead, is inwardly alive and con 
sciously animated. There is hardly a 
page of his writing that was not proba 
bly connected in his mind with this most 
general of his interests. 

Little by little the materialistic gen 
eration that called his speculations fan 
tastic has been replaced by one with 
greater liberty of imagination. Lead- 



INTRO D UCTION 



ers of thought, a Paulsen, a Wundt, 
a Preyer, a Lasswitz, treat Fechners 
pan-psychism as plausible, and write of 
its author with veneration. Younger 
men chime in, and Fechner s philosophy 
promises to become scientifically fashion 
able. Imagine a Herbert Spencer who, 
to the unity of his system and its unceas 
ing touch with facts, should have added 
a positively religious philosophy instead 
of Spencer s dry agnosticism ; who should 
have mingled humor and lightness (even 
though it were germanic lightness] with 
his heavier ratiocinations; who should 
have been no less encyclopedic and far 
more subtle ; who should have shown a 
personal life as simple and as conse 
crated to the one pursuit of truth, 
imagine this, I say, if you can, and you 
xi 



INTROD UCTION 



may form some idea of what the name 
of Fechner is more and more coming to 
stand for, and of the esteem in which it 
is more and more held by the studious 
youth of his native Germany. His be 
lief that the whole material universe is 
conscious in divers spans and wave 
lengths, inclusions and envelopments, 
seems assuredly destined to found a school 
that will grow more systematic and 
solidified as time goes on. 

The general background of the pres 
ent dogmatically written little treatise is 
to be found in the " Tagesansicht" in 
the "Zend-Avesta" and in various other 
works of Fechner s. Once grasp the 
idealistic notion that inner experience is 
the reality, and that matter is but a 
form in which inner experiences may 
xii 



INTROD UCTION 



appear to one another when they affect 
each other from the outside ; and it is 
easy to believe that consciousness or 
inner experience never originated, or 
developed, out of the unconscious, but 
that it and the physical universe are co- 
eternal aspects of one self-same reality, 
much as concave and convex are aspects 
of one curve. " Psychophysical move 
ment," as Fechner calls it, is the most 
pregnant name for all the reality that 
is. As " movement " it has a " direc 
tion " ; as " psychical " the direction can be 
felt as a " tendency " and as all that lies 
connected in the way of inner expe 
rience with tendencies, desire, effort, 
success, for example ; wftile as "physical " 
the direction can be defined in spatial 
terms and formulated mathematically or 
xiii 



INTRODUCTION 



otherwise in the shape of a descriptive 
" law." 

But movements can be superimposed 
and compounded, the smaller on the 
greater, as wavelets upon waves. This 
is as true in the mental as in the physi 
cal sphere. Speaking psychologically, 
we may say that a general wave of con- 
sciousness rises out of a subconscious 
background, and that certain portions 
of it catch the emphasis, as wavelets 
catch the light. The whole process is 
conscious, but the emphatic wave-tips of 
the consciousness are of such contracted 
span that they are momentarily insu 
lated from the rest. They realize them 
selves apart, as a twig might realize 
itself, and forget the parent tree. Such 
an insulated bit of experience leaves, 
xiv 



--. 



INTRODUCTION 



however, when it passes away, a memory 
of itself. The residual and subsequent 
consciousness becomes different for its 
having occurred. On the physical side 
we say that the brain-process that corre 
sponded to it altered permanently the 
future mode of action of the brain. 

Now, according- to Fechner, our bod 
ies are just wavelets on the surface of 
the earth. We grow upon the earth as 
leaves grow upon a tree, and our con 
sciousness arises out of the whole earth- 
consciousness, which it forgets to thank, 
just as within our consciousness an 
emphatic experience arises, and makes 
us forget the whole background of 
experience without which it could not 
have come. But as it sinks again into 
that background it is not forgotten. 
xv 



INTRODUCTION 



On the contrary, it is remembered and, 
as remembered, leads a freer life, for it 
now combines, itself a conscious idea, 
with the innumerable, equally conscious 
ideas of other remembered things. Even 
so is it, when we die, with the whole 
system of our outlived experiences. 
During the life of our body, although 
they were always elements in the more 
general enveloping earth-consciousness, 
yet they themselves were unmindful of 
the fact. Now, impressed on the whole 
earth-mind as memories, they lead the 
life of ideas there, and realize them 
selves no longer in isolation, but along 
with all the similar vestiges left by other 
human lives, entering with these into 
new combinations,- affected anew by ex- 
perie?ices of the living, and affecting the 
xvi 



INTRODUCTION 



living in their turn, enjoying, in short, 
that " third stage " of existence with the 
definition of which the text of the present 
work begins. 

God, for Fechner, is the totalized 
consciousness of the whole universe, of 
which the Earths consciousness forms an 
element, just as in turn my human con 
sciousness and yours form elements of 
the whole earth s consciousness. As I 
apprehend Fechner (though I am not 
sure], the whole Universe God there 
fore also evolves in time : that is, God 
has a genuine history. Through us as 
its human organs of experience the earth 
enriches its inner life, until it also " geht 
zu grunde " and becomes immortal in the 
form of those still wider elements of inner 
experience which its history is even now 

b xvii 



INTRODUCTION 



weaving into the total cosmic life of 
God. 

The whole scheme, as the reader sees, 
is got from the fact that the span of our 
own inner life alternately contracts and 
expands. You cannot say where the 
exact outline of any present state of 
consciousness lies. It shades into a more 
general background in which even now 
other states lie ready to be known. This 
background is the inner aspect of what 
physically appear, first, as our residual 
and only partially excited neural ele 
ments, and then more remotely as the 
whole organism which we call our own. 

This indetermination of the partition, 
this fact of a changing threshold, is the 
analogy which Fechner generalizes, that 
is all. 

xviii 



INTROD UCTION 



There are many difficulties attaching 
to his theory. The complexity with which 
he himself realizes them, and the subtlety 
with which he meets them are admirable. 
It is interesting to see how closely his 
speculations, due to such different mo 
tives, and supported by such different 
arguments, agree with those of some of 
our own philosophers. Royce s Gifford 
lectures, " The World and the Individ- 
ual," Bradley s Appearance and Reality, 
and A. E. Taylor s Elements of " Meta 
physics," present themselves immediately 
to one s mind. 

WILLIAM JAMES. 

Chocorua, tf. H., June 21, 1904. 



XIX 



PREFACE TO THE SECOND 
EDITION 

rHE first edition of this little 
book appeared in the year 1 836 
under the pen name of "Mises" 
and was published by my friend, long 
since dead, the book-deakr and com 
poser, Ch. F. Grimmer. It made its 
way quietly, like the first edition of its 
authors life, of which the little book was 
a part, while cherishing the expectation 
of a second. With the years of the 
one first edition, the copies of the other, 
without being yet quite exhausted, are 
diminishing. 

While I dedicate this second edition, 
issued from another friendly publishing 
xxi 



PREFACE 

house, and under my own name, to the 
beloved daughters of my departed friend, 
in whom is continued for us that knew him 
all that we loved in him, I believe, in 
the sense of the very view which is set 
forth in this book, that I am giving 
it back to my friend in the way he 
would best like. He has, indeed, a per 
petual spiritual claim upon the earlier 
material; for it onginated mainly as 
the result of talks with him about an 
idea of our mutual friend Billroth, 
which, though cursorily expressed and 
held by the latter, yet took deep root in 
the heart of the author. It was a little 
seed, a tree has grown from it; he has 
helped to loosen the earth for it. 

Let me here add a wish: that there 
might be a revival of my friends songs, 
xxii 



PREFACE 

so beautiful and so forgotten, as well as 
of this half-forgotten little book. The 
creation of both went on so hand in hand 
during a period of daily companion- 
ship, that they seem to echo and re-echo in 
my memory like intermingled melodies. 
Simple as their charm is, may they have 
a duration even beyond that of the music 
of the future; for sound drowns beauty, 
yet beauty outlives sound, and what 
begins loud cannot so end. But if I 
did not believe that the same is true 
of truth as of beauty, how should I 
hope for a future for the opinions of 
Ms book ? 

The reason for exchanging the former 

pen-name now for the author s own, was 

personal. The little paper at its first 

appearance was a divergence from the 

xxiii 



PREFACE 

chief characteristics of the author s other 
works; but it became the firstling of a 
series of later writings, appearing under 
his own name, which, in their contents, 
conform to it more or less, and to which 
it may therefore be added by the ascrip 
tion of a common origin. Finally, their 
grouping results from the consideration 
that they combine with the work before us 
to form a connected theory of life which 
partly supports, partly is supported by 
the contents of this book. A further 
carrying out of this view, only briefly 
developed here, may be found in the 
tMrd part of the Zend-Avesta. 

This edition has only been altered in 
unimportant respects, extended in sev 
eral, from the former. 



XXIV 



PREFACE TO THE THIRD 
EDITION 

/T is sufficient to remark that, except 
by tlie addition of a note upon 
page 57, and the omission of an 
easily controverted appendix (on the prin 
ciple of divine vision) at the close of the 
last edition, the present one only differs 
from the former in unimportant changes 
of a few words. 



The fourth edition, the first after the 
authors death, is a faithfully rendered 
reprint of the third, cJianged only in 
form. 

THE PUBLISHERS. 

March, 1900. 

XXV 






APPENDIX TO THE FIRST 
EDITION 

rHE first suggestion of the idea 
worked out in this paper, that 
the spirits of the dead continue 
to exist in the living as individuals, 
came to me through a conversation with 
my friend Professor Billroth, then liv 
ing in Leipzig, now in Halle. While 
this idea, in a series of related images, 
both appealed to me and awakened 
kindred ones, it took prominent sJiape, 
and through a sort of enforced pro 
gression extended to the idea of a higher 
Ufe of spirits in God. Meanwhile the 
originator, as in the philosophy of reli- 
xxvii 



APPENDIX, FIRST EDITION 

gion in general, so especially in the doc 
trine of immortality, took a quite differ 
ent line from this, conforming more 
directly to the church dogma, which led 
him away, for the most part, if not wholly, 
from this fundamental idea, so that, while 
I had thought it necessary to point to 
him as its author, I no longer venture 
to call him its advocate. The views of 
this philosopher upon the subject in ques 
tion will be developed in a work by him 
shortly to appear. 

Written in Gastein in 
August, 1835. 



XXV111 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 



CHAPTER I 

MAN lives upon the earth not 
once, but three times. His 
first stage of life is a continu 
ous sleep ; the second is an alternation 
between sleeping and waking ; the third 
is an eternal waking. 

In the first stage man lives alone in 
darkness ; in the second he lives with 
companions, near and among others, 
but detached and in a light which pic 
tures for him the exterior ; in the third 
his life is merged with that of other souls 
into the higher life of the Supreme 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

Spirit, and he discerns the reality of 
ultimate things. 

In the first stage the body is devel 
oped from the germ and evolves its 
equipment for the second ; in the 
second the spirit unfolds from its seed- 
bud and realizes its powers for the third ; 
in the third is developed the divine 
spark which lies in every human soul, 
and which, already here through per 
ception, faith, feeling, the intuition of 
Genius, demonstrates the world beyond 
man to the soul in the third stage as 
clear as day, though to us obscure. 

The passing from the first to the 
second stage is called birth ; the transi 
tion from the second to the third is 
called death. 

The way upon which we pass from 
the second to the third stage is not 
2 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

darker than that by which we reach the 
second from the first. The one leads to 
the outer, the other to the inner aspect 
of the world. 

But as the child in the first stage is 
still blind and deaf to all the glory and 
joy of the life of the second, and his 
birth from the warm body of his mother 
is hard and painful, with a moment when 
the dissolution of his earlier existence 
feels like death, before the awakening 
to the new environment without has 
occurred, so we in our present exist 
ence, in which our whole consciousness 
lies bound in our contracted body, as 
yet know nothing of the splendor and 
harmony, the radiance and freedom of 
the third stage, and easily hold the 
dark and narrow way which leads us 
into it as a blind pitfall which has no 
3 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

outlet. But death is only a second 
birth into a freer existence, in which 
the spirit breaks through its slender 
covering and abandons inaction and 
sloth, as the child does in its first 
birth. 

Then all, which with our present 
senses only reaches us as exterior and, 
as it were, from afar, we become pene 
trated with and possessed of in all its 
depth of reality. The spirit will no 
longer wander over mountain and field, 
or be surrounded by the delights of 
spring, only to mourn that it all seems 
exterior to him ; but, transcending 
earthly limitations, he will feel new 
strength and joy in growing. He will 
no longer struggle by persuasive words 
to produce a thought in others, but in 
the immediate influence of souls upon 
4 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

each other, no longer separated by the 
body, but united spiritually, he will ex 
perience the joy of creative thought ; 
he will not outwardly appear to the 
loved ones left behind, but will dwell 
in their inmost souls, and think and 
act in and through them. 



CHAPTER II 

THE unborn child has merely 
a corporeal frame, a forming 
principle. The creation and 
development of its limbs by which it 
reaches full growth are its own acts. 
It has not yet the feeling that these 
parts are its possession, for it needs 
them not and cannot use them. A 
fine eye, a beautiful mouth, are to him 
only objects to be secured uncon 
sciously, so that they may sometime 
become serviceable parts of himself. 
They are made for a subsequent world 
of which the child as yet knows noth 
ing: it fashions them by virtue of an 
impulse, blind to him, which is clearly 
6 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

established alone in the organization of 
the mother. 1 But when the child, ripe 
for the second stage of life, slips away 
from the organ representing the provi- 

1 It may thus be more clearly stated to the 
physiologist : The creative principle of the child 
lies, before birth, not in that which after birth 
will continue to live on with him, which indeed 
now is only dependence, the product, but in that 
which at birth will remain behind and be cast off, 
like the body of man in death placenta cum puni- 
culo umbilicali, velamentis ovi eorumque liquoribufi) : 
out of its activity emerges, as its continuation, the 
young human being. 

[In the embryonic period it seemed to the 
child that the placenta was its body, and it was 
actually its special embryonic body, useless in an 
other stage, and rejected as refuse at the moment 
of birth. Our body in human life is like a second 
envelope which is useless to the third life, and for 
this reason we reject it at the moment of our 
second birth. Human life as compared with the 
celestial is truly embryonic. ELIPHAS LEVI.] 

The translator. 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

sion for his former needs, it leaves it 
behind, and suddenly sees itself an in 
dependent union of all its created parts. 
This eye, ear, and mouth now belong to 
him ; and even if acquired only through 
an obscure inborn sense, he is learning 
to know their precious uses. The world 
of light, color, tone, perfume, taste, 
and feeling is only now revealed as the 
arena in which the functions acquired 
to that end are to operate for him, if he 
makes them serviceable and strong. 

The relation of the first stage to the 
second recurs in a higher degree in the 
relations of the second to the third. 
Our whole action and will in this world 
is exactly calculated to procure for us 
an organism, which, in the next world, 
we shall perceive and use as our Self. 
All spiritual influences, all results of 
8 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

the manifestations which in the life 
time of a man go forth from him, to be 
interwoven with humanity and nature, 
are already united by a secret and in 
visible bond ; they are the spiritual 
limbs of the man, which he exercises 
during life while still bound to a spirit 
ual body, to an organism full of unsat 
isfied, upreaching powers and activities, 
the consciousness of which still lies out 
side him, though inseparably interwoven 
with his present existence, yet, only in 
abandoning this, can he recognize it as 
his own. 

But in the moment of death, when 
the man is separated from the organ 
upon which his acquisitive efforts were 
bent here, he suddenly receives the con 
sciousness of all, which as a result of 
his earlier exterior life in the world 
9 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

of ideas, powers, and activities, still sur 
vives, prevails, flowing out as from a 
well-spring, while still bearing also 
within himself his organic unity. 

This, however, now becomes living, 
conscious, independent, and, according 
to his destiny, controls mankind and 
nature with his own completed individual 
power. 

Whatever any one has contributed 
during his life, of creation, formation, 
or preservation, to the sum of human 
idealism, is his immortal part, which, 
in the third stage, will continue to 
operate even if the body, to which, in 
the second, this working power was 
bound, were long since destroyed. What 
millions who have died have acquired, 
performed, and thought, has not died 
with them nor will it be undone by 
10 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

what the next millions shall have ac 
quired, performed, and thought, but con 
tinues its power, unfolds itself in them 
spontaneously, impels them towards a 
great goal which they do not themselves 
perceive. 

This ideal survival seems indeed to 
us only an abstraction, and the continued 
influence of the soul of the dead in the 
living but an empty fancy. 

But it only appears so to us because 
we have no power to perceive in them 
spirits in the third stage, to comprehend 
a predestined and permanent existence ; 
we can only recognize the connecting 
link of their existence with ours, the 
portion of increase within us, appearing 
under the form of those ideas whieh 
have been transmitted from them to 
us. Although the undulating circle 
ii 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

which a sinking stone leaves behind it 
in the water creates, by its contact, a 
new circle around every rock which still 
projects above the surface, it still retains 
in itself a connected circumference which 
stirs and carries all within its reach ; but 
the rocks are only aware of the break 
ing of the perfect line. We are just 
such ignorant objects, only that we, un 
like fixed rocks, while even still in life, 
shed about us a continuous flow of 
influence which extends itself not only 
around others but within them. 

Already, in fact, during his lifetime, 
every man with his influence grows into 
others through word, example, writing, 
and deed. While Goethe lived, con 
temporary millions bore within them 
sparks from his soul, and were thereby 
newly kindled. In Napoleon s life nearly 

12 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

the whole period was penetrated by the 
force of his spirit. With their death 
these tributary sources of life did not 
also die ; only the motive power of a 
new earth-born channel expired, and the 
growth and manifestation of this, ema 
nating from an individual, and in their 
totality again forming an individual, 
production now takes place with a 
similar indwelling consciousness, incom 
prehensible indeed to us, as was its 
first inception. A Goethe, a Schiller, 
a Napoleon, a Luther, still live among 
us, thinking and acting in us, as awak 
ened creative individuals, more highly 
developed than at their death each no 
longer restrained by the limitations of the 
body, but poured forth upon the world 
which in their lifetime they moulded, 
gladdened, swayed, and in their per- 
13 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

sonality far surpassing the influences 
which we still discern as coming from 
them. 

The greatest example of a mighty 
soul which still lives on actively in 
after-ages is Christ. It is not an 
empty saying that Christ lives on in his 
followers ; every true Christian holds 
him not only relatively but absolutely 
within his heart. Every one is a par 
taker in him who acts and thinks in 
obedience to his law, for it is the Christ 
that prompts this thinking and acting 
in each. He has extended his influ 
ence through all the members of his 
Church and all cling together through 
his Spirit, like the apple to its stem, the 
branches to the vine. " For as the body 
is one, and hath many members, and 
all the members of that one body, being 
14 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

many, are one body : so also is Christ." 
(1 Cor. xii. 12. 1 ) Yet not only the 
greatest souls, but every strong man 
awakes in the next world in conscious 
though incomplete possession of an 
organism which is a union of eternal 
spiritual acquirements and influences, 
with a greater or smaller extent of re 
alization, and more or less power to 
unfold further, according as the soul 
of the man himself in his lifetime has 
advanced and gained ground. But he 
who has clung to the earth, and has 
only used his powers in pursuit of the 
material life, the pleasures and needs of 
the body, will find but an insignificant 

1 Many biblical parallels similar to this are 
placed together in Zend-Avesta III. p. 363, and 
"drei Motiven und Grunden des Glaubens," 
p. 178. 

15 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

remnant of life surviving. And so the 
richest will become the poorest if he 
has only his gold to lean upon, and the 
poorest the richest if he uses his strength 
to win his life honestly. For what each 
does here he will have there, and money 
there will only count for what it brought 
the consumer here. 

The problems of our present spiritual 
life, the thirst for the discovery of truth, 
which here seems to profit us but little, 
the striving of every genuine soul to 
accomplish things which are merely for 
the good of posterity, conscience, and 
the repentance that arouses in us an 
unfathomable distress for bad actions, 
even though they bring us no disad 
vantage here, rise from haunting pre 
sentiments of what all this will bring 
to us in that world in which the fruit 
16 



LIFE AFTLrt DEATH 

of our slightest and most hidden ac 
tivity becomes a part of our true self. 
This is the great justice of creation, 
that every one makes for himself the 
conditions of his future life. Deeds 
will not be requited to the man 
through exterior rewards or punish 
ments ; there is no heaven and no 
hell in the usual sense of the Christian, 
the Jew, the heathen, into which the 
soul may enter after death. It makes 
neither a spring upward nor a fall down 
ward, nor comes to a standstill ; it does 
not break asunder, nor dissolve into 
the universal ; but, after it has passed 
through the great transition, death, it 
unfolds itself according to the unalter 
able law of nature upon earth ; steadily 
advancing step by step, and quietly 
approaching and entering into a higher 
17 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

existence. And, according as the man 
has been good or bad, has behaved nobly 
or basely, was industrious or idle, will 
he find himself possessed of an organ 
ism, healthy or sick, beautiful or hate 
ful, strong or weak, in the world to 
come, and his free activity in this world 
will determine his relation to other 
souls, his destiny, his capacity and tal 
ents for further progress in that world. 

Therefore be active and brave. For 
the idler here will halt there, the earth- 
bound will be of a dull and weak coun 
tenance, and the false and wicked will 
feel the discord which his presence 
makes in the company of true and pure 
spirits as a pain, which, even in that 
world, will still impel him to amend and 
cure the evil which he has committed 
in this, and will allow him no peace nor 
18 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

rest until he has wiped out and atoned 
for his smallest and latest evil deed. 

And if his companion spirits have for 
long rested in God, or rather lived as 
partakers in His thoughts, he will still 
be pursued by the tribulation and rest 
lessness of the earthly life, and his 
spiritual disorder will torment men with 
ideas of error and superstition, lead 
them into vice and folly, and while he 
himself is retarded on his way to 
achievement in the third stage, he also 
will hold back those in whom he sur 
vives, upon their path from the second 
to the third. 

But however long the false, the evil, 
and the base may still prevail and 
struggle for its life with the true, the 
beautiful, and the good, yet through 
the ever-increasing power of truth, and 
19 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

the growing force of evil s own self- 
destructive results, it will at last be 
conquered and abolished ; and so of all 
falsehood, all evil, all impurity in the 
soul of man, there wiU at last be noth 
ing left. That alone is the eternal, 
imperishable part of a man that is to 
him true, beautiful, and good. And if 
only a grain of mustard-seed of it is in 
him there could be no one without 
it so, purged of chaff and dross 
through the purgatory of life, afflict 
ing only the imperfect, it will sur 
vive in the third stage, and, even if 
late, be able to grow into a noble 
tree. 

Rejoice then, even you whose soul is 

here tried by tribulation and sorrow ; 

the discipline will avail much, which in 

the brave struggle with obstacles in the 

20 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

path of progress you have experienced in 
this life, and, born into the new life with 
more strength, you will more quickly 
and joyfully recover what fate has 
denied you here. 



21 



CHAPTER III 

MAN uses many means to one 
end ; God one means to many 
ends. 

The plant thinks it is in its place for 
its own purpose, to grow, to toss in the 
wind, to drink in light and air, to pre 
pare fragance and color for its own 
adornment, to play with beetles and 
bees. It is indeed there for itself, but 
at the same time it is only one pore of 
the earth, in which light, air, and water 
meet and mingle in processes important 
to the whole earthly life; it is there 
in order that the earth may exhale, 
breathe, weave for itself a green gar 
ment and provide nourishment, raiment 
22 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

and warmth for men and animals. 
Man thinks that he is in his place 
for himself alone, for amusement, for 
work, and getting his bodily and mental 
growth ; he, too, is indeed there for 
himself; but his body and mind are 
also but a dwelling place into which 
new and higher impulses enter, mingle, 
and develop, and engage in all sorts of 
processes together, which both consti 
tute the feeling and thinking of the 
man, and have their higher meaning 
for the third stage of life. 

The mind of man is alike indistin- 
guishably his own possession and that 
of the higher intelligences, and what 
proceeds from it belongs equally to 
both always, but in different ways. 
Just as in this figure, which is intended 
not for a representation but only a 
23 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

symbol, the central, colored, six-rayed 
star (looking black here) can be consid 
ered as independent and having unity 
in itself; its rays proceeding from the 




middle point are all thereby depend- 
ently and harmoniously bound together ; 
on the other hand, it appears again min 
gled together from the concatenation 
of the six single colored circles, each one 
24 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

of which has its own individuality. And 
as each of its rays belongs as well to 
it as to the circles, through the over 
lapping of which it is formed, so is it 
with the human soul. 

Man does not often know from whence 
his thoughts come to him : he is seized 
with a longing, a foreboding, or a joy, 
which he is quite unable to account for ; 
he is urged to a force of activity, or a 
voice warns him away from it, without 
his being conscious of any special cause. 
These are the visitations of spirits, which 
think and act in him from another 
centre than his own. Their influence 
is even more manifest in us, when, in 
abnormal conditions (clairvoyance or 
mental disorder) the really mutual rela 
tion of dependence between them and 
us is determined in their favor, so that we 
25 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

only passively receive what flows into us 
from them, without return on our part. 
But so long as the human soul is 
awake and healthy, it is not the weak 
plaything or product of the spirits which 
grow into it or of which it appears to 
be made up, but precisely that which 
unites these spirits, the invisible centre, 
possessing primitive living energy, full 
of spiritual power of attraction, in which 
all unite, intersect, and through mutual 
communication engender thoughts in 
each other, this is not brought into 
being by the mingling of the spirits, 
but is inborn in man at his birth ; and 
free will, self-determination, conscious 
ness, reason, and the foundation of all 
spiritual power are contained herein. 
But at birth all this lies still latent 
within, like an unopened seed, awaiting 
26 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

development into an organism full of 
vital individual activity. 

So when man has entered into life 
other spirits perceive it and press for 
ward from all sides and seek to add his 
strength to theirs in order to reinforce 
their own power, but while this is suc 
cessful, their power becomes at the same 
time the possession of the human soul 
itself, is incorporated with it and assists 
its development. 

The outside spirits established within 
a man are quite as much subjected to 
the influence of the human will, though 
in a different way, as man is dependent 
upon them ; he can, from the centre of 
his spiritual being, equally well produce 
new growth in the spirits united to him 
within, as these can definitely influence 
his deepest life ; but in harmoniously 
27 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

developed spiritual life no one will has 
the mastery over another. As every 
outside spirit has only a part of itself in 
common with a single human being, so 
can the will of the single man have a 
suggestive influence alone upon a spirit 
which with its whole remaining part lies 
outside the man ; and since every human 
mind contains within itself something 
in common with widely differing out 
side spirits, so too can the will of a 
single one among them have only a 
quickening influence upon the whole 
man, and only when he, with free 
choice, wholly denies himself to single 
spirits is he deprived of the capacity to 
master them. 

All spirits cannot be united indis 
criminately in the same soul ; therefore 
the good and bad, the true and false 
28 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

spirits contend together for possession 
of it, and the one who conquers in the 
struggle holds the ground. 

The interior discord which so often 
finds place in men is nothing but this 
conflict of outside spirits who wish to 
get possession of his will, his reason, in 
short, his whole innermost being. As 
the man feels the agreement of spirits 
within him as rest, clearness, harmony, 
and safety, he is also conscious of their 
discord as unrest, doubt, vacillation, 
confusion, enmity, in his heart. But 
not as a prize won without effort, or 
as a willing victim, does he fall to the 
stronger spirits in this contest, but, 
with a source of self-active strength 
in the centre of his being, he stands 
between the contending forces within 
which wish to draw him to themselves, 
29 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

and fights on whichever side he chooses ; 
and so he can carry the day even for 
the weaker impulses, when he joins his 
strength to theirs against the stronger. 
The Self of the man remains unendan- 
gered so long as he preserves the inborn 
freedom of his power and does not be 
come tired of using it. As often, how 
ever, as he becomes subject to evil spirits, 
is it because the development of his 
interior strength is hindered by dis 
couragement, and so, to become bad, 
it is often only necessary to be careless 
and lazy. 

The better the man already is, the 
easier it is for him to become still better ; 
and the worse he is, so much the more 
easily is he quite ruined. For the good 
man has already harbored many good 
spirits, which are now associated with 
30 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

him against the evil ones remaining 
and those freshly pressing for entrance, 
and are saving for him his interior 
strength. The good man does good 
without weariness, his spirits do it for 
him ; but the bad man must first over 
come and subdue by his own will all the 
evil spirits which have striven against 
him. Moreover, kin seeks and unites 
itself to kin, and flees from its opposite 
when not forced. Good spirits in us 
attract good spirits outside us, and the 
evil spirits in us the evil outside. Pure 
spirits turn gladly to enter a pure soul, 
and evil without fastens upon the evil 
within. If only the good spirits in 
our souls have gained the upper hand, 
so of itself the last devil still remain 
ing behind in us flees away, he is not 
secure in good society ; and so the soul 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

of a good man becomes a pure and 
heavenly abiding place for happy in 
dwelling spirits. But even good spirits, 
if they despair of winning a soul from 
the final mastery of evil, desert it, and 
so it becomes at last a hell, a place fit 
only for the torments of the damned. 
For the agony of conscience and the 
inner desolation and unrest in the soul 
of the wicked are sorrows which, not 
they alone, but the condemned spirits 
within them also, feel in still deeper 
woe. 



CHAPTER IV 

WHILE the higher spirits not 
only dwell in individual men, 
but each extends itself into 
many, it is they who unite these men 
spiritually, whether of one form of 
faith or truth, of one moral or political 
leaning. All men who have any spirit 
ual fellowship with each other belong 
to the body of one and the same spirit 
together, and follow the ideal which has 
thereby been born within them, as mem 
bers one of another. Often an idea 
lives at one time in a whole nation, 
often is a mass of men moved to one 
and the same action ; that is a mighty 
spirit which seizes them all in one con- 
3 33 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

tagious influence. Not alone, indeed, 
through the spirits of the dead do these 
alliances occur, but countless new-born 
ideas flow from the living to the living ; 
all these ideas, however, which go forth 
from the living into the world are 
already parts of its future spiritual 
organism. 

Now when two kindred spirits meet 
in human life and are merged together 
through their common sentiments, while 
simultaneously, through their differing 
traits, they mutually influence and en 
rich each other, at the same time the 
associations, races, nations, to which 
each first belonged, enter into spirit 
ual association and enrich each other 
through their spiritual possessions. So 
the development of the third stage of 
life in mankind goes on hand in hand 
34 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

inseparably with that of the progress 
of humanity. The gradual formation 
of the state, of sciences, of the arts, of 
human intercourse, the growth of this 
sphere of life to an ever-increasing 
harmoniously constructed whole, is the 
result of this union of innumerable 
spiritual individualities which live in 
humanity and fashion it into great 
spiritual organisms. 

How otherwise could these glorious 
realms, based upon such unalterable 
principles, be formed out of the tangled 
egotism of individuals, who, with their 
short-sighted eyes, from the centre could 
see no circumference, and at the cir 
cumference could discern no centre, if 
the higher spirits, seeing clearly through 
the whole, did not control the machin 
ery, and, while they all press around the 
35 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

common divine centre, and so in their 
godlike part meet together, also lead 
the men whom they influenced, united 
on to higher goals. 

But beside the harmony of spirits 
which meet and fraternize amicably, 
there is also a conflict of those whose 
existence is in disagreement, a struggle 
which will at last wear itself out, 
so that the eternal in its purity shall 
alone survive. Traces of this warring 
of forces are manifested by mankind 
in the rivalry of systems, in sectarian 
hatred, in wars and revolutions between 
princes and people, and the nations 
among each other. 

The mass of men enter into all these 

great spiritual movements with blind 

faith, blind obedience, blind hatred and 

rage ; they hear and see nothing with 

36 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

their own spiritual ears and eyes ; they 
are driven by alien spirits toward objects 
and goals of which they themselves 
know nothing ; they allow themselves 
to be led through slavery, death, and 
terrible affliction, like a flock following 
the call of the higher leadership. 

There are, indeed, men who engage 
in this great agitation, acting and lead 
ing with clear consciousness and deep 
purpose. But they are only voluntary 
means to great predestined ends ; being 
able, indeed, through their free action to 
determine the quality and rapidity, but 
not the goal of progress. Those only 
have had great influence in the world 
who have recognized the spiritual ten 
dency of the time in which they lived 
and have directed their free action and 
thought into that tendency: equally 
37 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

strong men who have resisted it have 
been overthrown. Every one who has 
set before him higher aims, and knows 
better ways thither, has chosen a new 
central point for his motive power ; not 
as a blind tool, but as one who from 
his own impulse and understanding 
serves righteousness and wisdom. The 
brow-beaten slave does not render the 
best service. But in whatever way men 
begin to serve God here they will carry 
further there, as partakers of His divine 
glory. 



CHAPTER V 

IT is, indeed, possible for the spirits 
of the living and the dead to meet 
unconsciously in many ways, and 
also consciously only on one side. 
Who can pursue and trace out this 
whole line of communication ? Let us 
say briefly : they meet together when 
in mutual consciousness, and the dead 
are present wherever they are so con 
sciously. 

One means there is of attaining the 
highest conscious meeting between the 
living and the dead ; it is the memory 
of the living for the dead. To direct 
our attention to the dead is to awaken 
theirs to us, just as a charm which 
39 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

is found in a living person encourages 
a corresponding attraction toward the 
one perceiving it. 

Although our memory of the dead 
is but a new consciousness, in retro 
spect, of the results of their known life 
here, yet the life on the other side will 
be led conformably to that in this world. 

Even when one living person thinks 
of another, a conscious mutual impulse 
may be aroused : but it is inoperative 
because of the still present confines of 
the body. Once released, however, by 
death, that consciousness seeks its own 
realm and is then borne upon a current 
the more swift and strong, as it has 
previously been exerted and manifested 
with frequency and power. 

Now just as one and the same physi 
cal blow is felt at the same time by 
40 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

the giver and the receiver, so is it but 
a single shock of consciousness that is 
experienced on both sides when one 
recalls the dead to memory. Realizing 
alone this earthly side of consciousness, 
we err because we fail to discern the 
other : and this failure brings results of 
error and loss. 

One beloved person is parted from 
another, a wife from a husband, a 
mother from a child. In vain do they 
search in a distant heaven the part 
of their lives that has been torn from 
them ; in vain they reach out into the 
void with eye and hand after that which 
in reality has never been taken away 
from them ; because out of the exterior 
relations of mutual adjustment and 
understanding, the threads of which 
are now broken, has sprung out of the 
41 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

depths of interior consciousness a deep 
and unobstructed union, as yet unfamil 
iar and unrecognized. 

I saw once a mother anxiously seeking 
through garden and house for her living 
child which she was carrying in her 
arms. Still more mistaken is he who 
seeks for his dead in a remote and 
deserted place, when he had but to 
look within to find him still present. 
And if she does not find him wholly 
there, did the mother then completely 
possess her child even while she was 
carrying him in her arms ? The satis 
factions of the outward relations, the 
spoken word, the glance of the eye, the 
personal care, she can no more have or 
give ; now for the first time she has 
those of the inner life ; she must simply 
recognize that there is such an interior 
42 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

relation with its advantages. No word 
is spoken, no hand extended to the one 
who we think is not present. But if 
we knew all, a new life is to begin for 
the living and the dead, and the dead 
gain thereby as well as the living. 

If we think of the dead rightly, 
not merely holding him in mind, he is 
at that moment present. If you can 
deeply summon him, he must come, if 
you hold him fast, he must remain, 
if sense and thought are strong enough 
to bind and retain him. And he will 
perceive whether we think of him with 
love or with hatred ; and the stronger 
the love or the stronger the hatred, the 
more clearly he will discern it. Once, 
indeed, you had a remembrance of the 
dead now you are able to use that 
remembrance ; you can still knowingly 
43 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

bless or torment the dead with your 
memories, be reconciled to them or re 
main in a state of conflict not alone 
consciously to you but also to them. 
Have the best constantly in mind, and 
be careful only that the memory that 
you yourself are to leave behind shall 
be a blessing to you in the future. Well 
for him who leaves behind him a treasure 
of love, esteem, honor, and admiration 
in the memory of men. Such enrich 
ment is his gain in death, since he ac 
quires the condensed consciousness of 
the whole earthly estimate concerning 
him ; he grasps in full measure the 
bushel, of which in life he could count 
but a few kernels. This belongs to 
the treasure which we are to lay up 
in heaven. 

Woe to him who is followed by exe- 
44 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

cration, cursing, and a memory full of 
dread. Those whom he influenced in 
this life will not release him in death ; 
this belongs to the hell which is await 
ing him. Every reproach that pursues 
him is like an arrow which, with sure 
aim, enters into his inmost soul. 

But only in the totality of results 
which evolves itself from good and evil 
alike is justice fulfilled. The righteous 
who were here misunderstood must in 
evitably suffer from it there as from a 
misfortune ; and to the unrighteous an 
unjust reputation will serve as an out 
ward advantage ; therefore, keep your 
good name as pure as possible here below 
and " hide not thy light under a bushel." 
But among the spirits in that other 
sphere even misunderstanding shall 
cease ; what was here held as false 
45 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

shall there be found true and by in 
crease be given additional weight. 
Divine justice overcomes at last all 
human injustice. 

Whatever awakens the memory of 
the dead is a means of calling them to 
us. 

At every festival which we devote to 
them they rise up ; they float about 
every monument which we raise to 
them ; they listen to every song with 
which we praise their deeds. A life 
germ for a new art ! How antiquated 
had these old dramas become, produced 
over and over again to the weary spec 
tators. Now all at once, above the 
ground floor with its expanse of old 
onlookers, there is revealed, as it were, 
an encircling realm from which a higher 
company is seen to be looking down, 
46 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

and straightway it becomes the highest 
aim of men to grow into the likeness 
of those above rather than those below, 
to realize, not the desires of those below, 
but of those above. 

The scoffers scoff and the churches 
contend. It is a question of a secret, 
irrational to some, rational to others, 
both because to one and the other a 
greater mystery remains unrevealed, 
from the disclosure of which comes 
quite clearly and obviously the rock 
upon which the mind of the scoffer and 
the unity of the church have been 
wrecked. For it is only a supreme 
example of a universal law in which 
they discern an exception to and above 
all laws. 

Not alone through the consecrated 
bread and wine does Christ reach His 
47 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

followers at the Holy Supper ; partake 
of it in pure remembrance of Him, and 
He, with His thought, will be not only 
with you, but in you ; the more deeply, 
as you hold Him more closely in your 
heart ; the more vitally, with so much 
the more strength will He fortify you ; 
yet, without communion with Him, the 
sacrament remains but meal and water 
and common wine. 



48 



CHAPTER VI 

THE longing in every man to 
meet again after death those 
who were most dear to him 
here, to have communication with them, 
renewing the old relations, will be sat 
isfied in a more perfect degree than 
was ever anticipated or hoped for. 

For in that life those who were united 
here by a common spiritual bond will 
not only meet but will have become 
one through this bond ; there will be 
for them a unified soul belonging with 
a common consciousness to both. For 
already, indeed, are the dead with the 
living, as are the living themselves, 
bound together by countless such com- 
4 49 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

mon ties ; but only when death loosens 
the knot and removes the body which 
envelops every living soul, will there 
be added to the union of consciousness 
the consciousness of union. 

Every one in the moment of death 
will perceive that he still has a place 
and belongs in the company with those 
gone before, from whom through com 
mon interests he has received help, and 
so will not enter into the third world as 
a strange guest, but like one long ex 
pected, to whom all with whom he was 
here united through a common faith, 
knowledge, and love, will stretch out 
their hands to draw him to themselves 
as a partaker of their existence. 

Into similar deep fellowship shall we 
also enter with those great dead who 
long before our time wandered through 
50 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

the second stage of life, and upon whose 
example and teaching our own spirit 
was moulded. So, whoever here lived 
wholly in Christ will there be also wholly 
in Him. Yet his individuality will not 
be extinguished in the higher one, but 
only gain in power from it, and at the 
same time reinforce the strength of the 
higher. For those souls which have 
grown together as one through their 
moments of sympathy, gain force each 
from the other for itself, and at the 
same time confirmation as individuals 
through the union of their diversities. 

So, many souls will mutually 
strengthen each other in the greater 
part of their nature ; others are con 
nected only by a few corresponding 
qualities. 

Not all these ties based upon cer- 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

tain spiritual experiences in common 
will be permanent, but they will be so 
when they are within the realm of truth, 
beauty, and virtue. 

All that does not bear within itself 
eternal harmony, even if it survives this 
life, will yet at last come to naught and 
will cause a separation of those souls 
which for a time had been united in an 
unworthy alliance. 

Most spiritual perceptions which are 
developed in the present life, and which 
we take over into the next, bear, it is 
true, a germ of truth, goodness, and 
virtue within themselves, but enveloped 
in a large addition of unessential false 
ness, error, and corruption. Those spirits 
which remain united through such im 
pulses may so continue or they may 
separate, according as they both agree 
52 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

to hold fast to the good and the best, 
and to abandon the evil by their separa 
tion from evil spirits, or according as 
one seizes on the good and the other on 
the evil. 

Those souls, however, which have 
seized together upon a form or an idea 
of truth, beauty, or goodness in their 
eternal purity, remain thereby united 
to all eternity and in like manner pos 
sess these ideals as a part of themselves 
in everlasting unity. 

The comprehension of the higher 
thought by advanced souls means there 
fore their growth through this thought 
into greater spiritual organisms, and as 
all individual ideas have their root in 
the universal, so at last will all souls, in 
fellowship with the highest, be absorbed 
into the divine. 

53 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

The spiritual world in its consum 
mation will therefore be, not an assem 
bly, but a tree of souls, the root of which 
is planted on earth and whose summit 
reaches to the heavens. 

Only the highest and noblest spirits, 
Christ, the geniuses, the saints, are able 
to reach, out of their full knowledge, 
the centre of divinity face to face ; the 
smaller and lesser ones have their roots 
in these, as boughs in branches and 
twigs in boughs, and are thus con 
nected midway indirectly through them 
with the highest of the high. 

And so dead geniuses and saints are 
the true mediators between God and 
man ; partaking of the thought of God 
they are able to convey it to man, 
and at the same time feeling and un 
derstanding human sorrows, joys, and 
54 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

desires, they are able to lead him to 
God. 

Yet the worship of the dead stands 
in relation to the deified worship of 
nature, at the very beginning of re 
ligion, half related and half separated ; 
the most savage nations have retained 
it in its cruder, the most civilized in its 
higher form. And where to-day is there 
one which does not preserve a large 
fragment of it as its corner-stone ? 

And so there should be in every town 
a shrine for its greatest dead, built 
near or in the temple of God, and let 
Christ as heretofore dwell in the same 
temple as God himself. 



55 



CHAPTER VII 

" "1 ^OR now we see through a glass, 

darkly ; but then face to face : 

now I know in part ; but then 

shall I know even as also I am known." 

- 1 Cor. xiii. 12. 

Man lives here at once an outer and 
an inner life, the first all visible and 
audible in look, word, writing, in out 
ward affairs and works, the last percep 
tible to himself only through interior 
thoughts and feelings. The continua 
tion of the visible into the exterior is 
easily followed ; the development of 
the unseen remains itself invisible, but 
yet goes on. Rather the inner life of 
man progresses, with his outer life, as 
56 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

its nucleus, to form the nucleus of the 
future life. 

In fact, that which goes out visibly 
and perceptibly from man during his life 
time is not the only thing that ema 
nates from him. However small and 
fine the vibration or impulse may be by 
which a conscious emotion is carried to 
our minds, yet the whole play of con 
scious emotions is borne by an inward 
mental action, it cannot die out with 
out producing effects of its kind in us 
and at last beyond us ; only we cannot 
follow them into life outside. As little 
as can the lute keep its playing to itself, 
it is borne out beyond it, so little can 
our minds ; to the lute or the mind 
belongs only that which is closest to it. 
What an infinitely complex play of 
subtle waves having their origin in our 
57 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

minds may spread itself over the gross 
lower realm of action, perceptible to the 
outward eye and ear, like the fine rip 
ples on the large waves of a pond, or 
the flat designs on the surface of a 
closely woven carpet, which takes from 
them its whole beauty and higher mean 
ing. The physicist, however, recognizes 
and follows only the action of the lower 
exterior order, and does not concern 
himself with the finer, which he does 
not perceive. But even if he does not 
perceive it, yet knowing the principle, 
does he dare deny the result? 1 

1 Whether one attributes nervous energy to a 
chemical or an electrical process, one must still 
regard it, if not simply as the play of the vibra 
tion of minutest atoms, yet as in the main ex 
cited or accompanied by this, whereby the 
imponderable has a larger part than the ponder- 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

Therefore, what we have absorbed 
from souls through the influences of 
their outward perceptible life in this 
world does not yet comprise their whole 
being ; but, in a way incomprehensible 
to us, there still remains in their nature, 
besides that outward part, a deeper, 
indeed the chief part of their existence. 
And if a man had spent and ended his 
life on a desert island without ever hav 
ing come in contact with another human 
life, he would have firmly retained 
his inner existence, awaiting a future 
development, which in this world he 

able. Vibrations, however, can only apparently 
expire by extending themselves into their envi 
ronment, or if indeed they disappear for a time 
through translation of their living strength into 
so-called elasticity, yet, according to the law of 
the conservation of energy, they await a revival 
in some other form. 

59 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

could not find through intercourse with 
others. If on the other hand a child 
had lived but a moment, it could not 
die again in eternity. The least im 
pulse of conscious life surrounds itself 
with a circle of influences, just as the 
briefest tone, which in a moment seems 
to die, throws out vibrations which 
reach out into infinity, beyond those 
standing near by and listening ; for no 
influence expires in itself, and each pro 
duces others of its kind into eternity. 
And so will the soul of the child go on 
developing from this conscious begin 
ning like that of the man left in isola 
tion, only otherwise than as if beginning 
from an already advanced development. 
Now, just as man in death first re 
ceives the full consciousness of what he 
has produced spiritually in others, so also 
60 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

in death will he acquire for the first time 
complete knowledge and use of what 
he has cultivated in himself. What 
ever he has gathered during life of spirit 
ual treasure, what fills his memory or 
penetrates his feeling, what his intelli 
gence and imagination have created, 
remain forever his! Yet its whole 
connection remains dark in this life ; 
thought merely passes through with a 
light-giving ray and illuminates what 
Hes on the narrow line of his life, the 
rest remaining in obscurity. The soul 
here below never realizes all at once the 
entire depth of its fulness ; only when 
one of its impulses draws another into 
union with itself does it emerge for an 
instant from the darkness, only to sink 
back again in the next. So man is a 
stranger to his own soul and wanders 
61 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

about within it as he may, or wearily 
seeking the way to his life s end, and 
often forgets his best treasures, which, 
aside from the glowing path of thought, 
lie sunken in the darkness which covers 
the wide region of his soul. But in the 
moment of death, in which an eternal 
night darkens the eye of his body, light 
will begin to dawn in his soul. Then 
will the centre of the inner man kindle 
into a sun which illuminates his whole 
spiritual nature, and at the same time 
penetrates it as with an inner eye, with 
divine clearness. All which was here 
forgotten will he recover there, indeed 
he only forgot it here because it went 
before him into the other world ; now 
he finds it again collected. In that 
new universal luminousness he will no 
longer be obliged to seek out wearily 
62 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

what he would fain appropriate, separat 
ing his own from what he must reject, 
but at a glance he is able to under 
stand himself wholly, and at the same 
time to perceive the true relations be 
tween unity and diversity, connection 
and separation, harmony and discord, 
not only according to one line of thought 
but equally according to all. 1 As far as 
are the flight and vision of the bird above 
the slow crawling of the blind worm 
which perceives nothing beyond what 
its sluggish body touches, so greatly 

1 Even in this world, at the approach of death 
(by narcotics, in imminent drowning, or in exal 
tation) there occur flashes of recognition of the 
spiritual meaning of things, examples of which 
are recorded in Zend-Avesta III. s. 27, and 
(cases of threatened drowning) in Fechner s Cen- 
tralblatt fiir Naturwiss. und Anthropologie, 1853, 
s. 43 u. 623. 

63 



LIFE AFTER DEA TH 

will the higher knowledge transcend 
that of the present. And so in death, 
with the body of man will also pass 
away his mind, his understanding, in 
deed the whole finite dwelling-place of 
his soul, as forms become too narrow 
for its existence, as parts which are of 
no further use in an order of things in 
which all knowledge which they had 
to seek and discover gradually, labori 
ously, and imperfectly, he now has 
openly revealed, possessed, and enjoyed. 
The self of man, however, will subsist 
unimpaired in its full extent and de 
velopment through the destruction of 
its transitory forms, and, in the place of 
that extinct lower sphere of activity, 
will enter into a higher life. Stilled is 
all restlessness of thought, which no 
longer needs to seek in order to find 
64 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

itself, or to approach another to come 
into conscious mutual relations. Rather 
begins now a higher interchange of spir 
itual life ; as in our own minds thoughts 
interchange together, so between ad 
vanced souls there is a fellowship, the 
all-embracing centre of which we call 
God, and the J>lay of our thoughts is 
but tributary to this high communion. 
Speech will no longer be needed there 
for mutual understanding, and no eye 
for recognition of others, but as thought 
in us comprehends and relates itself to 
thought, without the medium of ear, 
mouth, or hand, unites or separates 
without exterior restraint or prohibition, 
so comforting, intimate, and untram 
melled will mutual spiritual communi 
cation be, and nothing will remain 
hidden in one from the other. All 
5 65 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

sinful thoughts which here slink away 
into the dark places of the mind, and all 
which man w r ould be glad to cover up 
from his kind with a thousand hands, 
become known to all. And only the 
soul which has been quite pure and 
true here can without shame come into 
the presence of others in that world; 
and he who has been misunderstood 
here on earth will there find recognition. 
And even in its individual life will 
the soul through self-inspection become 
aware of every deficiency and every 
remnant, left behind from this life, of 
imperfection, disturbance, and discord, 
and not only will it recognize these 
defects, but feel them, all in common, 
with the same force as we our bodily 
infirmities. But as thoughts can be 
cleansed from all that is unworthy, and 
66 



LITJ: Arn:n 



in moments of insight be united to still 
higher thoughts, each becoming thereby 
perfected in that which was lacking, 
even so will souls in their mutual in- 
tercourse find the path of progress to 
wards perfection. 



CHAPTER VIII 

DURING his lifetime man has 
not only spiritual but also 
material relations with nature. 
Heat, air, water, and earth press upon 
him from all sides, and go out from him 
back again, creating and transforming 
his body ; but as these elements, which 
outside of man only operate side by side, 
meet and mingle in him, they form a 
combination, that of man s bodily sensa 
tion, and at once this bodily sensation 
cuts off man s inner being from the sen 
sations of the outer world. Only through 
the windows of the senses is man able to 
look out from his bodily frame and real 
ize the outer world and, as it were, in 
68 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

small handfuls to draw something from 
it. 

But when man dies, with the destruc 
tion of his body that combination is 
loosened, and, released from its bondage 
to it, the soul will now return to nature 
with full freedom. He will no longer 
be conscious of the waves of light and 
sound only as they strike eye and ear, 
but, as the waves roll forth into the sea 
of ether and the sea of air, he will not 
merely feel the blowing of the wind and 
the wash of the waves against his body, 
but will himself murmur in the air and 
sea ; no more wander outwardly through 
verdant woods and meadows, but him 
self consciously pervade both wood and 
meadow and those wandering there. 

Therefore nothing is lost to him in the 
transition to the higher stage, except 

69 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

implements, the limited use of which 
he can dispense with in an existence 
in which he will carry and perceive 
within himself fully and directly all 
which in the lower stage came to him 
only fitfully and superficially through 
their dull mediation. Why should we 
take over into the life to come eye or 
ear to obtain light and sound from the 
spring of living nature, when the cur 
rent of our future life will merge as 
one with the waves of light and sound. 
Even more ! 

The human eye is only a little radiant 
spot upon the earth, arid only gets the 
impression in the firmament of points 
of light. Man s longing to know more 
of the universe is not here gratified. 

He discovers the telescope and mag 
nifies with it the surface, and so the 
70 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

capacity of his eye ; in vain, the stars 
still remain little points. 

Now he believes that he will attain 
in the next world what this life cannot 
grant, the final satisfaction of his curios 
ity ; that once in heaven he will imme 
diately perceive all that has been hidden 
from his earthly eyes. 

He is right; but he does not reach 
a heaven because he receives wings to 
fly from one planet to another or even 
into an unseen heaven over the visible 
one ; where in the nature of things 
could wings exist to that end ? He 
does not learn to know the whole uni 
verse, by being slowly borne from one 
planet to another in ever-repeated 
birth ; no stork is there to carry chil 
dren from one star to another ; his 
eye does not gain the capacity for 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

the infinite ethereal depths by being 
made into a great telescope ; the prin 
ciple of earthly sight will no longer 
suffice ; yet he will attain to all, in 
that, as a conscious part of the other 
life in the great heavenly existence that 
holds him, he wins a place in its high fel 
lowship with other divinely illuminated 
beings. A new vision ! Not for us here 
below, because no one of us has reached 
that plane. In the firmament the earth 
itself swims like a great eye wholly 
immersed in the vast star spaces, and 
swinging around therein, to receive from 
all sides the impact of waves which 
cross each other millions and millions of 
times and yet cause no disturbance. 
With this eye will man some time 
learn to discern the heavens, while the 
forward surging of his future life, with 
72 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

which he pierces it, meets and presses 
against the wave of the surrounding 
ether, and with finest pulsations pene 
trates the universe. Learn to see! 
And how much will man have to learn 
after death ! For he must not think 
that, at the first entrance, he will possess 
the whole divine perception for which 
the future life will offer him the means. 
Even here the child first learns to see 
and hear ; for what he sees and hears 
in the beginning is uncomprehended 
appearance, is mere sound without 
meaning at first indeed only bewilder 
ment, astonishment, and confusion ; and 
nothing different does the new life offer 
to the new child at first. Only what 
man brings with him from this life, the 
composite echo of memories of all he 
has done and thought and been here, 
73 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

does he see, in the transition, all at once 
clearly lighted up within itself, yet still 
he remains primarily only what he was. 
Neither does any one think that the 
glory of the other world shall result 
otherwise to the foolish, the idle, and 
the bad, than to make them feel the 
discord of their lives, and to empha 
size the necessity for reform. Already 
in the present life man brings with him 
an eye to behold the whole glory of 
heaven and earth, an ear to hear music 
and the speech of man, an understand 
ing to grasp the meaning of all this ; 
what does it avail to the foolish, the 
indolent, and the bad ? 

As the best and the highest in this 

life so is also the best and the highest 

in the other only there for the best 

and the highest, because alone by such 

74 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

understood, wished for, and acquired. 
Therefore, the higher man of the next 
world alone can gain a comprehension 
of the conscious intercourse in the exis 
tence into which he has passed with 
other divine beings, entering with them 
himself into this fellowship. 

Who knows whether the whole earth, 
revolving in an ever slowly narrowing 
orbit, will not return to the heart of 
the sun from which it came, after eons 
of years, and then a sun life of all 
earthly creatures will begin ; and where 
is the need of our knowing this now ? 



75 



CHAPTER IX 

SPIRITS of the third stage will 
dwell, as in a common body, in 
the earthly nature, of which man 
kind itself is a part, and all natural pro 
cesses will be the same to them as they 
are to us in our bodies. Their sub 
stance will encompass the forms of the 
second stage as a common mother, just 
as those of the second stage surrounded 
those of the first. 

Every soul of the third stage appro 
priates as its own share of the universal 
body only what it in the earthly realm 
has developed and accomplished. What 
a man has changed in this world by his 
76 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

life in it, that constitutes his further life 
in the universal existence. 

This consists partly of definite accom 
plishments and deeds, partly of actions 
continuously recurring, just as the 
earthly body is made up of fixed parts 
and of parts which are movable and 
supported by the fixed ones. 

All life circles of the higher spirits 
intersect each other, and you ask how 
it is possible that such numberless cir 
cles can intersect without disturbance, 
error, or confusion. 

Ask rather first, how it is possible 
that innumerable undulations in the 
same pond, waves of sound in the 
same air, waves of light in the same 
ether, pulses of memory in the same 
mind intersect, that, finally, the count 
less life circles of man, bearing their 
77 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

great future, already in this life inter 
sect without disturbance, error, or con 
fusion. Rather a far higher plane of 
life and growth is achieved through 
these vibrations and memories reach 
ing from this present life to the one 
beyond. 

But what separates the circles of con 
sciousness which cross each other ? 

Nothing separates them in any of 
those details in which they cross each 
other ; they have all characteristics in 
common ; only each stands in different 
relations from the other ; that separates 
them in general and distinguishes them 
in their higher individuality. Ask again 
what distinguishes or separates circles 
which intersect ; nothing separately ; 
yet you easily observe an outward dif 
ference yourself in general ; still more 
78 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

easily will centres which are themselves 
self-conscious also distinguish an inner 
difference. 

Perhaps you have sometimes received 
from a distant place a letter written 
across both ways. How do you de 
cipher both writings ? Only by the 
coherence which each has in itself. 
In like manner is crossed the spiritual 
handwriting with which the page of the 
world is filled ; and each is read by it 
self, as if it occupied the whole space, 
and the others, too, which overlie 
it. Not merely two, but innumerable 
letterings make a network of record 
on the earth ; the letter, however, is 
but an inadequate symbol of the 
world. 

Still, how can consciousness continue 
to preserve its unity in so large an ex- 
79 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

tension of its ground, how withstand the 
law of the threshold of consciousness ? 1 
Ask first, how it can preserve its unity 
in the smaller expanse of the body, of 
which the larger one is only the contin 
uation. Is, then, your body, is your 

1 This empirical law of the relation between 
body and soul consists in the fact that conscious 
ness everywhere ceases, if the bodily activity 
upon which it depends sinks below a certain de 
gree of strength, which is called the threshold. 
Now in proportion as it extends itself more widely, 
can it the more easily, on account of the accom 
panying weakness, fall below this level. As the 
total consciousness has its threshold, which makes 
the dividing line between sleeping and waking in 
the whole man, so, too, is it with the details of 
consciousness, whence it comes that during wak 
ing now this, now that idea presents itself or sinks 
out of sight, according as the particular activity 
upon which it depends rises above or sinks below 
the special threshold. (Compare " Elem. der Psy- 
chophysik," Kap. X, XXXVIII, XXXIX, and 
XLII.) 

80 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

brain a point ? or is there a central spot 
within as seat of the soul ? No. 1 As it 
is now the nature of the soul to main 
tain the limited composite of your 
body, so in the future will it be to 
unite the greater composite of the 
greater body. The divine spirit knits 
together, indeed, the whole fabric of the 
world ; or would you seek even for 
God in one point ? In that other world 
you will only acquire a larger part of 
His omnipresence. 

If you fear that the wave of your fu 
ture life will not in its extension reach 
the threshold which here it surmounts, 
remember that it does not spread itself 
into an empty world, then, indeed, 

1 Concerning this, compare " Elemente der 
Psychophysik," Kap. XXXVII, and " Atomen- 
lehre," Kap. XXVI. 

6 8l 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

would it sink helplessly into an abyss, 
but into a realm, which, as the eter 
nal foundation of God, at the same time 
becomes the foundation of your life, for 
only in virtue of the divine life is the 
creature able to live at all. 1 

1 In order not to permit an apparent contra 
diction of the above-mentioned speculation to the 
psychophysical doctrine of the combined-threshold 
(upon which the most enlightening word is in 
Wundt s philos. Stud., IV, s. 204 u. 211), note the 
following : If the psychophysical life-wave (to 
continue the use of this concise expression) of 
man, made up of components of the most manifold 
sort, should spread out into a world which con 
tained only different components, then, indeed, 
must it be assumed that it, in its extension, would 
fall below the combined-threshold here under 
consideration. Since, however, the psychophysi 
cal undulatory sea of the universe, among its other 
components, comprehends also such as are like to 
those of the human life-wave, and indeed of the 
most varying height or intensity, therefore such as 
already rise above or come near the level of the 
82 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

So a wren upon the back of an eagle 
can easily soar above a mountain-top, 
for which task he himself would be too 
weak, and at last, from the back of the 
eagle, fly still a bit higher than the eagle 
has flown with him. But God is the 
great eagle as He is the little bird. 

How can man after the death of the 
body do without his brain, so marvel 
lously constructed, that contained every 
impulse of his mind, that carried the 
further evolution of those impulses into 
still greater strength and fulness ? Was 
it formed in vain ? 

Ask the plant how it can do without 
the seed, when it bursts from it to grow 

combined-threshold and are only raised still 
higher by the similar ones which join them, so is 
the result of the above speculation placed on a 
somewhat more solid basis. (Note to the third 
edition.) 

83 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

into the light, that wonderful creation 
which, through the impulsion of its in 
ner germ, builds itself still further from 
within. Was it created for nothing ? 

Where, indeed, can be found a struc 
ture so wonderful as your brain, to re 
place it in the other world, and where, 
indeed, is there one that surpasses it; 
yet the future brain will surely tran 
scend this present one. 

But is not your whole body a finer 
and more highly organized creation 
than eye, ear, brain ? not beyond each 
part ? So, and unspeakably more, the 
world, of which mankind with its state, 
its knowledge, art, and traffic is but a 
part, exceeds your little brain, the part 
of this part. If you would rise to a 
higher point of view, only see in the 
earth, not merely a ball of dry earth, air, 
84 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

and water; it is a greater and higher har 
monious creation than you, a divine 
product, with a more wonderful life and 
action in its substance than you carry in 
your little brain, with which you con 
tribute but an atom to its life. In vain 
you will dream of an after-life, if you 
fail to recognize the life about you. 

What does the anatomist see when he 
examines the brain of man ? A tangle of 
white filaments, the meaning of which 
he cannot decipher. And what does 
it see in itself ? A world of light, tones, 
thoughts, memories, fancies, sensations 
of love and hate. And so realize the 
relation of that which you, standing out 
side the world, see in it, to that which 
it sees in itself, and do not require 
that both, the outer and the inner, shall 
appear more alike in the totality of the 
85 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

world than in you, who are but a part 
of it. And only because you are a 
part of this world, see in yourself also a 
part of that which it sees in itself. 

And finally, do you perhaps still ask 
why our ultimate body, as we call it, 
only awakens in the other life after we 
have expelled it here in this earthly 
realm, and why it is already the con 
tinuation of our limited body ? 

That which in this narrower existence 
dies, is indeed destroyed ; it is nothing 
but an instance of the same universal law 
which prevails through the whole of 
this world ; a proof that it still con 
tinues into the next. Doubter, if you 
must always reason alone from this life 

be it so. 

i 

The living strength of consciousness 
never really rises anew, is never lost, 

86 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

but, like that of the body upon which it 
rests, can only change its place, its form, 
its manner of dissemination in time and 
space, only sink to-day or here, to mount 
to-morrow or elsewhere ; only rise to-day 
or here, to sink to-morrow or elsewhere. 1 
For the eye to be awake so that you 
see consciously, the ear must be hushed 
to sleep ; to arouse the inner world of 

1 Indisputably this law, analogous to the so- 
called law of the conservation of energy in the 
physical realm, is in some way connected with 
it through the fundamental relation of spirit to 
body, without the connection being clearly estab 
lished, or shown to be derivable psychophysically 
from the physical law, since the essence of psycho- 
physical energy itself is not clearly denned. The 
law must therefore be inferred from facts such as 
are above mentioned ; and, without being exactly 
and fully proved, it acquires thereby a probability 
which qualifies it to serve as a basis for such views 
as are here in question. 

87 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

thought, the outward senses must be 
subdued into quiescence ; a pain in the 
smallest spot can quite exhaust your 
soul s consciousness. The more the 
light of observation is dispersed, the 
more feebly is any single part illumi 
nated ; the more clearly it strikes one 
point, the more all else enters into dark 
ness ; to reflect upon some one thing 
means abstraction from all besides. For 
your present freshness you have to 
thank your sleep since yesterday, the 
more deeply you sleep to-day the more 
brightly you will awake to-morrow, and 
the more vigilantly you have passed the 
waking hours the more profoundly you 
will sleep. 

But the sleep of man in this world is 
in reality only a half sleep, which allows 
the body to wake again because it is 
88 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

still present ; not until death is the 
full sleep which allows a new awaking 
because the body is no longer there ; 
yet the old law is still present, which 
demands an equivalent for the former 
consciousness, and hence the new body 
as a continuation of the old ; therefore a 
new consciousness will also be present 
as an equivalent and continuation of 
the old. 

As a continuation of the old ! For 
that which enables the body of the old 
man to still bear the consciousness which 
the body of the child, no atom of which 
is longer his, bore, will enable the future 
body to bear the same consciousness 
which was in the body of the aged man, 
of which it no longer possesses an atom. 
So it is that every successor preserves 
within himself and is built up by the 
89 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

continuation of the actions of him who 
bore the earlier consciousness. This 
is therefore a law, which ordains the 
onward march of the life here from to 
day to to-morrow, and from this life to 
the other. And can there be another 
law so fundamental as this of the eter 
nal survival of man ? 

And so do not ask, how it is that 
effects which you produce in this out 
ward world, which are outside you, shall 
still belong to you more than any 
others which are also outside. It is be 
cause the former much more than the 
latter have gone out from you. Every 
cause retains its effects as an eternal 
possession. But in truth your effects 
have never gone out from you ; even 
in this world they formed the uncon 
scious continuation of your existence, 
90 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

only awaiting the awakening to new 
consciousness. 

As little as a man can ever die who 
has once lived, so little could he be 
awakened to life had he not lived be 
fore ; it is only that he had not lived 
as an individual. The consciousness 
with which the child awakes at birth 
is only a part of the eternal, pre-exist 
ing, universal, divine consciousness which 
has concentrated itself in the new soul. 
We can indeed as little follow the ways 
and the changes of the living force of 
consciousness as those of the vital 
energy of the body. 

But are you afraid that human con 
sciousness, because born out of the 
universal, will again flow back into it ; 
then look at the tree. Many years 
passed before the branches came out of 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

the trunk ; but once there they do not 
go down into it again. How would 
the tree grow and develop if this hap 
pened ? So too will the life tree of the 
world grow and unfold itself. 

After all, the strong argument in 
this world for the other is not from 
reasons unknown to us, nor from sup 
positions which we make, but it is from 
facts that we do know that we base 
our conclusions on the greater and 
higher facts of the future life, thereby 
strengthening and confirming a faith, 
practically demanded, depending upon 
a higher point of view and to be set in 
living relations with life. Indeed, if 
we did not need this faith, wherefore 
strengthen it ; yet how use it, if it re 
main unsupported. 



92 



CHAPTER X 

THE soul of man permeates his 
whole body ; when it abandons 
the body, forthwith the body 
dies ; yet light of consciousness of the 
soul is now here, now there. 1 

1 In scientific terms one can say: Consciousness 
is everywhere ; it is awake when and wherever 
the bodily energy underlying the spiritual, the 
so-called psychophysical, exceeds that degree of 
strength which we call the threshold. (Compare 
p. 80, note.) According to this, consciousness can 
be localized in time and space. The highest point 
of our psychophysical activity wavers, as it were, 
from one place to another, wherewith the light of 
consciousness changes its place, only that during 
this life it fluctuates back and forth within our 
body simply, indeed, within a limited part of this 

93 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

We have just seen it wandering 
back and forth within the narrow body, 
lighting up in turn the eye, the ear, the 
inner and the outer senses, finally, in 
death, to depart from it wholly, just as 
one, whose little house in which he has 
for long moved about back and forth 
is destroyed, goes out into the open and 
begins a new pilgrimage. Death makes 
no division between the two lives except 
to allow the exchange of the narrower 
scene of action for the wider. And as 
little as the light of consciousness is 
always and everywhere the same in this 
life, where it can be so interrupted and 
dispersed, so will it be in the future life. 

body, and in sleep sinks quite below the thresh 
old, above which, on waking, it rises again. 

(Compare on this point. "Elemente der Psy- 
chophysik," II. Kap. 40 und 41.) 

94 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

It is only that the field of action is un 
speakably larger, the possible extension 
wider, the ways freer, the points of view 
higher, embracing all the lower ones of 
this world. 

But even in this life exceptionally, in 
rare cases, we see the light of conscious 
ness wander out of the narrower body 
into the wider and return again, bring 
ing news of what happens in distant 
spaces, in distant time. For the length 
of the future depends on the breadth of 
the present. Suddenly a rift shows it 
self in the otherwise forever closed door 
between this life and the other, to close 
again quickly the door, which will 
wholly open in death, and only then 
will open never more to be closed. But 
a mere glance through the rift in advance 
is not profitable. Yet the exception to 
95 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

the law of this life is only an example 
of the greater law of life which embraces 
at once the two worlds. 

It may happen that the earthly body 
falls asleep in one direction deeply 
enough to allow it in others to awaken 
far beyond its usual limits, and yet not 
so deeply and completely as to awaken 
no more. Or, to the subjective vision 
there comes a flash so unusually vivid 
as to bring to the earthly sense an 
impression rising above the threshold 
from an otherwise inaccessible distance. 
Here begin the wonders of clairvoyance, 
of presentiments, and premonitions in 
dreams : pure fables, if the future body 
and the future life are fables ; otherwise 
signs of the one and predictions of the 
other ; but what has signs exists, and 
what has prophecies will come. 

96 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

And yet there are no signs in the 
normal life of this world. The present 
has to build the heavenly body only for 
the future, not yet to see and hear with 
the eye and ear that are to be. The 
blossom does not thrive that is pre 
maturely broken off. And even if one 
can assist his faith in the future life by 
belief in these traces of its shining into 
the present life, yet one should not build 
upon it. Healthy faith is based upon 
fundamentals and limits itself to the 
highest point of view of normal life, of 
which it forms a part. 

You have hitherto believed that the 
light form in which a dead person ap 
pears to you in remembrance is merely 
your own interior illusion. You are 
mistaken ; it is itself a reality, which, 
with conscious step, not only comes to 
7 97 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

you but enters into you. The earlier 
form is still its spiritual raiment ; only, 
no longer fettered with its former dense 
body and wandering inactive in its com 
pany, but transparent, light, divested of 
its earthly burden, for the moment it is 
now here, now there, following the voice 
of each one who calls to the dead, or of 
itself appearing to you, to suggest the 
thought of the dead. Indeed the com 
mon conception of the appearance of 
souls in the future life has always been 
of light, immaterial forms, independent 
of the limits of space, and so, though 
unintentionally, the truth has been 
reached. 

You have also heard ghosts spoken 
of. Doctors call them phantasms, hal 
lucinations. So they are for the liv 
ing, yet, at the same time, they are 
98 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

actual apparitions of the dead, as we 
call them. For though they be the 
weaker forms of memory in us, how 
should they not also be the more 
pronounced corresponding apparitions. 
Therefore, why still dispute whether 
they are the one or the other when they 
are at once both. And why be afraid 
of ghosts, when you do not fear the 
remembered forms within you which 
they already are. 

And yet the reason for this is not 
wanting. Unlike the forms you have 
yourself summoned or which of them 
selves steal gently and peacefully into 
the fabric of your inner life, mingling 
helpfully with it, they advance, and 
surprise you, with overpowering force, 
apparently coming before you, really 
entering into you and bringing into your 
99 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

mind far more dismay than comfort. 
To live at once in the two worlds makes 
a morbid existence. The dead and the 
living should not communicate. To ap 
proach the dead so nearly as to see them 
as clearly and objectively as they are able 
to see each other means for the living 
already a partial death ; hence the terror 
of the living before such apparitions of 
the dead ; it is also a partial backsliding 
of the dead away from the realm beyond 
death into that this side of it ; from this 
comes the saying and perhaps more 
than saying that only those spirits 
wander about which are not quite re 
leased, which still by heavy fetters are 
earth-bound. To drive away the un- 
blest, call for the help of a better and 
stronger spirit; but the best and the 
strongest is the Spirit of all spirits. 
100 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

Who can harm you under His protec 
tion ? And so is verified the saying that 
before the voice of God every evil spirit 
vanishes. 

Meanwhile in this sphere of spiritual 
sickness faith itself is threatened with 
the contagion of superstition. The 
simplest way to guard oneself against 
the coming of ghosts is not to be 
lieve in their coming ; for to believe 
that they come is to meet them half 
way. 

As they are able to appear to eacli 
other, I said. For the same apparition 
which is against the order of this world 
is but taken prematurely from the order 
of the other. The dwellers in the other 
world will appear to each other in a 
luminous, clear, full, and objective form, 
of which we in our memory of them 
101 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

have but a weak echo, a dim outline 
drawing, because they pervade each 
other with their full and complete be 
ing, only a little part of which reaches 
each of us through memory of them. 
Only there as well as here attention 
needs to be focussed upon the appear 
ance in order to behold it. 

Now, it may still be asked : how is it 
possible that they so unite and appear 
so objectively and definitely to each 
other ? But ask first, how is it possible 
that what is received by you as the sem 
blance of a living person, and what is 
conveyed to your brain by the memory 
of a dead one and there is nothing 
else before you to base it upon appears 
in the one case as an objective percep 
tion, but in the other as a circumscribed 
memory ? The no longer exact impres- 
102 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

sion which underlies the mental picture 
deludes you as to the outline of the 
form from which it proceeded in the 
beginning. You cannot know why 
from the plane of this world ; how can 
you expect to know from that of the 
other ? 

And so I repeat : do not conclude 
from arguments of this world which 
you do not know, nor from suppositions 
which you make, but from facts clear 
to you here as to the greater and 
higher facts of the life to come. Any 
single conclusion may be erroneous ; even 
that one which we have just reached ; 
therefore, do not be satisfied with any 
isolated proof: the final conviction in 
regard to them, which we have to de 
mand before and beyond every conclu 
sion, will be the best support of our 
103 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

faith below, and our best guide on the 
upward path. 

But once lay hold upon faith directly 
from above, and the whole path of be 
lief which will lead us upwards opens 
easily before us here. 



104 



CHAPTER XI 

YET how easy all would be for 
faith if man could but accustom 
himself to see more than a mere 
word in the saying with which he has 
played for more than a thousand years, 
that in God he lives and moves and 
has his being. Then were faith in 
God one with his own eternal life, he 
would see his own eternal life as belong 
ing to that of God himself, and in the 
advancement of his future above his 
present stage of life would perceive 
only a loftier structure above a lower 
one in God, such as he already has 
latent within him ; he would compre 
hend the greater from the lesser model, 
105 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

and in the union of both the whole, of 
which he is but a part. 

Perception in you dissolves, and mem 
ory ascends from it within you ; your 
whole life of intuition dissolves in God, 
and a higher existence of recollection 
rises from it to God ; and like mem 
ories in your mind, so the spirits of 
the other world communicate within in 
the divine mind. It is only one step 
above another on the same ladder which 
leads, not to God, but upwards within 
Him, who in Himself is at once the 
base and the summit. With that say 
ing void of thought, how empty God 
was ; in its full significance, how rich 
He is! 

Do you, then, know how the further 
spiritual life of perception is possible ? 
You know only that it is real ; but it is 
106 



LIFE AFTER DEATH 

only possible to a soul. You can there 
fore, although ignorant how it is possi 
ble, easily believe in the reality of a 
future for your whole soul within a 
higher one ; you must only believe that 
there is a higher soul, and that you 
are it. 

And again, how easy it would all be 
for faith, if man could habitually see a 
truth in that further word, that God 
lives and moves and has His being in all. 
Then it were not a dead, but, through 
God, a living world, out of which man 
is building his future body and is thereby 
creating a new abode within the dwell 
ing place of God. 

But when will this vitalizing faith 
become a living one ? 

He who makes it living will himself 
be made alive. 

107 



CHAPTER XII 

YOU ask as to the whether. I 
answer with the how. Faith 
does without the question 
whether ; but if asked, the one answer 
is through the how ; and so long as the 
how does not stand fast, the whether 
will not cease from troubling. 

Here stands the tree ; many a single 
leaf may fall from it ; yet its root and 
its unity are firm and perfect. It will 
always develop new branches, and new 
leaves will continue to fall ; the tree 
itself will not fall : it will put forth 
blossoms of beauty, and instead of being 
rooted in faith, it will bear the fruits of 

faith. 

108 



Cf)t ^orlti Beautiful 

BY LILIAN WHITING 



The world beautiful about which she writes is 
no far-off event to which all things move, but 
the everyday scene around usfilled by a spirit 
which elevates and transforms it. Prof. 
Louis J. Block, in The Philosophical Journal. 

ratorto Beautiful JFirst Series 

Comprising; THE WORLD BEAUTIFUL; FRIEND 
SHIP ; OUR SOCIAL SALVATION ; LOTUS EATING ; THAT 
WHICH is TO COME. 

EJje aEorltr Beautiful. Seeonti Series 

Comprising ; THE WORLD BEAUTIFUL ; OUR BEST 
SOCIETY ; To CLASP ETERNAL BEAUTY ; VIBRATIONS ; 
THE UNSEEN WORLD. 

Stye aSorto Beautiful EJjtrtr Series 

Comprising; THE WORLD BEAUTIFUL; THE ROSE 
OF DAWN; THE ENCIRCLING SPIRIT-WORLD; THE 
RING OF AMETHYST ; PARADISA GLORIA. 

.3 vols. Cloth, $1.00 per volume. Decorated cloth, 
$1.25 per volume. Padded calf or full crushed morocco, 
$3.50 per volume. 

I know of no volumes of sermons published in recent years 
which are so well fitted to uplift the reader, and inspire all that is 
finest and best in his nature, as are the series of essays entitled 
"The World Beautiful," by Lilian Whiting. B. O. FLOWBB, in 
The Coming Age. 

At bookstore*.; or sent, postpaid, by the publishers , 

LITTLE, BROWN, & COMPANY, BOSTON 



jfrom Breamianti jbtnt 

Ucrgeg of tfje 3Ltfe to Come 

BY LILIAN WHITING 

Author of " THE WORLD BEAUTIFUL," 
"AFTER HER DEATH," "KATE FIELD : 
A KECORD," "A STUDY OF ELIZA 
BETH BARRETT BROWNING," etc. 

New edition. With additional poems. 16mo. Cloth, 
extra, $1.00. Decorated cloth, $1.25. Padded calf or 
full crushed morocco, gilt edges, $3.50. 

Lilian Whiting s verse is like a bit of sunlit landscape on a 
May morning. Boston Herald. 

Graceful, tender, and true, appealing to what is best in the 
human heart. The Independent. 

The poems express and reveal her inmost nature, full of affec 
tion, longings, appreciation of others, belief in the nearness of the 
other world. She seems to me to have gained a higher outlook 
than most of us in a spiritual as well as in an intellectual way. 
KATB SANBOBN. 

Full of faith in the divine care and a perception of the near 
ness of the spirit world. Its poems of love and friendship are 
most tender and noble. New Church Messenger. 

There is in them a sympathetic human touch, an insight born 
of love and sorrow, which will bring the quiet, responsive tears to 
many a reader s eye. The Chautauquan. 

There is a perfection of form and poetic beauty in all her 
verses, and one cannot take up the book and turn to any page with 
out being touched by the elevating and inspiring statements that 
guided the pen of the author. Boston Home Journal. 

I never saw anything on earth before which looked so much as 
if just brought from heaven by angel hands as this new edition of 
" From Dreamland Sent. " In the golden sunshine of an Italian 
morning I have heard the silver trumpets blow. This exquisite 
book reminds me of them. SARAH HOLLAND ADAMS. 

Of the new edition of "From Dreamland Sent," Julia Ward 
Howe says: "Its tender and devout spirit matches well the 
Easter lilies that adorn it." 



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LITTLE, BROWN, & COMPANY, BOSTON 



after Her Beat!) . 

BY LILIAN WHITING 

Author of " KATE FIELD : A Record," 
"THE WORLD BEAUTIFUL," etc. 



16 mo. Cloth, $1.00. Decorated cloth, $1.25. 
Padded calf, gilt edges, $3.50. Full crushed morocco, 
gilt edges, $3.50. 

Comprising : WHAT LACKS THE SUMMER ? FROM 
INMOST DREAMLAND; PAST THE MORNING STAR; IN 
Two WORLDS ; DISTANT GATES OF EDEN ; UNTO MY 
HEART THOU LIVEST So ; ACROSS THE WORLD I 
SPEAK TO THEE; THE DEEPER MEANING OF THE 
HOUR. 

We find a firm belief in the possibility of communion with the 
spiritual world, dignified by a beautiful philosophy inspiring high 
thoughts and noble purposes. Whig and Courier. 

Opening either of the three volumes of " The World Beau 
tiful" series, and the collection of verse entitled "From Dream 
land Sent," one beholds the idealist and the poet. But opening 
44 After Her Death," he beholds the scientist as well. . . For all her 
psychic theories and experiences she not only courts, but com 
mands, the most thorough investigation of the world s ablest scien 
tists, as Sir William Crookes, F. W. H. Myers, Lord Kelvin, and 
Alfred Russel Wallace. She is an epoch-making writer. . . My 
conviction is that every preacher, reformer, religious editor, and 
Christian worker should read the books by Lilian Whiting. 
REV. W. H. ROOBBS, in The Christian Standard. 

" After Her Death " has given me the light and help I have 
o long craved ; it has given me comfort and strength which no 
other book has ever done. In giving these truths to the world in 
her own beautiful way, which does not harshly wound in the thing* 
which have been almost a part of us, Lilian Whiting has bridged 
over a great chasm, and provided one of the greatest needs of our 
time. COKDKLIA L. COMMORE. 



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LITTLE, BROWN, & COMPANY, BOSTON 



Ci)e ^gTictorp of tfje 

BY VICTOR CHARBONNEL 

Translated from the French by EMILY 
WHITNEY. With an introduction by 
LILIAN WHITING, author of "The 
World Beautiful," "A Study of Eliza 
beth Barrett Browning/ etc. 

16mo. Cloth, extra, $1.50. 

Our whole criticism might be expressed in the brief exhor 
tation read it. ... There is not a page which has not some im 
petus to reflection, some suggestion for a higher life, and all given 
with an originality of mind, a felicity of expression, a simplicity 
of phrase that fix the thought instantly and clearly. Literary 

Since Emerson wrote his immortal essays, and Maeterlinck 
advanced his beautiful theories, no finer book on the spiritual life 
has been written. GJBO. 8. GOODWIN, in Philadelphia Item. 

Not only is there a striking originality of thought throughout 
the book, but a style which, losing comparatively little in the ad 
mirable translation by Miss Whitney, reaches the high French 
standard of lucidity and ease. New York Commercial Advertiser. 

He makes a forceful appeal for living the life of one s own soul 
and the development of one s own personality by its own inner 
power. His whole message bids us look within ; it gets at the 
roots of things ; his style is admirably clear, terse, and vigorous. 
Detroit Free Press. 

The volume takes up the relations of the individual soul to 
the universe and treats them in a way that is practical, but is also 
marked by high spiritual aspiration. . . The book has great purity 
and beauty of style, and is, all in all, a notable piece of literature. 
Los Angeles Times. 

His words are helpful and stimulating, his optimism contagious 
and inspiring. He has a faculty for putting things in a form which 
lingers in the memory. Brooklyn Times. 

Some of the noblest thoughts contained in this book . . find 
expression in the prayer with which it closes. Chicago Evening 
Post. 

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LITTLE, BROWN, & COMPANY, BOSTON 



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