Already has he shown that he is on the right road. He has found, as he tells us in his pleasant airy way, that the most inconceivably
small particle of matter – a particle so small that it must be conceived of as consisting of mind rather than matter, – for mind, it should be observed, holds for the orthodox scientist a very small place indeed in the scheme of the universe – is, just as much as the planet itself, endowed with two poles, a positive and a negative. Professor Tyndall does not tell us what this fact suggests to him. He does not tell us that the polarity of matter is but a mode of the dualism by which all existence is characterised, and of which the two components are everywhere as masculine and feminine to each other. None of our instructors tell us about things of this kind. I wonder how many persons there are in the world, even in the world of science, who bestow any reflection on the fact that every atom of the human organism is, as Professor Tyndall says of every atom of matter, positive and negative; or, translated into terms expressive of vital instead of mechanical force, masculine and feminine, to each other; that every organ and function of the system is dual; that the right and left, back and front, upper and lower, inner and outer of every unit of consciousness into which the individual consciousness as a whole has differentiated, possesses characteristics which indicate them
respectively as male and female to each other? or that the brain itself contains in small the whole essential man, and thus constitutes but an intermediate stage between the archetypal idea and the phenomenal man, who is thus but the full translation into sensible fact of the previously subsisting idea?
Can the failure of scientists to tell us what, by means of careful and legitimate study of the human anatomy, they have ascertained about these things, be due to the fear that the laity might, by bringing their own minds to bear upon such facts, come to suspect that there is in them a meaning which it is not consistent with the interests of orthodoxy that they should know? Can it be that the physiologist, for instance, dare not speak of an archetypal idea subsisting prior to, and independently of, its sensible realisation in fact, because it might be asked where does that idea so subsist? and because the answer would have to be, for there is no other, “In the Divine mind”? Can it be that the orthodox scientist is so firmly set against the notion of the existence of a Divine mind at all; and so desirous of referring all the phenomena of existence to an origin simply mechanical, that he fears, by using his own mind in thinking, to prove that there is
mind somewhere; and that therefore existence does, after all, contain phenomena for which a mechanical hypothesis is inadequate?
The reference just made to the dualism of our bodily faculties suggests a remark in relation to our chances of disaster in any war we may under-take. Our visual organs partake of the universal dualism of the system, and the eyes also are as husband and wife to each other. We have two eyes, not, as is usually supposed, simply that, in case of accident, we may have a second string to our bow, but that by the perfect blending of the sight of both a true image may be produced on the retina, and so a true idea be generated in the brain. A double vision is one in which, through their seeing things from different points of view, or in different lights, the two eyes present views of the same object as different as if they were views of different objects – a phenomenon that has its parallel in every department of life, even with people who hold with regard to each other relations resembling that which is held by the eyes. “When thine eye is single,” says the Gospel, “thy whole body is full of light.”
Now, our eye cannot be single when we are distracted between two objects which engage the attention at the same time; neither can the
body be full of light when it is expressly made the object of endeavour to see witch the outward and outward-looking eyes of sense only, and to shut off every ray that might otherwise come from the luminous soul within.
It is a cause of constant expression of surprise that our advance in scientific invention and construction is not accompanied by a corresponding advance in our power to control the tremendous creations of our own ingenuity. Each successive mechanical triumph seems achieved but in order to result in catastrophes surpassing anything previously known or imagined.
The passage and the phenomenon I have adduced, indicate the solution of the problem. The eye of science may be single; but inasmuch as it sees with the outward sight only, and makes sense everything and spirit nothing, the moment must inevitably come when disaster will overtake us. Sense must sleep sometimes; and at best its range is but narrow. Hence it may be confidently anticipated that if we, seeing, or rather not seeing, things as we do at this present, engage in any war of which we have the slightest misgiving that we are not absolutely in the right, judging by the highest and most perfect standard of right accessible to us, we shall suffer the most
grievous disaster. So dull has grown ou r spiritual vision that, even in peace and a dead calm, we cannot successfully handle our new naval Frankensteins.
Hence it comes that our only chance of immunity from calamity lies in our being so penetrated with the conviction that we are doing our duty, that our cause is infallibly right, and that we are doing it nobly inasmuch as we are doing it because we are perfectly certain it is our duty, and not for any lower motive whatsoever – only, I say, in being animated with this conviction, may we hope to pass through the ordeal unscathed. With a single eye to a high duty, we need not doubt but that our “whole body will be full of light” of the best possible kind.
It is worthy of remark that no reference is made in the Gospel to the effect of singleness of eye in the case where the vision is that of the outward sense only. The great Teacher contemplated only the event of indecision between the two centres of vision, sense and spirit. His omission is readily explainable by the fact that the notion that man is in no sense a dual being, but is exempt from the dualism observable in everything else throughout Nature, and is therefore not a compound of two different modes of
consciousness which are to each other as spirit and matter, or mind and body – belongs almost exclusively to recent times, and would have seemed to the ancient world wholly absurd.
I must not leave my readers under the impression that of all our orthodox scientists not one has come within hail of that conception of the universe which regards it as a mode of operation of an absolute mind, beside which nought else exists. Professor Huxley has admitted that, if called upon to make an election between matter and mind as affording the most satisfactory solution of the problem of existence, he should choose mind. Notwithstanding this indication of superiority over the ordinary “materialist” in respect to theory, Professor Huxley shows himself in his practice no whit above the most rudimentary Nature-worshipper of them all. Occupying among scientists a place closely corresponding to that of Mr. Gladstone among statesmen, endowed with gifts somewhat similar, such as a familiarity with a wide and varied range of facts, a great power of lucid exposition respecting their external aspects, and a corresponding inability to discern their remoter significance or relations, owing to his failure to complete his system of thought by the disco very of a centre around
which he may marshal them in related and harmonious order, – Professor Huxley is, in respect to the religion of blood, a true votary of orthodoxy, inasmuch as he is renowned throughout sacerdotal Christendom as a vivisecting physiologist. Hence it is that, in spite of his narrow escape from slipping in making the admission that there might possibly be a God who is Mind, and therefore universally conscious, Professor Huxley retains his high place in the ranks of orthodoxy, while adhering to a system of thought and practice which necessarily involves the negation of every one of the lessons demonstrated by the sister science, astronomy. As I have already said, orthodoxy, whether in religion or science, is the negation of the absolute truth that the sun and not the earth is the source and centre and true self of the solar system. As the system is, so necessarily is everything in the system, simply by virtue of the law of family resemblance. The universe is alive, and it does not produce dead offspring. For us the solar system is the living parent of everything in the solar system. And all things in it, to the smallest atom into which, as a whole, it has differentiated, partakes of the family features. A molecule of pure iron, says Professor Jevons,
contains a system more complex probably than the solar system itself. The inference, however, escapes him. He upholds vivisection.
It is only by rejecting, not the analogies merely, but the correspondences, subsisting between the various planes – spheres, rather – into which the universal existence has differentiated itself, that orthodoxy, religious, scientific, or other, can maintain its sway. And it is by rejecting the correspondence manifestly subsisting between the solar system and its most perfect sensible manifestation in the individual man, that orthodoxy persists in regarding the body as the self and centre of the man; as if, in proving that the sun and not the earth is the centre and self of the system, astronomy had not at the same time indicated that the soul and not the body is the true centre and self of the man!
The truth is, that it is not the belief in conscious, but the belief in unconscious existence that constitutes the crux of orthodoxy. “If all were mind,” it argues, “there would be no matter, nothing that is unconscious. We see that the greater proportion of that which exists is unconscious; in fact, that all existence is unconscious, until it becomes organised; and that
then the degree of consciousness is in exact proportion to the complexity of the organism.”
“We see that it is unconscious.” Yes, but with what eyes do we see this? With the eyes of the outer and false self, that self which consists of the material planes of our nature? Or with the luminous vision of the inner and true self, of which the outer is but as the enclosing rind and husk? “Matter inherently unconscious?” Who tells you so? You see that it is so, you say; you see that it manifests no sense or perception, that it cannot move itself, that it cannot feel, think, or act, or in any way manifest the possession by it of any of those qualities or properties which we regard as indicating consciousness.
What is all this but to say that the consciousness of what we call matter, differs from our own? Who are we, that we should dictate to the Infinite and All-perfect, the modes in which he should formulate his thought? Is God’s thought to be restricted to man’s particular mode? May he not think and feel and act in modes to which our ways of thinking and feeling and acting bear little or no resemblance?
But the difference between the consciousness of “matter” and our own is not so great as my
words might be held to imply. There is no absolute distinction between any two modes of consciousness; for it is a scientific, as well as a religious truth, that all things are modes of one and the same force.
Here, then, is the truth of truths, the failure to apprehend arid appreciate which constitutes the whole basis of the fabric of orthodoxy, a fabric whose building commenced when man first began to live so as to enable the outer and lower planes of his consciousness – his bodily self – to dispute the supremacy with the inner, higher, and true self of his spirit. This truth is, that all things are modes of the one infinite, absolute, and absolutely perfect consciousness of that Mind which men call God; that the substance which men call matter represents the outer and lower planes into which the universal consciousness has distributed itself; and, hence, that there is no such thing in existence as dead unconscious matter.
Consciousness is but the property or quality whereby existence is. To be unconscious would be to be non-existent. Two things absolutely different cannot enter into or become part of each other’s consciousness. The fact that we can become conscious of the existence of anything shows that such thing is itself conscious, and can in its own
way become conscious of us. That which sees is conscious, is consciousness: that which is seen must therefore itself be conscious, be consciousness. This is an axiom, self-evident, and incapable of proof by reasoning, precisely because it is not by reasoning but by direct vision that necessary truth is alone perceived. Subsisting in the nature of the Ideal, it can be recognised only in idea. By no process of reasoning whatsoever can I convince a blind man that I see a house or a mountain before me, which he, through his want of sight, is unable to see. True, I can by taking him up close to it, and letting him touch it, procure from him the acknowledgment that there probably is something before him to produce the sensation caused by resistance to the pressure of his stick or hand. But of that something, of its form and colour, and other properties, he knows nothing; because, vision failing him, he is incapable of ascertaining its character, excepting in so far as it can be discerned by the senses of touch.
If one possessed, as is Professor Huxley, of a vast store of facts, could but afford himself the time to think and feel, until he had succeeded in thrusting aside his own outer and phenomenal self, and winning his way to the true core and centre of his own existence, what revelations
would he not be able to give us of that universal existence of which so much more had been exhibited in him than in most of his fellows! But so far from this being the now prevailing conception of existence, the whole endeavour is to clip and prune, and cut away everything that is not universally, and in every phenomenon, discernible by ns; and having reduced existence to the dimensions of its minutest atom, to declare that nought really exists but what is found in that atom. And as that atom does not manifest to our senses the properties which in ourselves we call consciousness, therefore it is concluded there is no consciousness in the universe at large!
The answer to such an inference and such a mode of drawing an inference is simple. The mere fact of our being able to say of an atom or of ourselves that it is, or that we are, is a deathblow to the whole system and fabric of modern scientific thought. The famous Cartesian axiom, notwithstanding all the libraries that have been written upon it, is yet to be understood aright; and here, it seems to me, is its true significance. Not merely is it true to say, I know that I exist because I am conscious. It is true also to say, I am conscious because I exist. For existence is consciousness. I who exist
am conscious; and I am conscious because I am consciousness. All that exists is conscious, because it can by entering into my consciousness become a part thereof. All that exists, therefore, is consciousness and can enter into all other consciousnesses. All consciousness is one consciousness; and the consciousness of the parts is but a limitation of that of the whole. In that universal consciousness all the parts subsist, and through it they subsist in the consciousness of each other. No part can contain the whole in its absolute plenitude. But every part contains the whole in its degree. The triune existence is discernible in an atom of matter, and in man, as well as in God. All things are in themselves absolute.
Hence when men deny to modes of existence other than themselves the possession of consciousness, what they really mean to express is, that the m ode of consciousness of that other differs from the mode of consciousness of themselves. Its consciousness is not expressible in the terms in which they express their own. It is not sensation, not thought, not perception, not reflection, not motion, not self-consciousness. But it exists, because it is conscious; and it is consciousness, because it enters into my
consciousness, and makes me conscious of its existence. Two things which are absolutely different, cannot do this in regard to each other; because identity signifies that community of nature whereby two things are capable of becoming each other. It is the basis of sympathy.
The so-called insensate unconscious atom is as absolutely conscious of my existence as I am of its existence. The difference lies in the character and extent of our respective recognitions of each other, and is precisely in proportion to the difference between the modes and degrees of development of our respective consciousnesses. The very fact that it makes me conscious of its existence by means of the resistance it offers to my faculties in the direction in which I become aware of its presence, is a mode of its consciousness. It obstructs my vision. It excites my sense of touch, of smell, of taste, of hearing. It is by virtue of its consciousness that it does this; as it is by virtue of my consciousness that it is able to do it to me. And it is by virtue of precisely the same property that, when I put it into a crucible and seek to dissolve it into the earliest mode of its consciousness, I am baffled by finding that, change its form or mode as I may, I cannot even so far refer it to its original elementary substance
as to destroy its power of appealing to my senses. Still less can I destroy the idea of it in my mind. But however far back towards its original essence I may succeed in driving it, so far as sense is concerned, there is always an impassable chasm between its sensible condition and that which my mind can imagine as constituting its ultimate nature. There I can follow it far beyond the range of sense, until I can in imagination at length track it to its final home and habitat in the supreme universal absolute Mind, of which, by the very fact that I can so trace one of its modes of manifestation, my own is demonstrated to be a portion.
The recognition of the necessary truth that every particle of “matter” in existence is thus a portion of the substance under the form of which the Supreme has manifested himself in creation, and is endowed with properties appertaining to that Supreme himself, save only his infinitude, would make the votary of orthodoxy, under what-ever guise, start in alarm and horror. For to deny the possession of consciousness to aught that proceeds from the Supreme Consciousness of the universe is to charge God himself, the universal life, with containing unconsciousness and death within himself. It is to “quench the spirit,” by
virtue of which everything that exists subsists; it is to commit the “sin against the Holy Ghost,” who is the life and spirit and consciousness of all that lives, and who is conscious of all that is.
It is because the votary of scientific orthodoxy denies the life and the spirit which necessarily constitute all that exists, to be but a mode of operation of the Supreme Mind, that he suffers himself to act towards his fellow-creatures as if they were not endowed with any of the attributes of mind, but were wholly unconscious of aught that is done to them. Calling animals automata, he affects to believe that they are not sensitive. The suggestion that in inflicting suffering for the benefit of himself, or of any other whose good is not in a measure bound up with that of the object itself, he is wantonly inflicting torture upon a living conscious portion of the divine mind, and that every pang suffered by his victim is suffered directly by that mind, and stored up as it were in it; and the further suggestion that it is only a matter of time when that suffering will recoil upon himself with millionfold severity – namely, when he shall have attained that inevitable stage in his spiritual development in which he will recognise his own substantial identity with the whole of the
existence of which he is a part, and by virtue of the awakening of his now dormant, but not therefore non-existent sympathies – I say the suggestion, nay the certainty, that every pang inflicted by the selfish, thoughtless, base, unfeeling, or cruel man upon any one of the modes assumed by the Universal Existence, will recoil upon himself, – would, if accepted, suffice to banish from earth all that now operates to make it a hell; inasmuch as terror would succeed where love fails, and man would for his own sake fear to be cruel.
If people had but the ability or the leisure to let themselves think and feel! Not then should we find men exalted to the highest pitch of earthly renown in proportion to their success in demonstrating the littleness of existence. It is partly the trade element in our modern life that keeps men from thinking, – that keeps men from devoting themselves to the search for the knowledge, the more than knowledge, the wisdom, that is not paid for with money. Not then should we find familiarity with the phenomena of a single one, and that the lowest, of all the planes of existence, suffice to constitute renown; or even to win applause when known to be acquired at the cost of all that is best on the higher planes. The delving into facts merely physical, irrespective of their relation to the intellectual, moral, and
spiritual, would then be classed among the lowest functions of humanity; and the mere orthodox scientist would be looked upon but as a picker up of unconsidered trifles among the dust and rag and dang heaps of humanity.
The want of a really liberal education lies at the root of much that I am deploring. We train men to excel in special departments of intellectual activity without giving them at the same time an education which can by any possibility minister to the development of their consciousness generally. We are content, and more than content, to make them good specialists in some one branch of knowledge, as good doctors, good scholars, good lawyers, good physicists, but care not a rush about making them good men, Hence it is that youths grow up into manhood with their physical and intellectual centres in a state of morbid excitation, and the vitality of their moral and spiritual centres correspondingly depressed.
The very demand for “facts,” meaning thereby phenomena merely physical, summons to the quest precisely that class of person in whom the lower faculties exist in excess and the higher ones in arrear. For it brings into the ranks of science, and every other department of activity, a class of men who, by virtue of their tendency to exercise the perceptive independently of the
reflective faculties, show themselves to be allied to the class of animals which hunt and tear and devour their prey, rather than to those which, subsisting upon herbs, cause suffering to no one, and, after feeding, ruminate profitably over the “facts” which they have gathered, and so acquire the ability to cooperate in man’s intelligent activities.
To take those branches of scientific study in which this fact most distinctly appears – namely, physiology and biology, it is impossible, having this idea in one’s mind, to peruse the records of the experiments instituted for the expressed purpose of obtaining a better knowledge of the nature and functions of animal life, without observing that those branches have fallen almost exclusively into the hands of a class of human carnivora, rather than of men. For the pages in which their proceedings are described at length present a continuous record of experiments o f the most agonising description upon the living sensible bodies of highly sensitive creatures, un-relieved by a discovery of the slightest possible use, that might not be, or has not been, equally well made by a careful anatomy of the dead subject, or by an inference that is not directly contradicted immediately afterwards. So that an unbiassed
survey of the field of physiological research, in so far as the practice of vivisection is concerned, presents little else than precisely such an accumulation of useless agony and carnage as might be supposed to constitute the supreme bliss of a pandemonium of carnivorous fiends.
The result is inevitable from the very characters of the vast majority of those who are attracted to the scene by their native affinity for pursuits of such a kind. The hunting or “sporting” instinct is in very many men still exceedingly strong. And it has of late years received an extraordinary development corresponding precisely to our general degeneration. All men are not sufficiently wealthy to indulge in the ordinary sports of the field; nor do these afford sufficient intellectual stimulus for all. The physiological laboratory, on the other hand, yields at once a lucrative and an intellectual
occupation, without balking the taste for blood-shed, which has become with us a passion extending even to the “higher classes” of our women.
It is a familiar type, that of the beast of prey, and its characteristics are the same, whether it goes upon two legs or four, whether its objects of research are its fellow-animals or scientific “facts.” The bullet-shaped head, wide between and mostly lying behind the ears, its whole aspect indicating a
keen appreciation of the external characteristics of things in every department of mere animal sense; and a low narrow crown, indicating an equal insensibility to the intellectual, moral, or spiritual signification of things, and consequently a profound inaptitude for turning to any account whatever the facts upon the scent of which they may alight, excepting only in so far as they may minister to mean ends.
If anywhere in the domain of knowledge it is more indispensable than elsewhere that the students should be possessed of high moral sensibilities, it is assuredly where the life or suffering of a fellow-creature is involved. The notion that it is possible to get at the meaning of any natural fact, while totally devoid of the sympathies in response to which alone Nature will open her heart and disclose her secrets, constitutes of itself for those who entertain it a positive disqualification for the vocation.
For the sympathetic and the imaginative faculties are one and the same faculty. It is by virtue of its power to feel with any object, that the mind is able to project itself into, and obtain an insight respecting the nature of, that object. How far such faculties are likely to be called into exercise, or turned to good account, by persons
who are able, for instance, to consent to allow the leg of a horse to be broken, as is done in French laboratories, in order that by baring the broken and unset limb they may watch the progress of the process whereby Nature endeavours to repair the shattered bone; or who can cut the breasts from one of the nammalia, in order to observe the devotion with which the poor mother endures any pain, on her own part, that her little ones may not be disappointed of their accustomed food; – how far the mental organisms of persons who perpetrate deeds of this kind are to be expected either to manifest that fine perception of the delicate processes of vitality, which would enable them to benefit their own kind; or to turn their knowledge to good account when they had procured it, are questions which contain their own answer.
And these are not isolated cases. At this moment there is scarcely a physiological laboratory throughout Christendom where horrors surpassing these are not of daily occurrence, and where the manifestation by a student of the least degree of sensibility is not angrily repudiated as the symptom of a maudlin sentimentality. “Why should you care, it does not hurt you?” is, to all such exhibitions, the invariable remonstrance, – a
remonstrance, moreover, delivered with all the bitterness of theological hatred, for the reason that any exercise of the faculty of sympathy is perceived by materialistic scientists to be fatal to their cherished theory of the mechanical origin and character of existence.
To take the chiefs of the department into counsel on the subject, is very much the same as to inquire of sacerdotalists concerning the necessity of vicarious sacrifice.
Yet so terribly degenerated have become the once vivid sympathies of the people of England, that a man who can admit, and refer without indignation to, the commission in his own laboratory of acts such as that of injecting boiling water into the stomach of a dog, can find an audience when he undertakes to instruct them, not merely respecting the animal world, for which his sympathies must be wholly extinguished, but respecting the infinitely subtle and mysterious processes of the spiritual world. I can give Dr. W. B. Carpenter all the credit he claims for his Deep-Sea researches, even while I retain my own conviction to the effect, that the results obtained by him are not comparable to those obtained, more than two thousand years ago, in the same direction, by an investigator of a very different type. Dr. Carpenter may have
succeeded, at infinite toil and cost, in winning from the depths of ocean an atom of chalk, or a specimen of the tiny Globigerina. He may have found physical life there. But Jonah discovered spiritual life. For he found God there, and brought back the intelligence, never more needed than now, that even in the sea and in its inhabitants the Universal Soul is present and operative.
It is a common notion that the Hebrews did not believe in the existence and indestructibility of the soul, even as respects man. So far is this from being the case, there is in the Old Testament instance after instance of the doctrine that the souls of animals, as well as of men, are precious in the sight of God. The stories of Balaam’s ass, of Elijah’s ravens, of Elisha’s bears and floating iron, of Daniel’s lions, and of Jonah’s whale, distinctly illustrate the pantheistic teaching of the Hebrew religion – that all nature is animated by one and the same universal consciousness. There are numerous passages in the Bible distinctly maintaining this doctrine. Neither the vegetation nor the ground itself was exempt from its share of the same spirit. And evidence is not wanting to show that it needs only that the system be in sound health, and thoroughly free from the taint of innocent blood, for any one in these days to see – as did Moses
in the burning bush – the divine presence of the universal soul in every bush and tree around us, whether ablaze with the golden blossoms of summer, or stripped and stark with frost, and awaiting1 its resurrection from the death of winter. But then this is a matter of sympathy; and the orthodox scientist repudiates sympathy in his dealings with disease. But how then shall he save his patient? Have we quite forgotten the old saying, “By their fruits ye shall know them”?
An instance from the actual life that is being lived among us will serve to illustrate my meaning. One of our most distinguished littérateurs and scientists has declared publicly that he has surpassed almost every professional English physiologist in the lengths to which he has carried the practice of cruel experimentation. An eager student of the more recondite phenomena of mind, he recently published an account of a remarkable experience which occurred to himself, and which I give in his own words: –
“Although my tone of thought is profoundly opposed to that of Spiritualism, I can conscientiously say that no effort has been wanting on my part to seek out its strongest arguments in the works of ail the great teachers. Indeed, there was one brief period when I was very near
a conversion. The idea of a noumenal mind, as something distinct from mental phenomena – a something diffused through the organism giving unity to consciousness, very different from the unity of a machine, flashed upon me one morning with a sudden and novel force, quite unlike the shadowy vagueness with which it had heretofore been conceived. For some minutes I was motionless in a rapt state of thrilled surprise. I seemed standing at the entrance of a new path, leading to new issues with a vast horizon. The convictions of a life seemed tottering. A tremulous eagerness, suffused with the keen delight of discovery, yet mingled with cross lights and hesitations, stirred me; and from that moment I have understood something of sudden conversions. There was, as I afterwards remembered, no feeling of distress at this prospect o f parting with old beliefs. Indeed, it is doubtful whether sudden conversions are accompanied by pain, the excitement is too great, the new ideas too absorbing. The rapture of truth overcomes the false shame of having been in error. The one desire is for more light.
“The intense and prolonged meditation which folio wed, affected my health. I re-read the writings of the great thinkers on the spiritualist
side, doing my utmost to keep in abeyance the old objections and hesitations which continually surged up, and trying to keep my mind open to all the force of argument which could be urged. But the light flickered as I moved. The old trains of thought would recur, with the physiological evidence which could not be disputed. Instead of gaining conviction from the writings of meta-physicians, the more I studied them, the more the darkness gathered; till finally I returned to my starting-point, and began to re-examine it. This was the result: I saw that the distinction between a noumenal mind and mental phenomena was a purely logical distinction, transformed into a real distinction; it was the separation of an abstraction from its concretes, such as we make when we separate the abstraction substance from concrete qualities; and this separation, effected logically, we erect into a real distinction by substantialising the abstraction, which is then supposed to precede and produce the concretes from which it is raised. The noumenal mind had thus no more warrant than a machine principle apart from all machines, or a vital principle apart from vital phenomena.”*
*The Fortnightly Review, April, 1876.
Was there ever a more self-stultifying confession, or one that better illustrates the mental condition of our would be leaders and teachers? The inability of the physical vision to behold the substance of a phenomenon confessedly spiritual, is made the reason for declining to believe in the reality both of such phenomenon and of such substance also! And further, the inability of the individual to trace the process whereby the noumenal mind translates itself into the phenomenal reason, is held to justify him in denying that there is such a thing as a noumenal mind. He therefore gives up his quest for the source of the intuitions, satisfied with denying their existence even after the proof afforded him; and reposes contentedly in the belief that the abstract is an imagined result of the concrete, and has no real existence apart from the concrete or from the individual who imagines it. It were to be wished that Mr. George Henry Lewes had informed us whence he derives his concrete.
To my mind it is a wonderful instance of the long-suffering of the Eternal that one whose hands were stained in the blood, and whose heart was seared to the cries, of his agonised fellow-creatures, and whose mind, moreover, was imbued with a doctrine that implies the lowest possible
view of the divine character – namely, the pessimistic doctrine of vicarious sacrifice – as manifested by his treatment of animals, should be vouchsafed even a momentary glimpse of the heavenly vision. That he was thus favoured, that the pall of innocent blood which he had placed over his eyes should have been for an instant withdrawn, and that instead of sedulously cultivating the conditions under which the event had taken place, in order to make assurance sure, he should first close his eyes in order to reason himself into the belief that he had not really seen, and then made the world a confidant of the revelation of his unfaithfulness at once to his spiritual and to his intellectual perceptions, and still be tolerated as a philosopher, – these are things which ought indeed to show England where she stands and whither she is tending.
The restriction is purely arbitrary which limits the application of the term abstract to mental conceptions only, or which denies that such conception may constitute an actual perception. A concrete is but the integrated result of elements previously subsisting as a whole in a more diffused form, in a mass of greater extent and capacity; and in respect to which certain of its elements, segregated and re-combined, constitute a concrete. The question is not affected by the
consideration, whether the original entity concerned be physical or spiritual in its nature. The substance of all entities, whatever the plane of existence to which they belong, must be the product of the original absolute mind; secretions, as it were, corresponding in substance to that of our own thoughts, in the mind of Deity, – thoughts for Him, but realities for us. That the power of perceiving that which is termed the ideal should be withheld from the bodily senses by whose means we perform our various fleshly functions, and reserved for perception by a finer faculty than is required for ordinary uses, and by a class of individuals who endeavour, by leading a life in the spirit, to qualify themselves for transcending the range of sense, is but what might reasonably be expected in an existence partaking of the universal dualism, and having for its constituents the entities distinguished as matter and spirit. Hence it is evident that in declining to believe in the existence of a spiritual world simply because he cannot with his material eyes discern the substance of which it consists, or with his ordinary intellect imagine the steps of the process whereby the universal consciousness becomes differentiated and integrated into the individual mind – for this is what his reasoning amounts to – Mr. Lewes acts precisely as one
who should decline to acknowledge the earth as constituting the original abstract of which our own physical organisms are the extracted concretes. For, failing to trace either the steps by which the diffused consciousness of the earth became transmuted into his own consciousness, or even the steps by which its general substance became transmuted into his organism, he is reduced to the supposition that the earth not only has no consciousness, but has no existence whatever but that of an imaginary abstraction resulting from the mental processes of man’s own mind!
Poor Mother Earth! she fares as badly as her Maker among these men of “science.” They will scarcely allow her an existence, much less a consciousness of her own! Yet it is a matter for considerable wonder whence they consider their own consciousness to be derived, if it come not from their Mother Earth. And who, it may be asked, gave them permission to regard the mother that bore, that sustained, that renews the existence in the culture of which they commit such terrible crimes, as a dead insensate clod, devoid of a particle of that consciousness on their possession of which they so highly pride themselves? Surely the earth does not show herself so very insensible to the influences of the
seasons, to the appeals whereby man seeks to win his sustenance at her breast, to his sense of beauty, or his million conveniences in every sphere of his manifold activity. Is it because the earth has so long been separated from her parent sun, as to have lost the glowing envelope which once she shared with him, and cooled down to a temperature suitable to our frigid systems, that she merits the contempt so plentifully lavished upon her? The scientists allow that the substance of every living organism, which they call protoplasm, is but an extract from the various materials of which the earth is composed; in fact, a concrete of which the earth is the abstract. Has the earth then exhausted her power to supply this” protoplasm,” and so placed restrictions, grievous to be borne, upon the satisfaction of man’s desire further to propagate his species? Or is the earth continually, by virtue of the consciousness residing in her, producing fresh supplies of that substance so marvellous, so exquisite, so supremely endowed as to be able to develop into the human brain, and all the wonders of the intellect, and to do this perchance at a cost to herself that we cannot possibly estimate?
It is an ancient conception of existence that
regards creation as an act of self-suppression and self-sacrifice on the part of Deity, inasmuch as it involves a detachment from himself of his own substance, in order to make the world. This was on the physical plane of the world’s existence. A second and more stupendous sacrifice of himself was held to be that whereby he redeemed the world he had made; for this consisted in his parting with his own spirit in order to infuse it into and animate with it his former physical creation. In the Hindoo and some other cosmogonies, the Demiurge, by whose agency the world was made and saved, was represented as dying to effect his purpose.
It will perhaps not be unconducive to the growth of a warmer respect and affection for the Earth to consider a little the self-sacrifices to which we owe all that we are and have. Female to the sun’s male, she produces us with we know not what pangs or what self-complacency, and it does not follow, because we cannot trace the process whereby her abstract consciousness becomes transmuted into the concrete in our mental processes, that therefore she has no consciousness whatever. The conclusion that because the faculty of reason requires a complex physical organism, therefore the faculty of consciousness, or direct
perception, is impossible in the absence of such organism, is one of the most monstrous assumptions ever devised; as if anything could be predicated of the basis of consciousness, except that it appertains to mind, as it does by virtue of the very definition of mind.
Yes, one thing has been predicated of the earth by one of our most distinguished scientific tormentors, one to whom the honour of a gold medal has just been awarded by the Royal Society. In the address delivered by him as President of the British Association, a few years ago, Sir William Thompson gravely suggested that the earth might possibly have been indebted for the life upon it to the accidental impact of some stray meteorite upon which a germ of life from some other system had survived. The total absence of the faculty of sympathetic imagination indicated by such an utterance on the part of one who is given to experimentation upon living animals, is provocative of considerations of a very painful nature. For the suggestion shows such dullness, crudeness, and narrowness of mental capacity, perceptive and reflective, as to render inevitable the conviction that the man who made it must be capable of cutting and slashing mercilessly into the most sensitive
organisms in careless quest of the delicate mysteries of life, without having the slightest conception of the real nature of that for which he is seeking, or’ of the means whereby it is to be observed.
For the least effort to apply intelligent thought to the problem of the origin of life upon the earth, cannot fail at once to excite the reflection that, inasmuch as the earth must have once been a constituent portion of the homogeneous mass of which the sun and the entire system consists, it must contain in itself the whole of the properties with which that system is endowed; and hence that, if the earth was incapable of producing the life with which it is covered, no part of the solar system could have produced it.
The supposition that the vitalised meteorite in question might have come from some system other than our own, is equally by the necessity of the case put out of court. For the imagination has to be carried but a single step further back than we carried it just no w to see that, precisely as we must regard our sun and its satellites as originally constituting one homogeneous mass, so must we regard the whole of the systems of which the universe is the aggregate as also originally constituting one
homogeneous mass; so that it is again inevitable that if one of the systems is incapable of producing life, the whole universe must be equally incapable of producing it.
The truth is, that the orthodox and vivisecting mind is so averse to the recognition of the doctrine of a living conscious mind as the essential constituent of existence, that it jumps at any absurdity rather than for a moment admit that such doctrine has a word to be said for it. And so utterly incompetent is this class of mind to any exercise of the sympathetic perceptions, that it is scarcely possible to avoid accepting the ancient doctrine of transmigration of souls, and to suppose that the bodies of vivisectors are actually tenanted by what once were the souls of carnivorous beasts.
Strange though such a suggestion may appear to a people who have long ceased to believe in the existence of souls, not only has it the sanction of some of the highest intelligences the world has ever produced, but it is impossible to adduce any reason why it should not be true. Once granted that the soul is an entity and capable of existing apart from a sensible organism, it becomes almost an absolute certainty that the doctrine of transmigration is true. We have seen what reasons there are for finding the
materialistic hypothesis unsatisfactory. It will not carry more than a fraction of the facts of existence. If looked more closely into, it will in all probability be found unable to account for a single one of those facts. It will not, for instance, account for the consciousness which enables me to say I am; because that involves self-consciousness, which is conceivable of only as constituting an individual integration of a general consciousness. Still less will the hypothesis of an unconscious basis of existence account for the relatedness manifestly subsisting between various portions of the common existence.
Granting, then, that there is a basis for consciousness – which, inasmuch as it is not susceptible of appreciation by the senses, is not that which we call matter – there must be such a basis which is directly appreciable by itself, whether as a whole, or as the portions of itself which have become concreted in us who are conscious. And it is further by no means irrational to suppose that, this basis of consciousness being indestructible, its particular individuated units may also be indestructible, and so may have an immortal existence corresponding to that of the ultimate physical atoms of which materialists suppose the phenomenal world to be built up. What if the
atomic theory be true, with the difference that the atoms are really spiritual units into which the universal consciousness has voluntarily distributed itself?
We have no w reached a stage at which the further step to the transmigration of souls becomes easy. For if these individuated and indestructible units of consciousness are wont to assume material forms, and to become what are called souls in respect to bodies of flesh, they must be expected to assume precisely such forms as will best harmonise with their predominant propensities. The popular painter, Sir Edwin Landseer, possessed a marvellous faculty for rendering upon canvas the humanity expressed in the countenances of animals. It is difficult, when gazing upon some of his paintings, to resist the belief that a certain community of soul subsists between animals and men. Every one notices the same resemblance, not in features only, but in characteristics of mind and habit, between animals and persons whom one sees.
The suggestion, then, that I wish to offer for the consideration of my readers, and especially those of them who are so depraved as to be capable of torturing animals, is that, supposing that there are souls who are seeking
for bodies in which they may, by becoming denizens of earth, undergo in the flesh certain experiences which they feel to be essential to the further development of their spiritual consciousness, such, for instance, as their purification from the stain of sins committed in a previous state of existence – sins of impurity, of selfishness, of pride, of violence, of cruelty – is it not conceivable that they would select those bodies, whether of men or animals, for which they had either the strongest affinity of character, or which would afford them the most effective aid in promoting their desired reformation? Is it not probable, for instance, that a soul which had been guilty of wanton and barbarous cruelty should, under the impulsion of some divine instinct, lodge itself in the body of au animal liable to painful experimentation, with a view to making in its own person a complete expiation for its past conduct? or that the soul of a vivisector, for instance, should be doomed hereafter to be incarcerated in the body of such an animal simply that, by practical experience in his own person of the nature of pain, he might learn the value of the sympathetic faculties, and so be really qualified for promotion to a higher level at his next transmigration?
I throw out these thoughts in the hope that
they may serve to arouse a larger sympathy for the earth, which we cannot but regard as our true mother, and for the animals which, in that they and we are children of that mother, are really our younger brethren, and perhaps our past or future selves. The further suggestion that the earth may be but the mother of the bodily part of us, the organism and the lower faculties, those of sense and of mind merely, and that we, and the animals with us, may be endowed with souls derived from the substance of the Supreme Soul itself of the universe, ought to strengthen the feeling with which we regard each other as being connected together by a double and indissoluble bond which makes us all virtually component parts of one and the same individual
It may be well to remark that the impression which largely prevails among the semi-educated and wholly ignorant folks who constitute what is called Society, to the effect that science has demonstrated the non-existence of the soul, is wholly erroneous. Science has done nothing of the kind. All it has done is to state that what is called soul is not appreciable by the senses, even with the aid of the microscope or any of the appliances at its command; and to show that the phenomena of
existence are utterly insoluble, save by the supposition that something corresponding to the soul exists. All are not of Science who are called by its name.
A remarkable instance of the crass
stupidity of so-called scientists in respect of matters of this kind occurred
recently in the
We have among us a delineator of certain phases of English life, unsurpassed in power to discern the secret springs of motive through which character becomes precipitated in conduct. Every creation that proceeds from the mind of this writer is devoured and discussed
with unprecedented interest by the whole English-speaking world. Of nobility of tone, gravity of style, and finish of workmanship, little is left to be desired by the most exacting critic. Delight and wonder follow every page, and people are lost in doubt which of all the qualities exhibited to admire most.
There applause must cease, for there the good ends. Notwithstanding all that has been said respecting their interest, their power, and the excellence of their workmanship, the writings of “George Eliot” exhibit, with scarcely an exception, indications not to be mistaken that their author has, as a thinker, drunk deep of the paralysing waters of the prevailing pessimism. All ambition, all aspiration, all achievement, is regarded but as the dream of a disordered imagination. Good though men and women are, or may strive to be, existence is itself bad. Every effort is foredoomed to disappointment. Dust and ashes are the beginning, the way, and the end of all things. There is no good, no hope, no God in the world or out of it: and the sooner we quench all aspiration within us, and accept the pessimistic view of existence as an all-devouring fiend, ever sacrificing its own children to its own relentless voracity, the better
for us while we live, and the more of enjoyment for us to look back upon when we die. Sooner than suffer a child of mine to be nourished on the putrefying corpse of a philosophy like this, no matter how daintily served up it may seem to the eye, no matter how highly spiced with wit, and poetry, and science, I would give him in preference the sheer animalism of that other school of literature which flourishes among us – only taking care that it belongs to the healthy and not to the morbid division, for this also thrives and is strong among us – knowing that while one means at least the life of the body, the other means the death of the spirit.
“George Eliot” and George Henry Lewes. By no conscious design of mine have these two names here come into such close juxtaposition. Yet is it not apparent that the spirit which animates the works of the one is that which animates the work of the other, and that the cry of despair that issues from the great woman’s heart on the side of the one, is but the inevitable supplement and complement of the blood-shed and agony inflicted on the side of the other? The philosophy of “George Eliot” is that of the vivisector’s torture-chamber; that the higher must succumb to the lower; the animal redeem
the man! Readers, feeling instinctively that there must be something wrong in such doctrine, fancy that they have solved the mystery when they have complained of the intrusion of scientific analysis into a region proper to artistic synthesis. They are mistaken. It is not the science, but the negation of science, that vitiates the works of” George Eliot.” Science, the true science, recognises all planes of existence, and ignores no fact that belongs to any plane. The science we are contemplating is that of a man who, in his ascent of the infinite ladder of existence, has managed to reach the first step of the stage of self-consciousness, and because he as yet sees nothing beyond, forthwith deems himself at the summit and proclaims that all is vanity and vexation, – he, who in the very act of looking upwards, according to his own confession, closes his eyes!
Thus does the whole fabric of modern thought and modern life – that fabric reared at the cost of so many tears, so much blood, such unspeakable agony, and by the exercise of such stupendous selfishness, cruelty, and stupidity on the part of men, – collapse and vanish at the first touch of the Ithuriel spear of a healthy intuition!
And if asked why I thus take upon myself to tear from the breast of one after another of our intellectual workers the honours wherewith we have delighted to decorate them, I say it is because I see with absolute vision that it is they who have been the chief aiders and abettors of my country’s headlong course that it is they who, by preaching up the pessimist doctrine of salvation by selfishness, have ministered to the suppression of my country’s once vivid and luminous soul; and that it is they who, by translating the doctrine of vicarious atonement from the spiritual to the animal sphere, have made life a perpetual nightmare and shudder for every man and woman possessing a spark of vitality in the region of the sympathies. And it is on behalf of every individual member of the organism in whom the soul of England still lives and operates, of whom I claim to be one, that I say to the torturers, scientific or un-scientific, of the poor voiceless children of our common parent, – “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”
There are poets who see, and poets who have seen. To which category must we assign him who
in years too long past thus, in his” Abt Vogler,” wrote of the Intuitions –
“ Sorrow is hard to bear, and doubt is slow to clear, Each sufferer says his say, his scheme of the weal and woe, But God has a few of us whom He whispers in the ear:
The rest may reason and welcome: ‘tis we musicians know;”
– when he now throws his weight into the scale
to enable the night and winter of
Into every stratum of the national life has the fatal paralysis descended. Even our once genial, kindly Punch, oblivious of his own faithful follower, has forfeited his ticket-of-leave by throwing his baton into the scale with the tormentors, and with gibe and cartoon lying on behalf of cruelty.
Are we never to recognise the plainest meanings of the existence of which we all necessarily partake? Is the differentiation of the infinite into that universal dualism upon the harmonious co-operation and co-ordination of the two divisions of which existence itself throughout all its secondary and phenomenal planes is dependent, to be
repudiated with scorn and contempt, and some other plan of our own to be adopted in its place? Are we the makers of the universe, or is God? Why is it that we have lost the art of marriage, and with it all the other arts? Why is it that our women are compelled to sell themselves in marriage for money, through the men having in themselves nothing better to offer them? Why is it that at every step we take in our present direction, we get deeper and deeper into blood and misery, and all the evils that come of the worship of sense? It is because, in our determination at all hazards to ignore the most universal and obvious facts of existence – a process which we call “science!” – that we insist upon divorcing from each other those qualities of existence which, as male and female to each other, consist in the universal world of Thought and Feeling, in the physical world of light and heat, in the substantial world of spirit and matter, in the human world of soul and body, in the moral world of wisdom and love, in the intellectual world of perception and reflection, or imagination and reason, in the animal world of male and female, in the organic world of motor and sensory, in the mechanical world of energy and space, in the chemical world of
acid and alkali, in the electrical world of positive and negative, and in. the magnetic world of attraction and repulsion. No matter what the plane of existence, male and female are meant to be wedded to the world’s end, wedded, blended, combined, identified so that they may constitute one perfect and harmonious whole, flesh of each. other’s flesh, bone of each other’s bone, soul of each other’s soul, and spirit of each other’s spirit, so that the whole may be one in body mind, soul, and spirit, even as God Himself is one, and all things are one in Him.
Fallen as are the Churches until they retain scarce a vestige of the spirit that called them into existence, they still occasionally manifest sparks of their old divine intuition. They still protest against the principle of divorce, though they make the disastrous yet grotesque blunder of regarding all those as truly wedded over whom a priestly exorcism has been pronounced. It is not whom the priest, but “whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder,” that is the true law of marriage for every one of the planes of existence just enumerated, and also of as many more planes as existence may contain. However many those planes, however remote from our present observation, however far
removed above e the plane of spirit, were it possible to be so, or below the plane of sense, were that possible, the same law, because the same will, governs all, and resumes all in itself. “The discovery of a Law is the elimination of a Will,” cries modern science, gleeful at such a proof of its own smartness; as if law could by any manner of means be conceived of, whether in heaven above or on earth below or in the waters under the earth, save as the expression of a Will! Finding no caprice in Nature, but seeing existence marching on in grand and stately order, turning to neither right nor left, no matter who may be so foolish as to get in the way of the divine chariot-wheels, science declares that there is no Will; when what science really means is that there is no wilfulness; but only the unchanging operation of a perfect Will, the product of a perfect Mind, which, knowing and foreknowing all things, is not subject to “variableness or shadow of turning.”
Of that Will comes it that only of the harmonious union of the male and female qualities of existence shall any good proceed; that from such union shall spring all possible blessing; from its opposite every curse; that thought without feeling, knowledge without sympathy,
science without religion, Nature without God, body without soul, man without woman, shall mean the consignment of man to blood and woman to tears, and both to agony, despair, madness, and death.
It is under the teaching of a religion that makes God the devourer, instead of the loving parent and saviour of his own offspring; of a religion that is no other than a sacerdotal travesty, burlesque, and degradation of the one only true possible and perfect religion, which, ever present in the world, has ever been persecuted by the world; of the religion of the false priest and false prophet, the dungeon, the stake, and the rack, – that we have sunk to a science which but reproduces on its own plane of man’s existence every lie and every atrocity which have served to make the very names of Church and Religion stink in the nostrils of humanity. From the union of these orthodoxies – a union dictated by their essential affinity of character and distinction of sex, though in its outward manifestation marked by so much discordance – has sprung the conduct in which as a people we exhibit the parentage of our false self. For while our political life has for the rest of the world been a scarcely broken career of violence, bloodshed, and fraud – need I specify our treatment
without let or hindrance enact their everlasting drama of blood.
We are approaching the true significance of the movement that, portentous in the midst of its apparent grotesqueness, is perplexing our political and social worlds as by the sudden appearance in our midst of a new breed of humanity, a sort of third sex that is neither male nor female, yet contains the essential elements of both, and respecting which we cannot make up our minds whether contemptuously to tolerate or indignantly to repudiate it. Under-standing this movement, perhaps some will begin to think that there is more of reality in the ideal world of spirit than they are wont to suppose.
Following Plato instead of Christ, the Church, while it raised woman in the abstract into the Godhead, relegated woman in the concrete to the lower and animal planes of Nature. Instead of placing her actually beside man where, “taming one another still,” man and woman might so refine and exalt each other as to raise humanity in the concrete to the original height of its archetypal idea – the Adam Kadmon of the Hebrew transcendentalists, – Plato relegated
an to the scullery, and the Church to the cloister, as if expressly in order that, “cumbered
with much serving,” she might wholly lose that intuitional faculty by virtue of her superiority in which she is mainly distinguished from man. It is thus that orthodoxy has read that great lesson of existence which finds its supremest expression in woman, – the lesson that by the subordination of the body is the exaltation of the spirit. Sinking below man in one direction, she rises above him in another. Suffused by the spirit, of which he is the representative and the visible expression, she is to him at once Magdalen and, Virgin, – at once mistress of his lower affections, and mother in him of God. “Corruptio optimi pessima.” And hence it comes that when by declining to subordinate her lower self she exalts it to the place of the supreme e, and like her national antitype, France, substitutes merely physical sense and sex for deity, woman fails below the lowest reach attainable by man. It is, I say, by her physical and intellectual subordination that woman attains her moral and spiritual supremacy, and so sees where man only reasons, feels where man is insensible, and becomes capable of knowing ail things positively and truly where man only supposes some things doubtfully.
Every people represents some distinctive spiritual
with their depraved passion for that pursuit. How absolutely devoid of any public conscience are its ruling classes, may be gathered from the fact that one of its most distinguished physicians can not only perform, but publish, an account of an “experiment” in which he states that he deliberately burnt out with red-hot irons various portions of the brain of a young dog; that because of its terrible cries he beat it, and because the beating produced no effect in quieting it, pronounced it “incorrigible;” and after some days he was obliged reluctantly to kill it, not for mercy’s sake, but because its irrepressible howlings disturbed the neighbourhood. This is but a single item of the myriad horrors upon which, according to the solemn assurance of the chief priests and Pharisees of our own medical world, a true civilisation and science of healing alone can be reared. So utterly lost are the French public of the middle and upper classes in respect of the intuitional faculty, and so utterly have they abandoned themselves to the dictation of their various orthodoxies, that even a physiological lesson to a school of young girls is hardly considered complete unless illustrated by experimentations upon living animals. In an instance which carne to my knowledge, one of the children
objected so vehemently to the exhibition that she had to be removed. She was English.
Alas! to reflect that such sweet invaluable sympathies will soon vanish before a little experience of the country life of England, where animal murder is exalted at once into a religion and a science; where a sacrifice of blood is the only condition on which life is held to be tolerable; and where the chief ambition of an English gentleman is to be an amateur butcher!
The aspect of a village in one of our mining districts, where I passed a recent Christmas, struck me as singularly illustrative of our condition as a people. In the towns I had, of course, been accustomed to see the festival of the new life that had been born into the world celebrated by the public exhibition in the provision shops of the usual hecatombs of animal corpses. But the fair village among the peaceful hills far surpassed in sacrificial enthusiasm any homage that a town could offer to the gory Moloch of our national orthodoxies. For some days before Christmas the population had been engaged in the annual killing of their pigs, a process which for that period had involved the incessant piercing of the skies by the agonised screams of the innocents thus massacred in advance!
The slaughter was finished by Christmas Eve,
and the villagers went out over the country
to hallelujahs about the “Lord of Life,” and “It was the joy of One,” and “How
beautiful upon the mountains!” and the next morning saw them flocking to the
village church to do further homage to the genius of the day. A thin fleece of
new-fallen snow covered the ground, as if sent expressly to signify that Nature
had condoned the violence done to herself in her porcine children, and was now
anxious only to obliterate ail traces of the deed. But the effort was
unsuccessful. For in the gutters between the white foot-and-roadways ran the
blood in streams, while every here and there a large ensanguined patch of snow
indicated the place of a standing pool of blood. The decorations of the church
and the vigour of the responses served to aggravate the incongruity of the
whole. And the only reflection possible \vas to the effect that in that rough
little village community was contained the epitome of ail
“What dost thou here,
Trampling thy mother’s bosom into blood?”
Our physiologists complain that,
if restricted in the use of torture, they will be the laughing-stock of ail
their European brethren. The man with a conscience always is a subject of
ridicule for man without a conscience, until something to make the latter admit
that his system is not so perfect as be bad imagined. Perhaps an exposition of
the true place held by
France bas been variously styled
the “Messiah” and the” Woman” of nations; the former epithet – which is of
French origin – being intended to imply that her various revolutions have been
but experiments in which she has sacrificed herself for the benefit of the
world. Of the fitness of the phrase “Woman of Nations” there can be no doubt.
The Celtic peoples are, by virtue of their temperament, as compared with the
Teutonic, essentially feminine; and
the conclusion that, though her recognised official symbol is Notre Dame de Victoire, thus far her true symbol is Notre Dame de Lorette. But while both character and career stamp her the Magdalen of Nations, she has nought yet to show that corresponds with her prototype’s repentance and amendment. France is still a prodigal who has not “come to himself,” and returned to the paternal roof; – is still a Magdalen who has yet to bring her tears and her offerings to the Master’s feet.
It is true that there exists in
France a soul at once exquisitely and passionately womanly; but it is the soul
of a woman who, albeit she may have it in her to enact the character of a
Madonna under the redeeming influence of a regeneration yet to come, is at
present but a Magdalen who, by her incessant exhibitions of outrageous and
frantic wilfulness, has forced her strong spouse, for her own sake and his, to
disarm and strongly to restrain her. In the international economy of Europe,
The true cause of the determined opposition of
has ever found in vain and ambitious Trance
its most subservient accomplice. Thus the history of France, like that of
Israel, represents the constant conflict of prophet and priest, soul and sense,
intuition and orthodoxy; while for Germany the effect has been precisely that
produced on a man by the profligacy and infidelity of his wife. It has abandoned
the culture of the intuitions and of the ideal, and, driven in self-defence to
the adoption of force, has come to look upon a will of iron and a regime of
blood as constituting the only possible God. The pessimism of
with more or less of passion, – not love.
the Paris of today, and the Magdalen who fulfils for it the part of patron saint, are in effect but a new incarnation of the hero and heroine of the Iliad, whose salvation thus jet remains to he accomplished by means of a new and more stupendous conflict on the everlasting battlefield of soul and sense, the earth and man. It is for this that a day of grace is yet accorded to Trance. But as she now is, she stands among the nations as the representative of womanhood unfaithful to her intuitions of the ideal.
Such is the true position of the
land to which our scientific investigators turn with longing and envy. They
regard science as a thing wholly disconnected from moral considerations. Hence
it is that the utter abandonment by
is nothing else than a translation from the sphere of religion of the orthodox doctrine that might makes right. And it is a direct subversion of the whole theory and practice of true medicine. True medicine is in itself essentiality moral, and corresponds in its method to all morals whatever. The procedure is the same in the case of an offender under either category. The general alimentary system is first purged in order to expel any noxious substance that may have got into it. If this be insufficient, a special application of a painful kind that may operate as a counter-irritant is made to the part affected. This failing, the circulatory system is lowered, in order to reduce the rebel as a whole to subordination. The final resource, used only in a case of incorrigible obstinacy, is amputation, or the capital punishment of the offending member. We thus see that the correspondence throughout is so close, that when a doctor seeks to obtain our approval for immoral, because cruel and selfish, practices, on the ground that there is no affinity between medicine and morals, we may at once safely conclude that he is wholly ignorant of the true nature both of medicine and morals.
It is because woman no longer finds herself through man animated by the spirit which,
virtue of her intuitions, she recognises as the parent of her own and of all spirits – a function which, now that be has renounced his spiritual part, man can no longer fulfil for her – that woman is invading every field of activity which man has set aside for himself as if expressly in order that, unchecked by her moral superiority, be may without stint revel in blood and carnage.
In the meantime, woman herself does not know the inner and true significance of the impulse that is thus urging her. She thinks, and as usual is wrong when she only thinks, that she is simply seeking for herself the wherewithal to subsist upon now that she is to so great an extent abandoned by man. Were this all that it contains, the “woman’s movement” of this age would, after a brief effervescence, subside and disappear. But this is not all. For that which it really represents is no other than that which bas constituted the initiation of every new religion that the world has seen. This is a new development of the Spirit within humanity; a revivification of the expiring soul of man, which is to redeem him from the death into which be bas fallen, and to carry him on to new heights of spiritual perfection. To this end it was necessary
that the element so long despised and rejected of man, that indispensable constituent of his own nature – namely, woman and her intuitions of right – should be taken up into humanity, and thereby into deity, anew. To this end tile impulses of the physical needs of woman, which for the outward view constitute the sole rationale of the movement, are in reality subordinate. The woman’s movement is a spiritual movement; and it signifies nothing less than the initiation of a wholly new order of things on earth. For it is the commencement of the latest stage of development of that of winch the chief previous stages – Brahminism, Mosaism, Zoroastrianism, Mithraism, Buddhism, Osirisism, Platonism, Christianism, Catholicism, and every highly vitalised religion, have all been attempts, of varying degrees of adequacy, to achieve the full realisation: – namely, the full, perfect, and practical recognition of the necessary truth, that all elements whatever which enter into and constitute the visible creation of which man is the apex and culmination, are alike essentially Divine, equally related to God, mutually related to each other in God, and together with God constituting one infinite, eternal, personal Existence, of which, while
Nature is the chosen, secondary, and derived body, the creating, animating, forming, sustaining, redeeming, purifying, sanctifying, justifying, and glorifying spirit is God.
For, just as all individual existences are limitations of the one infinite existence, so all individual religious systems are limitations of one perfect religion. No religion can be perfect which omits from divine or human recognition aught that appertains to existence. In this view the old theological conception of a positive principle of evil is wholly inadmissible. Evil is only the limitation or negation of good in the moral and spiritual world, as in the physical world darkness is the limitation or negation of light. There may of course, on the hypothesis of a spiritual world tenanted, as is the earth, by a host of individual existences, be some one individual that, prior to his final suffusion by the Almighty heat and light, and redemption by the Almighty love, has attained over his fellows a supremacy of evil corresponding to that accorded to Satan: – that has attained a degree of depravity surpassing any reached by his fellows, just as in this world there occasionally appears some character with a positive genius for wickedness, as a Nero, a Thommassen, a Schiff. But that
it should be possible for any one of the orbs of the divine system to wander so far from its parent sun into the outer darkness of space, as to transcend the possibility of being again drawn within the influence of the divine attraction, and again penetrated by and suffused with the divine heat and love, is a supposition that need not be entertained of the spiritual world until it has been demonstrated as possible in the physical.