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Title: Science and the Infinite - or Through a Window in the Blank Wall
Author: Klein, Sydney T., 1853-1934
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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SCIENCE AND THE INFINITE

Or

Through a Window in the Blank Wall

by

SYDNEY T. KLEIN



[Illustration: "THE MYSTERY OF THE APEX"

VIEW NO. 3]



Second Impression

London
William Rider & Son, Limited
Cathedral House, Paternoster Row, E.C.
1917

First Published November 1912
Reprinted September 1917



TO

THE RIGHT HON.

ARTHUR JAMES BALFOUR



PREFACE


In venturing to prepare this little volume for the eyes of the reading
public, I am fully aware of the difficulties of the subject and the
inadequacy of the expressions I have been able to employ, but I have
made the attempt at the request of those who have found consolation in
some of the thoughts herein embodied; and the messages left by others
before they passed away, embolden me to hope that many others may find
in this volume some points of interest which will help them to
appreciate better the "joys" which this life has for those who know
how to look for them, and that perhaps others may even gain a clearer
conception of that which awaits us beyond the Veil.

Many of us allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the small worries and
vexations of everyday life, clothing them with a reality quite
disproportionate to their importance; we are too apt to look at them,
as it were, through a powerful microscope, piling power upon power of
magnification, until we have made mountains out of mole-hills,
whereas if we treated them at their true value we should look at them
through a telescope, in the reverse direction, when they would appear
not only trivial, but would be seen to be too remote to have any
material effect on our lives.

The sub-title of this volume, and indeed its inception, arose from my
lately coming in contact with one of those establishments which are
doing for humanity what a mother's arms do for the child who is "sick
unto death"--a beautiful home with cheerful rooms and cheerful nurses,
where patients are tenderly cared for after severe operations, carried
through by our most famous surgeons, some cases, alas, almost hopeless
from the first. At the head of this establishment was one of those
kindly self-abnegating personalities, whose loving sympathy and
encouragement have comforted the dying and smoothed the path for many
a weary pilgrim passing from this life to the next. With immense
responsibilities on her shoulders, and after a day full of strenuous
work, the head of this establishment would often sit through the night
for hours by the couch of those whose lives could not possibly be
prolonged for more than a few days. It was a few simple answers
elicited by the questions brought to me from those poor sufferers, and
the way such answers seemed to calm anxieties connected with the fear
of death and to render the impenetrable Veil more transparent, which
suggested the title, "Through a Window in the Blank Wall."

I do not wish to lay claim to having made any startling discovery;
similar thoughts, especially those concerning the non-reality of Time
and Space, have no doubt occurred to others, but the whole problem
"What is the Reality?" has been insistently pressing on me ever since
I can remember, and I have tried to give here in simple colloquial
language, without any attempt at rhetoric, the conclusions I have
personally come to as to what is the Truth.

The study of ancient and modern philosophic theories is useful as
showing how impossible it is, for even the greatest thinkers of any
age, to grasp the Absolute with our understanding or to measure the
Infinite with our finite units. The propounders of all these theories
seem to me to be, without exception, looking in the wrong direction
for the "Reality of Being"; they are all arguing from the standpoint
of "Intellectualism" in a similar manner to that of the "Theologians"
referred to in View Three. Our latest expositor of this, M. Henri
Bergson, bases his theory upon "Life" being the Reality; this he
postulates is a "flowing" in Time, and _Movement_ therefore becomes
for him the Reality; and yet we know that Motion is but the product
of Time and Space, and these are only the two modes or _limitations_
under which our senses act and upon which our very consciousness of
living depends. Surely the Absolute cannot be localised, must be
Omnipresent, and therefore independent of Space--cannot have a
beginning or end, must be Omniscient, and therefore independent of
Time; these two unrealities can therefore have no existence in
"Reality of Being." If, then, there is any truth in "Intuition," we
have, in this theory, the Reality, "Life," not only limited by the
unreal but actually dependent for its very existence upon those
limitations! In these Views I have attempted, on the contrary, to show
that Time and Space have no existence apart from our Physical Senses;
they are the modes only under which we appreciate motion, or what we
call physical phenomena, and as our conceptional knowledge is based
upon our perceptional knowledge, our very consciousness of living is
limited by Time and Space, and we must surely therefore look behind
consciousness itself, beyond the conditioning in Time and Space for
the Reality of Being, otherwise _physical motion_, the product of
these two limitations, would become the Reality of Being.

I have also suggested reasons for looking upon physical life as a
mode of frequency, akin to Light, Electricity, Magnetism, Chemical
Action, the Vibration of a Tuning Fork, or the Swing of a Pendulum,
and therefore a transient phenomenon having to do only with the Race;
Life can under these conditions only be looked upon as a reality in
the same sense in which all other forms of energy or matter appear
real to our finite senses--namely, as the shadows or manifestations of
the Absolute on our limited plane of Consciousness.

However strongly I may be convinced--as I am--of the truth of my
arguments, and however sure I may be that many others will not only
agree with my conclusions, but will see that in "Introspection" rather
than in "Intellectualism" lies the key to the Mystery, I do not wish
to appear dogmatic in any of the suggestions contained in this volume;
I am stating my own convictions, but at the same time I fully
recognise that the presentation of the Absolute, with its infinite
variety of aspects, must necessarily be different to every individual;
we are all of the same genus, but each individual Ego is, as it were,
a different species, and I do not therefore expect that my attempt to
solve the Riddle of the Universe will appeal to all alike. It is,
however, a true saying that "there is something to be learnt from
every human being," and if I have by these suggestions succeeded in
augmenting the number of those who have already started on the true
"Quest," and have helped, however imperfectly, to enrich some lives
with the "joy" of knowing their oneness with the All-loving, my aim
has indeed been attained.

                    SYDNEY T. KLEIN.

  "HATHERLOW," REIGATE,
    _1st June 1912._



CONTENTS


                                         PAGE
    VIEW ONE

CLEARING THE APPROACH                       1

    VIEW TWO

THE VISION                                 19

    VIEW THREE

MYSTICISM AND SYMBOLISM                    36

    VIEW FOUR

LOVE IN ACTION                             71

    VIEW FIVE

THE PHYSICAL FILM                         100

    VIEW SIX

SPACE                                     122

    VIEW SEVEN

TIME                                      141

    VIEW EIGHT

CREATION                                  165



SCIENCE AND THE INFINITE



VIEW ONE

CLEARING THE APPROACH


The proof that the Human Race is still in its infancy may be seen in
the fact that we still require Symbolism to help us to maintain and
carry forward abstract thought to higher levels, even as children
require picture books for that purpose. The Glamour of Symbolism,
Rapture of Music, and Ideal of Art, which come to us in later years,
had their beginnings when to the child every blade of grass was a
fairy tale and a grass plot a marvellous fairy forest. The great
aspiration of the Human Race is to gain a knowledge of the Reality,
the Noumenon behind the phenomenon; but the fact that from infancy we
have been accustomed to confine our attention wholly to the objective,
believing that to be the reality, has surrounded us with a concrete
boundary wall through which we can only at times, with difficulty, get
transient glimpses of that which is beyond. It is only in recent
years that we have been able to realise that it is the Invisible which
is the Real, that the visible is only its shadow or its manifestation
in the Physical Universe, and that Time and Space have no existence
apart from our physical senses, in short, that they are only the modes
or limits under which those senses act or receive their impressions
and by which they are necessarily rendered finite.

The difficulty is that our physical senses only perceive the surface
of our surroundings, and that we have hitherto been looking at the
Woof of Nature as though it were the glass of a window covered with
patterns, smudges, flies, &c., comprising all that we call physical
phenomena and which, when analysed in terms of Time and Space, produce
the appearance of succession and motion. It requires a keener
perception, unbounded by these limitations, to look through the glass
at the Reality which is beyond. I propose then in a series of short
views, through a window not hitherto unshuttered and in a direction
which I believe has not before been attempted, to lead those of my
readers who have the necessary aspiration, patience, and, above all,
strenuous persistence, to a watch-tower, situated well above the mists
and illusions of our ordinary everyday thoughts, whence they will find
it possible to get a glimpse of a strange new country, and where those
who have by practice once attained to its clear perception, will be
able to continue the study by themselves and thus get further insight
into that wonderful region of Thought which I have called "True
Occultism"--the knowledge of the Invisible which is the Real in place
of the Visible which is only its shadow.

Let us first try and understand the conditions under which phenomena
are presented to us. In our perception of sight, we find the greater
the light, the greater the shadow; a light placed over a table throws
a shadow on the floor, though not sufficient to prevent our seeing the
pattern of the carpet; increase the light and the shadow appears now
so dark that no pattern or carpet can be seen; not that there is now
less light under the table but the light above has to our sense of
sight created or made manifest a greater darkness. Thus, throughout
the Universe, as interpreted by our Physical Ego, we find phenomena
ranging themselves under the form of positive and negative, the
apparently Real and the Unreal.

The Good making manifest its negative Evil.
The Beautiful "    "      "     "     Ugly.
The True      "    "      "     "     False.
Knowledge     "    "      "     "     Ignorance.
Light         "    "      "     "     Darkness.
Heat          "    "      "     "     Cold.

But the negatives have no real existence. As in the case of light we
see that the shadow is only the absence of light, so the negative of
Goodness, _i.e._ Evil, may in reality be looked upon as folly or
wasting of opportunity for exercising the Good. Owing to their
limitations our thoughts are based upon _relativity_, and it is hardly
thinkable that we could, under our present conditions, have any
cognisance of the positive without its negative; we shall in fact see
later on that it is by examining the Physical, the negative or shadow,
that we can best gain a knowledge of the Spiritual, the positive or
real.

The first step to a clear understanding of this, is to recognise that
it is not we who are looking out upon Nature but that it is the
Reality which is ever trying to enter and come into touch with us
through our senses, and is persistently trying to waken within us a
knowledge of the sublimest truths. It is difficult to realise this, as
from infancy we have been accustomed to confine our attention wholly
to the objective, believing that to be the reality.

Let us try and grasp this fact. If we analyse our sense of sight, we
find that the only impression made on our bodies by external objects
is the image formed upon the retina; we have no cognisance of the
separate electro-magnetic rills forming that image, which, reflected
from all parts of an object, fall upon the eye at different angles,
constituting form, and with different frequencies giving colour to
that image; that image is only formed when we turn our eyes in the
right direction to allow those rills to enter; and, whereas those
rills are incessantly beating on the outside of our sense organ when
the eyelid is closed, they can make no impression unless we allow them
to enter by raising that shutter. It is not then any volition from
within that goes out to seize upon and grasp the truths from Nature,
but the phenomena are as it were forcing their way into our
consciousness. This is more difficult to realise when the object is
near to us, as we are apt to confound it with our sense of touch,
which requires us to stretch out our hand to the object, but it is
clearer when we take an object far away. In our telescopes we catch
the rills of light which started from a star a thousand years ago and
the image is still formed on the retina _now_ although those rills are
in fact a thousand years old and, invisible to our unaided eye, have
been falling upon mankind from the beginning of life on this globe,
trying to get an entrance to consciousness. It was, however, only
when, by evolution of thought, the knowledge of optics had produced
the telescope that it became possible not only for that star to make
itself known to us but to declare to us its distance, its size, and
conditions of existence, and even the different elemental substances
of which it was composed a thousand years ago. Yet, when we now allow
its image to form on the retina, our consciousness insists on fixing
its attention upon that star as an outside object, refusing to allow
that it is only an image inside the eye and making it difficult to
realise that that star may have disappeared and had no existence for
the past 999 years, although in ordinary parlance we are looking at
and seeing it there now.

I have referred above to the sense of touch; it is, I think, clear
that the first impression a child can have of sight must take the form
of feeling the image on its retina, as though the object were actually
inside the head, and it could have no idea that it was outside until,
by touching with the hand, it would gradually learn by experience that
the tangible outside object corresponded with the image located in the
head; this is fully borne out by the testimony of men who, born blind,
have, by an operation, received their sight late in life; in each case
their first experience of seeing gave the impression that the object
was touching the eye, and they were quite unable to recognise by sight
an object such as a cup or plate or a round ball which they had
commonly handled and knew perfectly well by touch; in fact, the idea
of an object formed by the sense of touch is so absolutely different
to that formed by the sense of sight that it would be impossible
without past experience to conclude that the two sensations referred
to one and the same object. The image formed on the retina has nothing
in common with the sense of hardness, coldness, and weight experienced
by touch, the only impression on the retina being that of colour or
shade, and an outline; it is, however, hardly conceivable that even
the outline of form would be recognised by the eye until touch had
proved that form comprised also solidity and that the two ideas had
certain motions in common both in duration in Time and extension in
Space.

Again, our senses of sight and hearing are alike based on the
appreciation of frequencies of different rapidity; brightness and
colour in light are equivalent to loudness and pitch in sound, but in
sound we have no equivalent to perception of form or situation in
space; it gives us no knowledge of the existence of objects when
situated at great distances, nor can movements be followed even at
short distances without having material contact, by means of the air,
with the object; sight indeed appears to have to do with Space- and
sound with Time-perception. In examining Nature by means of our
senses we find we are so hemmed in by what we have always taken for
granted and so bound down by modes of reasoning derived from what we
have seen, heard, or felt in our daily life, that we are sadly
hampered in our search after the truth. It is difficult to sweep the
erroneous concepts aside and make a fresh start. In fact the great
difficulty in studying the Reality underlying Nature is analogous to
our inability to isolate and study the different sounds themselves
which fall upon the ear, if our own language is being uttered, without
being forced to consider the meaning we have always attached to those
sounds.

Let us now go back to the contention that it is not we who are looking
out upon Nature but that our senses are being bombarded from without;
we are living in a world of continuous and multitudinous changes, and
as our senses require change or motion for their excitation, without
those changes we could have no cognisance of our surroundings, we
should have no consciousness of living; but if we base our thought
entirely on sense perception, taking for granted that Time and Space
have reality instead of recognising that they are only modes or limits
under which those senses act, the Wall will ever remain opaque to us.
Let us try and make this clearer. If we analyse the impression we
receive from Motion, we find it is made up of the product of our two
limitations, it is the time that an object takes to go over a certain
space. We must come therefore to the conclusion also that Motion
itself has no existence in reality apart from our senses. The result
of not being able to appreciate this, is that the finiteness of our
sense, caused by its dependence on Motion for excitation, surrounds us
with illusions; one of these illusions is what we call solidity or
continuity of sensation. If you hold a cannon-ball in your hand,
perception by the sense of touch tells you that it is continuous, or
what is called solid and hard; but it is not so in reality except as a
concept limited by our finite senses. A fair analogy would be to liken
it to a swarm of bees, for we know that it is composed of an immense
number of independent atoms or molecules which are darting about, and
circling round each other at an enormous speed but never touching;
they are also pulsating at a definite enormous rate; we can at will
increase their motion by heat or reduce by cold; if our touch
perception were sensitive enough we should feel those motions and
should not have the sensation of a solid. We have a similar case of
limitation in our other senses, which we shall grasp better in another
View through our Window. We can hear beats only up to fifteen in a
second, beyond that number they give the sensation of a musical or
continuous sound. In our sense of sight we can see pulsations or
intermittent flashes up to only six in a second, beyond that number
they give the sensation of a continuous light; a gas jet, if
extinguished and relit six times in a second, can be seen to flicker,
but beyond that rate is to our sense of sight a steady flame. The
effect may also be shown by making the top of a match red-hot; when
stationary or moving slowly, it is a point of light, but, moved
quickly, it becomes a continuous line of light.

Even apart from our senses we find Motion giving the characteristics
of solidity: a wheel with only a few spokes, if rotated quickly
enough, becomes quite impermeable to any substance, however small,
thrown at it; a thin jet of water only half an inch in diameter, if
discharged at great pressure equivalent to a column of water of 500
metres, cannot be cut even with an axe, it resists as though it were
made of the hardest steel; a thin cord, hanging from a vertical axis,
and being revolved very quickly, becomes rigid, and if struck with a
hammer it resists and resounds like a rod of wood; a thin chain and
even a loop of string, if revolved at great speed over a vertical
pulley, becomes rigid and, if allowed to escape from the pulley, will
run along the ground as a hoop.

Now with regard to this limit of time perception, which gives us the
phenomenon of Solidity, I have lately been able to devise an
arrangement which, acting as a microscope for Time, gives the
sensation of an increase in sight perception up to several thousand
units per second; it is based on the fact that though the eye can only
see six times per second it can see for the one-millionth part of a
second. An example of this is the well-known experiment of seeing a
bullet in its flight; the bullet makes electrical connection resulting
in a spark which illuminates the bullet when opposite the eye. The
electrical spark exists only for the millionth of a second, and as the
bullet in that time has no perceptible movement it is seen standing
absolutely still with all marks upon it quite visible to the eye. When
Sight perception is increased up to the rate at which time may be said
to flow for any particular object we apparently get into the reality,
the permanent _now_ where motion ceases to exist as a sensation. A
tuning-fork, kept vibrating, by means of an electro-magnet, at 2000
times per second, may to our sense of sight be gradually slowed down
and, optically, brought absolutely to a standstill, for as long as
desired, and the smallest irregularity of its surface may be minutely
examined, though it continues to be heard and felt vibrating at that
enormous rate. I have made several experiments in this direction, and
some very curious facts connected with the sensation of Motion are
brought to light by means of this increase in perceptive power. If the
sense of sight is increased to 125 units per second, motion at the
rate of one inch per second is barely visible; taking the common
house-fly, whose wings vibrate about 400 times per second, its units
of perception would appear to be about two-thirds of those beats, as I
found it had no cognisance of Motion below two inches per second; you
can put your finger on any fly provided you do not approach it faster
than the above rate, it turns its head up to look at your finger but
can see no motion in it; if you approach at over three inches per
second it will always fly away before you are within a foot. I found
that a dragon-fly, whose wings vibrate about 200 times per second, had
only half the number of unit perceptions of the fly and could
apparently see motion at about one inch per second but not under. In
the converse of the above we have then the principle of a Microscope
for Time, somewhat similar to the Microscope for Space of our
laboratories. If our perception were increased sufficiently we could
slow down any motion for examination, however rapid; there would be no
difficulty in following a lightning flash or even arresting its
visible motion for purposes of investigation without interfering with
the natural sequence of cause and effect.

If, on the other hand, our perception were decreased below six times
per second, all motion would be accelerated, until with perception
reduced to one unit in twenty-four hours the sun would appear only as
a band across the sky, and we could not follow its motion any more
than, as we have seen, we could follow the point of a red-hot match.
If perception were reduced far enough, plants and trees would grow up
visibly before our eyes. But we must leave this subject now, as this
and the Time Microscope will be treated in a later View.

Let us try and appreciate the fact that, under our present conditions,
our conceptions of the immense and minute--namely, extension in Space,
and that of quick and slow or duration in Time--are purely relative,
and that from this arise those pseudo-conceptions which we call the
infinitely extended and the infinitely lasting. Under our present
limitations it is impossible for us to grasp the whole of any Truth,
if we could do that, there would be no such mystery of Infinity to
puzzle us; we could, as it were, see all around it, but that is again
looking through another window. We are now considering _relativity_.
If we cut off the very end of the point of the finest needle, we get
so minute a particle of steel that it is hardly visible to the naked
eye, and yet we know that that small speck contains not only millions
but millions of millions of what are called atoms, all in intense
motion and never touching each other. Try and conceive how small each
of these atoms must be, and then try and grasp the fact, only lately
proved by the discovery of Radio-activity, that each of these atoms is
a great family made up of bodies analogous to the planets of our solar
system and whose rate of motion is comparable only to that of Light.
This is not theory, it is fact clearly demonstrated to us by the study
of Radio-activity. Curiously enough, we know more about these bodies
than we do of the atom itself; we actually know their size and weight
and the speed with which they move. We do not yet know what is at the
centre of this system, but we do know that each of these bodies is as
far away from the centre as our planet is from the sun (93,000,000
miles), and as far from its neighbours as our planet is, _relatively
to its size_. And now, for the purpose of grasping this subject of
relativity, I want you to ask yourself whether it is conceivable that
a world, so small as those bodies are, could possibly be inhabited by
sentient beings. Leaving you to form your own conclusion upon this
point, I will ask you to follow me down another path leading to the
elucidation of the same subject.

If at this moment we and all our surroundings were reduced to half
their size and everything were moving twice as quickly, we should
absolutely have no cognisance of any change, neither could we possibly
note any difference if everything were reduced to a hundredth part of
the original size and were going a hundred times quicker; and even
when reduced a thousand or a million times, or to such minuteness that
the whole of our solar system with its revolving planets became no
larger than one of those atoms in the needle point, and the whole of
the starry universe therefore reduced to the size of the needle point,
its millions of suns coinciding with the millions of planetary systems
in that steel particle--our earth would still revolve round the sun,
though no larger than one of those minute planetary particles and
travelling at the rate of light, but we should still have no knowledge
of any change, in fact, our life would go on as usual, though it was
difficult a few minutes ago to think it conceivable that so small a
globe could be inhabited by sentient beings.

Once more let us consider that the change is made in the direction of
expansion in space and slowing down of Time; let all our surroundings
be so enormously increased that each of the atoms in the steel point
became as large as our solar system and the steel point as large as
the visible universe, each atom therefore taking the place of a star,
and motion being reduced in proportion; it is still absolutely
inconceivable that we could know of any change having taken place,
though the length of our needle, which was at first, say, one inch,
would now be so great that light, travelling 186,000 miles per second,
would take 500,000 years to traverse its length, and the stature of
each one of us would be so great that light would require over
36,000,000 years to travel from head to foot, and that 36,000,000
years would have to be multiplied 163,000,000 times, making 5860
millions of millions of years to represent the time that an ordinary
_sneeze_ would take under such conditions. And yet we have only gone
towards the infinitely great exactly as far as we at first went
towards the infinitely small, and it is still absolutely inconceivable
that we could be conscious of any change, our everyday life would go
on as usual, we should be quite oblivious to the fact that every
second of time, with all its incidents and thoughts, had been
lengthened to 5860 millions of millions of years. Do we not now begin
to grasp the fact that immensity and minuteness in extension, and
motion in duration, are figments only of our finite minds, that Time
and Space have no objective reality apart from our physical senses,
that they are only the modes under which we receive impressions of our
surroundings? With perfect perception we should know that the only
Reality is the Spiritual, the Here comprising all Space and the Now
all Time.

One more look through the window before we part, and we may see what I
consider the greatest miracle in our everyday life: The Inner-self of
each one of us, being part of the Reality or Spiritual, is independent
of Space limitations and must therefore be _Omnipresent_, is
independent of Time and therefore _Omniscient_. This inevitable
deduction will be explained more fully in another View.

It is from this store of knowledge that our Physical Ego is ever
trying to win fresh forms of thought, and, in response to our
persistent endeavours, that Inner-self, from time to time, buds out a
new thought; the Physical Ego has already prepared the clothing with
which that bud must be clad before it can come into conscious thought,
because, as Max Müller has shown us, we have to form words before we
can think; so does the Physical Ego clothe that ethereal thought in
physical language, and by means of its organ of speech it sends that
thought forth into the air in the form of hundreds of thousands of
vibrations of different shapes and sizes, some large, some small, some
quick, some slow, travelling in all directions and filling the
surrounding space; there is nothing in those vibrations but physical
movement, but each separate movement is an integral part or thread of
that clothing. Another Physical Ego receives these multitudinous
vibrations by means of its sense organ, weaves them together into the
same physical garment, and actually becomes possessed of that ethereal
thought--an unexplained marvel, and probably the most wonderful
occurrence in our daily existence, especially as it often enables the
second Physical Ego to gain fresh knowledge from its own Real
Personality. Now, in connection with this, consider the fact, already
emphasized, that it is not we who are looking out upon Nature, but
that it is the Reality which is ever trying to make itself known to us
by bombarding our sense organs with the particular physical impulses
to which those organs can respond, and, if we aspire to gain a
knowledge of what is behind the physical, it is clear that all our
endeavours must be towards weaving these impulses into garments and
then learning from them the sublime Truths which the Reality is ever
trying to divulge to us.



VIEW TWO

THE VISION


"Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven," is in true consonance
with the old philosophic dictum that "Everything in heaven must have
its counterpart on earth"; in other words, the Reality has all Its
multitudinous manifestations, every noumenon its phenomenon, in the
physical universe. If we now examine those traits of our surroundings
which affect us most, and best help us to reach the highest level of
abstract thought of which our nature is capable, we find that it is
the recognition of the Beauty (comprising also the Good and the True)
in everything, which constitutes the power held over our minds by what
we may call the Glamour of Symbolism, the Rapture of Music, and the
Ideal of Art. But this influence is still only _sensuous_, it does not
carry us beyond the extension of that Wonderment and Enchantment which
had their birth with our first visit to Fairyland. This is, I think,
evident, as Beauty is not the Reality; it is only what may be called
the sensuous expression of the Reality or Spiritual on the physical
plane. Although we have no words to express, nor indeed minds to
grasp, the wonders and glories of that which is behind the Veil, it is
possible for some of us to get a glimpse of it through our Window, and
to those the following pages may be helpful, but to others the Wall
will remain blank; and, here at the commencement, I should like to
warn those who have not been through a certain experience, to which I
shall refer, that no words of mine will open the Window for them; at
the same time it is probable that many of my readers, who think at
this stage that they have no knowledge of the subject of this View,
will, as we proceed, recognise in the view through the Window
something they have experienced more than once in their lifetime, and
to these I address myself.

Let us first try to understand what we know concerning ourselves. The
longer one lives and the more one studies the mystery of "Being," the
more one is forced to the conclusion that in every Human Being there
are two Personalities, call them what you like--"the _Real_ and its
Image," "the _Spiritual_ and its Material Shadow," or "the
_Transcendental_ and its Physical Ego." The former in each of these
duads is, as referred to in our first View, not conditioned in Time
and Space, is independent of Extension and Duration, and must
therefore be Omnipresent and Omniscient, whereas the latter, being
subservient to Time and Space, can only think in finite words,
requires succession of ideas to accumulate knowledge, is dependent on
perception of movements for forming concepts of its surroundings, and,
without this perception, it would have no knowledge of existence.

Let us go back into the far distant past, before the frame and brain
of what we now call the genus Homo was fully developed: he was then an
animal pure and simple, conscious of living but knowing neither good
nor evil; there was nothing in his thoughts more perfect than himself;
it was the golden age of innocency; he was a being enjoying himself in
a perfect state of nature with absolute freedom from responsibility of
action. But, as ages rolled on, under the great law of evolution, his
brain was enlarging and gradually being prepared for a great and
wonderful event, which was to make an enormous change in his mode of
living and his outlook on the future. As seeds may fall continually
for thousands of years upon hard rock without being able to germinate,
until gradually, by the disintegration of the rock, soil is formed,
enabling the seed at last to take root; so for countless ages was the
mind of that noble animal being prepared until, in the fulfilment of
time, the Spiritual took root and he became a living soul. The change
was marvellous; he was now aware of something higher and more perfect
than himself, he found that he was able to form ideals above his
ability to attain to, resulting in a sense of inferiority, akin to a
"Fall"; he was conscious of the difference of Right and Wrong, and
felt happy and blessed when he followed the Good, but ashamed and
accursed when he chose the Evil; he became upright in stature, and
able to communicate his thoughts and wishes to his fellows by means of
language; and by feeling his freedom to choose between the Good,
Beautiful, and True on one hand, and the Evil, Ugly, and False on the
other, he became aware that he was responsible and answerable to a
mysterious higher Being for his actions. This at once raised him far
above other animals, and he gradually began to feel the presence
within him of a wonderful power, the nucleus of that Transcendental
Self which had taken root, and which, from that age to this, has urged
Man ever forward first to form, and then struggle to attain, higher
Ideals of Perfection. As a mountaineer who, with stern persistence,
struggles upward from height to height, gaining at each step a clearer
and broader view, so do we, as we progress in our struggle upwards,
toward the understanding of Perfection, ever see more and more clearly
that the Invisible is the Real, that the visible is only its shadow,
that our Spiritual Personality is akin to that Great Reality, that we
cannot search out and know that Personality; it is not an idea, it
cannot be perceived by our senses, any more than we can see a sound by
our sense of sight or measure an Infinity by our finite units; all we
can so far do is to feel and mark its effect in guiding our Physical
Ego to choose the real from the shadow, the plus from the minus,
receiving back in some marvellous mode of reflex action the power to
draw further nourishment from the Infinite. As that Inner Personality
becomes more and more firmly established, higher ideals and knowledge
of the Reality bud out, and, as these require the clothing of finite
expressions before they can become part of our consciousness, so are
they clothed by our Physical Ego and become forms of thought; and,
although the Physical Ego is only the shadow or image, projected on
the physical screen, of the Real Personality, we are able, by
examining these emanations and marking their affinity to the Good, the
Beautiful, and the True, to attain at times to more than transient
glimpses of the loveliness of that which is behind the veil. As in a
river flowing down to the sea, a small eddy, however small, once
started with power to increase, may, if it continues in midstream,
instead of getting entangled with the weeds and pebbles near the
bank, gather to itself so large a volume of water, that, when it
reaches the sea, it has become a great independent force; so is each
of us endowed, as we come into this life, with a spark of the Great
Reality, with potential force to draw from the Infinite in proportion
to our conscientious endeavours to keep ourselves free from the
deadening effects of mundane frivolities and enticements, turning our
faces ever towards the light rather than to the shadow, until our
personality becomes a permanent entity, commanding an individual
existence when the physical clothing of this life is worn out, and for
us all shadows disappear.

If man became a conscious being on some such analogous lines as
indicated, it is clear that he is, as it were, the offspring of two
distinct natures, and subject to two widely separated influences; the
Spiritual ever urging him towards improvement in the direction of the
Real or Perfect, and the Physical or Animal instincts inviting him in
the opposite direction. These latter instincts are not wrong in
themselves, in a purely animal nature, but are made manifest as urging
him in the direction of the shadow or Imperfect when they come in
contact, and therefore in competition, with the Spiritual. Neither the
Spiritual nor the Physical can be said to possess Free-will; they must
work in opposite directions, but this competition for influence over
our actions provides the basis for the exercise of man's
Free-will--the choice between progression and stagnation. The
Spiritual influence must conquer in the long run, as every step under
that influence is a step towards the Real and can never be lost; the
apparent steps in the other direction are only negative or retarding,
and can have no real existence, except as a drag on the wheel which is
always moving in the direction of Perfection, thus hindering the
process of growth of the Personality.

The stages in development of the Physical Ego and its final absorption
in the Transcendental may perhaps be stated as follows--

The Physical Ego loquitur:

     "I become aware of being surrounded by phenomena, I will to
     see--I perceive and wonder what is the meaning of
     everything--I begin to think--I reflect by combining former
     experiences--I am conscious that I am, and that I am free to
     choose between Right and Wrong, but that I am responsible
     for my actions to a Higher Power; that what I call 'I am' is
     itself only the shadow, or in some incomprehensible sense
     the breathing organ, of a wonderful divine Afflatus or Power
     which is growing up within, or in intimate connection with
     me, and which itself is akin to the Reality. Owing to my
     senses being finite I cannot with my utmost thought form a
     direct concept of that power, although I feel that it
     comprises all that is good and real in me, and is in fact my
     true personality; I am conscious of it ever urging me
     forward towards the Good, Beautiful, and True, and that each
     step I take in that direction (especially when taken in
     opposition to the dictates of physical instincts) results in
     a further growth of that Transcendental Self. With that
     growth I recognise that it is steadily gaining power over my
     thoughts and aspirations. I learn that the whole physical
     Universe is a manifestation of the Will of the Spiritual,
     that every phenomenon is as it were a sublime thought, that
     it should be my greatest individual aspiration to try to
     interpret those thoughts, or when, as it seems at present,
     our stage in the evolution of thought is not far enough
     advanced, I should during my short term of life do my best
     to help forward the knowledge of the Good, Beautiful, and
     True for those who come after. As I grow old the Real Ego in
     me seems to be taking my place, the central activity of my
     life is being shifted, as I feel I am growing in some way
     independent of earthly desires and aspirations, and, when
     the term of my temporary sojourn here draws to a close, I
     feel myself slackening my hold of the physical until at last
     I leave go entirely, and my physical clothing, having
     fulfilled its use, drops off and passes away, carrying with
     it all limitations of Time and Space. I awake as from a
     dream to find my true heritage in the Spiritual Universe."

If we try to form a conception of the stages of growth of the
Transcendental Self it would, I think, be somewhat as follows:

The first consciousness}
  of the Spiritual     } I know that Love is the Summum Bonum.
  entity would be....  }

As it became nourished } I love.
  it would be....      }

Then....                 I love with my whole being.


Then....                 I know that I am part of God and God is Love.



And lastly....           I am perfected in Loving and Knowing.

And the above is the best description I have been able to formulate of
the development of the Mystical Sense by means of which we can get a
view of the Reality through our Window. I will try to give my own
experience of this, which will, I know, wake an echo in other hearts,
as I have met those who have felt the same. From a child I always had
an intense feeling that Love was the one thing above all worth having
in life, and, as I grew older and became aware that my real self was
akin to the Great Spirit, at certain times of elation or what might
be called a kind of ecstasy, I had an overpowering sense of longing
for union with the Reality, an intense love and craving to become one
with the All-loving. When analysed later in life this was recognised
as similar in kind, though different in degree, to the feeling which,
when in the country, surrounded by charming scenery, wild flowers, the
depths of a forest glade, or even the gentle splash of a mountain
stream, makes one always want to open one's arms wide to embrace and
hold fast the beautiful in Nature, as though one's Physical Ego, wooed
by the Beautiful which is the sensuous (not sensual) expression of the
Spiritual, longed to become one with the Physical, as the Personality
or Transcendental Ego craves to become one with the Reality. It is the
same intense feeling which makes a lover, looking into the eyes of his
beloved, long to become united in the perfection of loving and
knowing, to be one with that being in whom he has discovered a
likeness akin to the highest ideal of which he himself is capable of
forming a conception.

As in heaven, so on earth the Physical Ego, though only a shadow, has
in its sphere the same fundamental characteristic craving as the
Transcendental Personality has for that which is akin to it, and it is
this wonderful love that, as the old adage says, makes the world go
round. It is the most powerful incentive on earth, and is implanted
in our natures for the good and furtherance of the race; it is, in
fact, the manifestation on the material plane of that craving of the
Inner self for union with, and being perfected in loving and knowing,
that Infinite Love of which it is itself the likeness. If we can
realise that everything on the physical plane is a shadow, symbol, or
manifestation of that which is in the Transcendental, the Mystical
Sense, through contemplating these as symbols, enables us at certain
times, alas! too seldom and fleeting in character, to get beyond the
Physical; but those of my readers who have been _there_ will know how
impossible it is to describe, in direct words, which would carry any
meaning, either the path by which the experience is gained or a true
account of the experience itself. I will try, however, and I think I
may be able to lead my readers, by indirect inductive suggestion, to a
view of even these difficult subjects, by using the knowledge we have
already gained in our first view through this Window. If an artist
were required to draw a representation of the Omniscient
Transcendental Self, budding out new forms of thought in response to
the conscientious efforts of, and the providing of suitable clothing
by, the Physical Ego, as referred to in View No. 1, he would be
obliged to make use of symbolic forms, and I want to make it quite
clear that the description I am attempting must necessarily be clothed
in symbolic language and reasoning, and must not be taken as in any
way the key by which the door of "the sanctuary" may be opened; it is
only possible by it to help the mind to grasp the fact that there is a
Window through which such things may be seen, the rest depends upon
the personality of the seer.

Now bear in mind that it is not we who are looking out upon Nature,
but that it is the Reality, which, by means of the physical, is
persistently striving to enter into our consciousness, to tell us
what? [Greek: Theos agapê estin] (God is Love). As in Thompson's
suggestive poem, "The Hound of Heaven"--the Hidden which desires to be
found--the Reality is ever hunting us, and will never leave us till He
has taught us to know and therefore to love Him, and, as seen in our
first view, the first step is to try to see through the woof of nature
to the Reality beyond. To this may also be added the attempt to hear
the "silence" beyond the audible. Try now to look upon the whole
"visible" as a background comprising landscape, sea, and sky--we shall
get help in this direction in a later View--and then bring that
background nearer and nearer to your consciousness. It requires
practice, but it can be done; it may help you if you remember the
fact that the whole of that visible scene is actually depicted on the
_surface_ of your retina and _has no other existence for you_. The
nearer you can get the background to approach, the more clearly you
can see that the whole physical world of our senses is but a thin
veil, a mere soap film, which at death is pricked and parts asunder,
leaving us in the presence of the Reality underlying all phenomena.
The same may be accomplished with the "audible," which is indeed part
of the same physical film, though this is not at first easy to
recognise. As pointed out in View No. 1, there is little in common
between our sense of sight and hearing; but the chirp of birds, the
hum of bees, the rustle of wind in the leaves, the ripple of a stream,
the distant sound of sheep bells, and lowing of cattle form a
background of sound which may be coaxed to approach you; the only
knowledge you have of such sounds is their impression or image on the
flat tympanum of your ear; they have _no other existence for you_; and
again you may recognise that the physical is but a thin transient
film. With the approach of the physical film all material sensation
becomes as it were blurred, as near objects become when the eye looks
at the horizon, and gradually escapes from consciousness.

I have tried in the foregoing to suggest a method by which our Window
may be unshuttered; it has necessarily been only an oblique view and
clothed in symbolic phraseology, but those who have been able to grasp
its meaning will now have attained to what may be called a state of
_self-forgetting_, the silencing or quieting down of the Physical Ego;
sight and sound perceptions have been put in the background of
consciousness, and it becomes possible to worship or love the very
essence of beauty without the distraction of sense analysis and
synthesis or temptation to form intellectual conceptions.

We are now prepared to attempt the last aspect of our view--namely,
the description of what is experienced when the physical mists have
been evaporated by the Mystical Sense. Again we find that no direct
description is possible, language is absolutely inadequate to describe
the unspeakable, communications have to be physically transmitted in
words to which finite physical meanings have been allocated. The still
small voice which may at times of Rapture be momentarily experienced
in Music, is something much more wonderful than can be formed by
sounds, and this perhaps comes nearest to the expression necessary for
depicting the vision of the soul; but it cannot be held or described,
it is quickly drowned by the physical sense of audition. As the
Glamour of Symbolism can only be transmitted to one who has passed
the portal of Symbolic Thought, the Rapture of Music can only be truly
understood by one who has already experienced it, and the Ideal of Art
requires a true artistic temperament to comprehend it, so it is, I
believe, impossible to describe, with any chance of success, this
wonderful experience to any but those whom Mr. A. C. Benson, in his
_Secret of the Thread of Gold_, very aptly describes as having already
entered "the Shrine." Those who have been _there_ will know that it is
not at all equivalent to a vision, it is not anything which can be
seen or heard or felt by touch; it is entirely independent of the
physical senses; it is not Giving or Receiving, it is not even a
receiving of some new knowledge from the Reality; it has nothing to do
with thought or intellectual gymnastics; all such are seen to be but
mist. The nearest description I can formulate is:--A wondrous feeling
of perfect peace;--absolute rest from physical interference;--perfect
contentment;--the sense of Being-one-with-the-Reality, carrying with
it a knowledge that the Reality or Spiritual is nearer to us and has
much more to do with us than the Physical has, if we could only see
the truth and recognise its presence;--that there is no real
death;--no finiteness and yet no Infinity;--that the Great Spirit
cannot be localised or said to be anywhere, but that everywhere is
God;--that the whole of what we call Creation is an instantaneous
Thought of the Reality;--that it is only by the process of analysing
in Time and Space that we imagine there is such a thing as succession
of events;--that the only Reality is the _Spiritual_, the _Here_
embracing all Space and the _Now_ embracing all Time.

How few of us who are now drawing towards the end of our sojourn here,
have not, at certain times during our lives, experienced something
akin to what I have tried to put before you in the above! Does not a
particular scent, a beautiful country scene, a phrase in music, the
beauty or pathos in a picture, symbolic sculpture in a grand
cathedral, or even a chance word spoken in our hearing, every now and
then waken in our innermost consciousness an enchanting memory of some
wonderful happy moment of the past when the sun seemed to have been
shining more brightly, the birds singing more merrily, when everything
in nature seemed more alive, and our very beings seemed wrapped up in
an intense love of our surroundings? On those occasions we were not
far from seeing behind the veil, though we did not recognise it at the
time; but when we now look back, with experience gained by advancing
years, and consider those visions of the past, we cannot help seeing
that the physical film was to our eyes more transparent at those
times, and the very joy of their remembrance seems to be giving us a
prescience of that which we shall experience, when for each one of us
the physical film is pricked and passes away like a scroll.



VIEW THREE

MYSTICISM AND SYMBOLISM


"Who can doubt that the Mystics know more than the Theologians, and
that the Poets know more than the Scientists? for this inner
apprehension is surely the highest and truest kind of Knowledge." Such
were the words written to me lately by a clergyman of great learning
and of unimpeachable orthodoxy, whose mature knowledge of the Higher
Mysteries has been gained by a life-long study of the Divine. In View
No. 1 we saw that the first step towards opening our Window, was to
grasp the fact that it is not we who are _looking out_ upon Nature,
but that it is the Reality which is ever trying to enter and to _come
into_ touch with us, through our senses, and is persistently trying to
wake within us a knowledge of the sublimest truths: but this has not
yet been appreciated by the Theologian; he is looking _outwards_
instead of _inwards_, and asks the question, based on _intellectual_
conception, in the form "Can I find out the Absolute so that I may
possess Him?" and the answer ever comes back, "_No_, because I am
trying to storm the _Sanctuary_ of the Unthinkable, the Infinite, by
means of a Ladder which cannot reach beyond our finite conceptions,
and can deal therefore only with the shadows, cast by the outlying
ramparts, upon our physical plane." An example of this is surely seen
in the lecture lately delivered by the Bishop of Oxford (Dr. Gore) to
the University of Oxford (13th February 1912, reported in the
_Guardian_ of 16th February), when he made the statement that the
greatest difficulty we have is to recognise that the Absolute is a God
of Love. His exact words were: "I believe that there are a great many
of us who know, perhaps from bitter experience, that whatever
difficulties there are about religious belief are difficulties about
believing in a God of Love; whatever is our experience, and however
sunny is our disposition, any steady thinking will make it apparent
that thought, apart from the Christian revelation, presumed and
accepted, or reflected unconsciously, has never got at it, and even
after it has been in the world, thought is continually finding it hard
to retain the idea of God the Creator, or the truth that God is Love,
partly owing to the limitations of human thinking, partly, and even
more, owing to the experience of man and of nature."

On the other hand the Mystic, with _introspection_, asks the question
in the form "Can the Absolute find me out and possess me and thus
make me feel that that which is within me is akin to, is, in fact, a
part of Him and that I am possessed thereby?" and the answer ever
comes back from those who are on the true Quest:--"_Yes_; because the
Unthinkable, the Hidden which desires to be found, is ever trying to
come into our Consciousness to waken the knowledge that His
_Sanctuary_, or what is called the Kingdom of Heaven, is within us,
that we are not an external but an internal creation of the
All-loving." Such a realisation is, as pointed out in "The Vision,"
far above Analysis and Synthesis or Intellectual gymnastics, which can
deal only with the finite and are seen to be but Mist. How many
valuable thoughts are wrecked and lost from our inability to formulate
and describe them intellectually, even in our own consciousness. We
are too apt to lay the blame upon, and to doubt, the Truth of those
conceptions, because we are unable to find words to express them; the
very act of attempting to analyse such thoughts in Time and Space
destroys our power of carrying them to higher levels. Those who have
once realised that the knowledge of the Absolute is the true Divine
Life within us, can, as we have seen, at certain times and under
certain conditions, experience that wonderful joy of perception by
means of what I have called the Eye of the Soul; but that is missed
by those who are always asking questions, and arguing, about what that
knowledge consists in; the command "Seek and ye shall find, knock and
it shall be opened unto you, ask and it shall be given you," was not
meant for the intellect but for the Heart, not for logical controversy
but for inward discernment, not for physical enjoyment but for the
nourishment of the Transcendental Ego. All things _may_ be possible to
him that believeth, but how much more is this true of him who, as
referred to in View No. 2, is perfected in "Loving and Knowing." The
nearer we get to that consciousness of Being-one-with-the-Reality, the
more we see and can meditate upon the wonderful "joy" which permeates
all creation; but without that consciousness it is invisible, and the
world is dark and evil and unloving, and to many, alas! appears more
the handiwork of a Devil than of a God of Love.

Mysticism is not, as the man in the street generally thinks, the study
of the "Mysterious," but is the attempt to gain a knowledge of the
Reality, the ultimate Truth in everything, especially the perception
of that wonderful Transcendental Power which is growing up within, or
in close connection with, each one of us. The study of the Physical
Sciences, as also of the various forms of Religion around us, is
useful and fascinating in the domain of "Intellectualism," but does
not take us far towards the goal of our aspirations. I shall, however,
attempt to show, in my next View, that by examining the phenomena of
Nature and realising that they are symbols only of the Noumenon, the
Reality, which is behind them, it is possible to reach a point where
we may even feel that we are thinking, or having divulged to us, what
may be called the very thoughts of the Absolute. We shall see that
this can only be accomplished by first recognising that the Invisible
is the Real, that the visible is only its shadow, that all our
surroundings are but the images, or outlines, of the Reality cast on
the Physical plane of our Senses; to accomplish this, we have to
understand the use of _Symbolic_ Thought for sustaining and carrying
conceptions to a higher level; because, as already explained, we can
only express and, indeed, think of the Invisible or Infinite under
terms of the Visible or Finite. Let me give you a glimpse at what may
be called the "Glamour of Symbolism"; it is difficult to explain to
those who have not yet thought of or felt it, but the following may be
helpful:

Think of the loveliest story or poem you have ever read, the most
entrancing music you have ever heard, or the most beautiful paintings
you have ever seen, and think how, at the end, you experienced a
wonderful glow of enchantment with the concept as a whole, apart from
specialising any particular character or event in the story, phrase in
the music, or subject in the pictures; then do the same with one of
those wonderful cathedrals of the twelfth to fourteenth centuries, the
epoch of that beautiful Gothic style which I shall show was founded
upon the highest mystical form of Symbolism possible to those who
lived at the then zenith of Mystical Thought in the history of the
world. The number of cathedrals built during those three centuries was
so prodigious that, without the documentary evidence which we have, it
would be absolutely incredible. Every part of those buildings, even to
the smallest decorations, was, as shown by any of the old writers on
Religious Symbolism, such as Durandus, planned to symbolise some
beautiful thought, aspiration, tradition, or religious belief. The
highest Thinkers, Artists, Poets, Philosophers, and Mystics in those
centuries became Architects, and, in pure contemplation of and love
for the Divine, helped to beautify design by giving up their lives and
energies to the work without reward. It was, in fact, at that period
the surest means by which they could record their ideals and
aspirations. Before the advent of the printing press, with its
facilities for spreading knowledge broadcast, they appreciated that
Tectonic Art and Iconography were the means by which they could best
permanently record and teach their aspirations to the masses. Every
beautiful thought found its expression in some symbol of artistic
design. Each Cathedral was, in fact, a beautiful complete _story_,
and, when this has been fully grasped, the enchantment of the whole,
the thread of gold running through the whole of that wonderful pile,
is what may be called the Glamour of Symbolism.

For the last 400 years, Archæologists, Architects, and others
interested in the history of Tectonic art, have been trying without
avail to discover what is called "the lost secret of Gothic
Architecture"; even Sir Christopher Wren had a try and expressed his
opinion that it was lost for ever. They were all looking in the wrong
direction, confining themselves to the mists of physical intellectual
perception, and could not get beyond that limited range of thought. I
propose now, in illustration of this View, to show what this secret
was. It has the making of a fascinating Romance; it is the most
wonderful example of what I will call "the Evolution of Thought as
depicted by Human strivings after the Transcendental in Mediæval
Mysticism." I shall give it in a brief form, touching only on those
essential points which require a very slight knowledge of Geometry,
but those interested in the subject may refer to _Ars Quatuor
Coronatorum_ (vol. xxiii., 1910), where I have given the whole
subject, _in extenso_, under the title "Magister Mathesios."

To understand the subject it is necessary to recognise fully the place
Geometry held, not only among Mediæval Builders, but also in Classical
times; it was recognised in those early times as the head of all the
Sciences, and was the A, B, C of Hellenic Philosophy. Come back with
me 2300 years, to the time when the "Greek Age of Reason" was at its
zenith, and Plato, the greatest of the philosophers, was teaching at
Athens, working thus, let it be known to his honour, solely for the
love he bore to science, for he always taught gratuitously. What
qualification was required of those who attended his Academy? Look up
over the porch, and you will see written in large capitals these
words:

    [Greek: MÊDEIS AGEÔMETRÊTOS EISITÔ
                 MOU TÊN STEGÊN.]

"Let no one who is ignorant of Geometry enter my doors."

At the root of Socratic teaching was the idea that wisdom is the
attribute of the Godhead, and Plato, for twenty years the companion
and most favoured pupil of Socrates, was imbued with that doctrine,
and, having arrived at the conclusion that the impulse to find out
TRUTH was the necessity of intellectual man, he saw in Geometry the
keystone of all Knowledge, because, among all other channels of
thought, it alone was the exponent of absolute and undeniable truth.
He tells us that "Geometry rightly treated is the Knowledge of the
Eternal"; and Plutarch gives us yet another instance of Plato's
teaching concerning this subject, in which he looks upon God as the
Great Architect, when he says, "Plato says that God is always
geometrising." Holding, therefore, as Plato did, that God was a great
Geometer, and that the aim of philosophy was the acquisition of a
knowledge of the Eternal, it is natural that he should make a
knowledge of Geometry imperative on those wishing to study philosophy.
This was continued also by those philosophers who succeeded Plato in
the management of the Academy, as we are told that Zenocrates turned
away an applicant for admission, who knew no geometry, with the words:

    [Greek: poreuou, labas gar ouk echeis tês philosophias.]

"Depart, for thou hast not the _grip_ of philosophy."

In connection with the idea that God was a Geometer, must be taken the
contention held by the Egyptians, and after them the Greeks and Arabs,
that the Right-Angled Triangle symbolised the nature of the Universe;
it was called the law of the three squares, because in every
Right-Angled Triangle, as expounded by the Pythagorean Theorem, the
squares, formed on the two sides containing the Right Angle, must
together be exactly equal to the square on the third side, whatever
the shape of the triangle may be. The Right Angle at an early date
gave its name to the odd numbers, which were called, by the Greeks,
gnomonic numbers, as personifying the male sex, and the Right-Angled
Triangle was also called the Nuptial Figure, or Marriage, the
Pythagorean Theorem receiving the name, [Greek: to theôrêma tês
nymphês] (the Theorem of the Bride). Plutarch, in his _Osiris and
Isis_, tells us in explanation of this, "The Egyptians imagined the
nature of the Universe like this most beautiful triangle, as Plato
also seems to have done in his work on the _State_, when he sketches
the picture of Matrimony under the form of a Right-Angled Triangle.
That triangle contains one of the perpendiculars of three, the base of
four, and the hypotenuse of five parts, the square of which is equal
to the squares of those sides containing the right angle. The
perpendicular (three) is the Male, Osiris, the originating principle
([Greek: archê]); the base (four) is the Female, Isis, the receptive
principle ([Greek: hypodochê]); and the Hypotenuse (five) is the
offspring of both, Horus, the product ([Greek: apotelesma])." The
central feature of this triangle, upon which its property is based,
is the Right Angle. The Greeks gave to this Right Angle the name of
_Gnomon_ (meaning Knowledge), and it has ever since been, under the
form of a carpenter's "square," the emblem or symbol of an Architect,
the Master Mason, as personifying the Great Architect of the
Universe--namely, He who has the knowledge of Geometry; and, as the
Right-Angled Triangle represented the Universe, it was upon the
_perfection_ of this Gnomon, or knowledge, that the very existence of
the Universe depended, because the law of the three squares only holds
good when that angle is perfect.

The Secret handed down in the Craft, from Architect to Architect, was
how to form a perfect right angle, or, as it was called, the "Square,"
without possibility of Error, and this I have called "the Knowledge of
the Square." Vitruvius, who, at the beginning of our Era, wrote his
thesis on Tectonic art, which is still the text-book of Architecture
for Ancient buildings, says Pythagoras taught his followers to form a
gnomon, or square, as follows: "Take three rods, of three lengths,
four lengths, and five lengths long; with these form a triangle, and,
if each rod be squared, you have 9, 16, and 25, and the areas of the
two former will be equal to the latter."

Now let us come to the closing years of the tenth century. What a
strange condition of the building craft was to be seen all over
Europe; not a church was being built, nor had been built, for the last
twenty years; the thousand years after Christ was drawing to its
close, everybody was waiting for, and expecting, the world to come to
an end; no new undertakings were begun. How much money went into the
hands of the Monasteries and other Religious Houses, as peace
offerings for the future welfare of the givers, nobody can say; it was
probably enormous. When, however, the eleventh century was well
started and the crisis was over, churches were built on a large scale,
as shown by the numerous remains we have of Norman buildings of the
last half eleventh century, and building was probably at its height
about A.D. 1140 to 1150; but at this period an extraordinary thing
happened. Hitherto the arches in the Norman style were round-headed
and their columns enormously thick to carry them; but suddenly the
style changed into the beautiful Gothic all over Europe. No single
country can claim precedence, it was almost simultaneous; churches
half finished in the round style were not only completed in the
pointed, but had parts already built altered to the new style. What,
then, determined this sudden change, resulting in a wonderful
accession of beauty to Architectural design? We must go to the
Monasteries and Religious Houses to find the explanation. These Houses
had become the Patrons of Masonry, the providers of the funds for
building Cathedrals, &c.; it naturally followed that, growing up
alongside the Operative Science, there was a Religious symbolism being
gradually formed which attached itself specially to the tools used by
Masons, and thus formed the basis of Moral teaching--"to act on the
Square," "to keep within the bounds of the Compasses," "to be Level in
all your dealings," &c., &c. A wonderful, new, and Mystical form of
Symbolism was opened to them with the advent of Geometry. The
text-book of Geometry was unknown throughout the whole of Europe,
omitting Spain, from the sixth to the beginning of the twelfth
century; it was, as I have pointed out, well known in Greece before
our Era, and continued to be so up to about the sixth century A.D. In
the fourth century lived the Greek, Theon of Alexandria, so well known
for his edition of Euclid's Elements, with notes, from which all Greek
MSS. which first came to light in the sixteenth century were taken,
being entitled [Greek: ek tôn Theônos synousiôn], "from Theon's
Lectures," and which he probably used as a text-book in his classes;
but these MSS. had all been lost before the seventh century, and were
not recovered again until the sixteenth century, when Simon Grynæus,
the greatest Greek scholar on the Continent, and companion of
Melancthon and Luther, discovered a copy in Constantinople. Meanwhile,
Theon's edition had been translated into Arabic, and thus preserved by
the Mohammedans, and it was only at the beginning of the twelfth
century that Athelard of Bath, who had been travelling in the East,
came to study at Cordova, in Spain, and there found the Arabic MSS. of
Euclid; these he translated into Latin, and this translation must have
come into the hands of the patrons of the building craft at the very
time when the Gothic style had its origin; it was the only Latin
translation known in Europe, and was, some centuries later, the
text-book of the first printed edition of Euclid.

The Operative Masons had always formed their Right-Angled Triangles by
means of mundane measures of 3, 4, and 5 units to each side
respectively, as was done by the Harpedonaptæ of Egypt 5000 years ago,
and 2500 years later by Pythagoras, and this same method continues to
be used to this day; but to those of a religious turn of mind, who had
only lately become conversant with Euclid, and looked upon Geometry
not only as the height of all learning, but, as they progressed in the
knowledge of its bearing on the Science of building, actually made it
synonymous with Tectonic Art (the old MSS. which have come down to us
from that time _invariably_ state that "at the head of all the
Sciences stands _Geometry which is Masonry_"), there must have come a
wave of wonderful enthusiasm when they first discovered that the
Geometrical way of creating a Right Angle, as given in Euclid I. ii.,
was by means of an Equilateral Triangle, by joining the Apex with the
centre of the base. This Equilateral Triangle was the earliest symbol
we know of the Divine _Logos_ in connection with that wonderful figure
the Vesica Piscis; and as the Bible declared that the Universe was
created by the Logos (the Word), so the Square which represented the
Universe was naturally created by means of the Equilateral Triangle. A
great mystery this must have appeared to those who, like the Hellenic
philosophers, postulated that everything on Earth has its counterpart
in Heaven, and who, in their religious mysticism, were always looking
for signs of the transcendental in their temporal surroundings.

But in what awe and reverence must they have held Geometry, when they
further found that the Equilateral Triangle, representing the Logos,
was itself generated, as shown in the _first_ Problem of Euclid, upon
which the whole Science of Geometry was therefore based, by the
intersection of two Circles! These two Circles were held by the
Greeks, at the beginning of our Era, to represent the Past and Future
Eternities generating the Logos; but the whole figure (Euclid I. i.)
was at the time we are now dealing with looked upon by Mediæval
Architects as representing the Three Divine _personæ_, and that part,
or _cavity_, of the figure which is bounded by the Arcs of the two
circles, and which takes to itself one-third of each of the two
generating circles (making its perifera exactly equal with that
remaining to each of the two circles, all three therefore being
_co-equal_), and in which the Equilateral Triangle is formed (_vide_
frontispiece), was naturally held by the Mediæval Architects, and
indeed from earliest times, as the most sacred Christian
Emblem--namely, that of _Regeneration_ or "New Birth."

The Cavity is evidently referred to in the Mystical Gospel of St. John
(iii. 16), in the question by and answer to Nicodemus, and it was the
eye of the needle referred to in St. Mark x. 25, in answer to the
question in verse 17, and again in St. Luke xviii. 25. In later ages
this symbol was extensively used by the Christian Church to surround
the "Soul of a Saint" after death (illustrated in _Magister
Mathesios_). The date of the birth of a Saint was always given as the
date on which he or she died and had been born again in the Spiritual
Life, and the Saint was depicted in a Vesica Piscis, the vulva of the
_Ruach_ or Holy Spirit, representing this new birth. To show the
extraordinary reverence and high value attached to this symbol, it is
only necessary to remember that, from the fourth century, when Theon
of Alexandria lectured on Geometry, and onwards, all Seals of
Colleges, Abbeys, Monasteries, and other religious communities, as
well as of ecclesiastical persons, have been made invariably of this
form, and they continue to be made so to this day. It was also in
allusion to this most sacred ancient emblem that Tertullian, and other
early Fathers, spoke of Christians as "Pisciculi." It was called the
"Vesica Piscis" (Fish's Bladder), and named, no doubt, by the Greeks
at the beginning of our Era, for the purpose of misleading the
ignorant from the true meaning of the Figure.

One can well understand the object which led the learned Rabbi
Maimonides, the greatest savant of the Middle Ages, when addressing
his pupils in the twelfth century, to command his hearers: "When you
have discovered the meaning thereof, do not divulge it, because the
people cannot philosophise nor understand that to the Infinite there
is no such thing as Sex;" but later on the noted writer on Symbolism,
Durandus, in the introduction to his book, is more explicit, and gives
the real meaning as follows: "The Mystical Vesica Piscis ... wherein
the Divinity and, more rarely, the Blessed Virgin are represented,
has no reference, except in name, to a fish, but represents the
Almond, the symbol of Virginity and self-production."

The Vesica Piscis, and its name, is intimately connected with the
discovery, by Augustus Cæsar in the century preceding our Era, as
narrated by Baronius, of a prophecy in one of the Sibylline books,
foretelling "a great event coming to pass in the birth of One who
should prove to be the true 'King of Kings,' and Augustus Cæsar
therefore dedicated an altar in his palace to this unknown God."
Eusebius and St. Augustine inform us that the first letter of each
line of the verses from the Erythrean Sibyl containing this prophecy,
formed the word [Greek: ICHTHYS] (a fish), and were taken as
representing the sentence: [Greek: Iêsous Christos Theou Huios
Sôtêr]("Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour"). Based upon this
discovery arose that extraordinary enthusiasm, during the second,
third, and fourth centuries, for hunting up further prophecies in
Pagan sources, resulting in a great number of Sibylline verses being
invented, giving the minutest details in the Life of our Lord. These
fabrications seem to have been at that time generally accepted by the
masses as true prophecies, though we know now that they were written
some centuries after the events they were supposed to foretell.

Let us now return to the Vesica Piscis. In the paintings and
sculptures of the Middle Ages, we find it constantly used to
circumscribe the figure of the Saviour, especially whenever He is
represented as judging the world and in His glorified state. Many
beautiful examples of this in Anglo-Saxon work of the tenth century
may be seen in King Edgar's Book of Grants to Winchester Cathedral and
the famous Breviary of St. Ethelwolfe. Numerous illustrations of these
and other pictures of the Middle Ages, as also diagrams of the
properties of the Vesica Piscis, can be seen in the volume I have
already referred to dealing fully with this subject.

The building fraternity was a purely Christian community; the First
Crusade raised a great enthusiasm for building Christian Churches, and
brought in large gifts of money for that purpose. Up to 1140 Norman
Architecture held sway, having the "Square" for its unit, its greatest
symbol being the _Gnomon_, representing knowledge; but about that
time, as we have seen, arose from the study of Geometry, the head of
all learning, a Mystical form having the mysterious figure of the
Vesica Piscis, the true Gothic Arch, with the Equilateral Triangle
enclosed as its unit, and symbolising the Trinity in Unity. The
recognition of the import of the Trinity was paramount throughout
those early days; all important documents began with an Invocation of
the _Tres Personæ_, or were garnished with symbolic illustrations
thereof; all the old MSS., already referred to, which have come down
to us from that period, invariably commence with "In the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost."

It can therefore be readily understood what determined the sudden
change between 1140-1150, resulting in that wonderful accession of
beauty to architectural design which we find in the Gothic. The
incentive had to be a strong one, and of an eminently religious
character, to accomplish the radical change of throwing over so
absolutely the Norman, and commencing to build entirely on what are
called Gothic lines. A careful examination of the proportions of the
structures themselves, and the character of the decorations found in
the finest examples of buildings representing that style, at once
shows us that the incentive was the symbolism attached to the
mysterious figure called the Vesica Piscis, which appears to be not
only the principal feature upon which the whole style rests, but is
also employed, as a symbol of the Divine, wherever we have Gothic
Architecture, either in painted windows or mural decorations. Every
Cathedral has its Vesica Piscis, often of enormous dimensions.
Geometry was synonymous with Masonry, and the very _foundation_
of the Science of Geometry, as expounded by Euclid, was his
_first_ proposition. _Every single problem_ in the whole of his
books necessitates for its construction the use of this one
foundation--namely, "how to form an Equilateral Triangle," and this is
the Mystical form of "the Knowledge of the Square." This triangle,
symbolising the Logos, is therefore not only the _beginning_ of the
Science of Geometry, and therefore of Masonry, the Head of all the
Sciences, but it is by that triangle that all Geometrical forms, and
therefore forms of knowledge, are _made_, and it became the most
mysterious and secret symbol of the Logos, for is it not written by
St. John that "In the beginning was the Logos, and by it were all
things made"; so the Vesica Piscis, the cradle of the Logos, became
the great _secret_ of Masonry, the foundation as we find it upon which
Gothic Architecture was evolved, the means by which its wonderful
plans were laid down, and the most reverenced figure in Religious
Symbolism, as shown by its use in seals, engravings, sculptures,
pictures, &c., throughout the Middle Ages.

Let me make this clearer. The more one examines the typical points in
the Saxon, Norman, and Gothic styles of Architecture, the more clearly
one sees that the Architects of the two former used circles and
squares on their tracing-boards, as units for their proportions, in
drawing up both ground plans and elevations, with here and there
suggestions only of the Equilateral Triangle having been made use of
in some of the smaller details; whereas the Gothic Architects seem to
have used the Vesica Piscis almost entirely. This explains the reason
why true Gothic buildings have always been said to be built mainly on
the basis of the Equilateral Triangle; this naturally follows, because
the use of the Vesica creates, and therefore necessitates, the
appearance of the Equilateral Triangle in every conceivable situation.
The following quotation is typical of the leading essay writers on
this subject: "The Equilateral Triangle enters largely into, if it
does not entirely control, all mediæval proportions, particularly in
the ground plans. In Chartres Cathedral the apices of two Equilateral
Triangles (_vide_ frontispiece to these Views), whose common base is
the internal length of the transept, measured through the two western
piers of the intersection, will give the interior length, one apex
extending to the east end of the chevet within the aisles, the other
to the original termination of the Nave westward, and the present
extent of the side aisles in that direction. With slight deviation,
most, if not all, the ground plans of the French Cathedrals are
measurable in this manner, and their choirs may be so measured almost
without exception. Troyes Cathedral is in exact proportion with that
of Chartres, and the choirs of Rheims, Beauvais, St. Ouen at Rouen,
and others are equally so. Bourges Cathedral, which has no transept,
is exactly three Equilateral Triangles in length inside, from the East
end of the outer aisle to the Eastern columns supporting the West
Towers. Most English Cathedrals appear to have been constructed in
their original plans upon similar rules." White's Classical Essay on
Architecture compares the Norman with the Gothic, where he says: "In
what is usually called the Norman period, the general proportions and
outlines of the Churches are reducible to certain rules of setting out
by the plain Square. As Architecture progressed the Square gradually
disappeared, and the proportion of general outline, as well as of
detail, fell in more and more with applications of the Equilateral
Triangle, till the art, having arrived at its culminating point, or
that which is generally acknowledged to be its period of greatest
beauty and perfection in the thirteenth and the beginning of the
fourteenth centuries, again began to decline. With this decline the
Equilateral Triangle was almost lost sight of, and then a mode of
setting out work by diagonal squares was taken up, for such is the
basis found exactly applicable to the work of the fifteenth century,
since which time mathematical proportions have been generally
employed." And after referring to numerous scale drawings of Churches,
windows, doors, and arches, he points out that every student of Church
architecture must pronounce those of the untraceried and traceried
first point to be the most beautiful of all, those of the Norman to be
a degree less so, and those of the perpendicular and debased to be far
inferior to either, and in that analysis we find that the Equilateral
Triangle was used almost exclusively for determining one order (the
Gothic), the Square for another (the Norman), and the Square
diagonally divided for the other (the debased).

Now let me try to describe the wonderful properties of the Vesica
Piscis, so that you may understand the mystery which shrouded it in
the minds of those Mediæval builders. The rectangle formed by the
length and breadth of this figure, in the simplest form, has several
extraordinary properties; it may be cut into three equal parts by
straight lines parallel to the shorter side, and these parts will all
be precisely and geometrically similar to each other and to the whole
figure,--strangely applicable to the symbolism attached at that time
to the Trinity in Unity,--and the subdivision may be proceeded with
indefinitely without making any change in form. However often the
operation is performed, the parts remain identical with the original
figure, having all its extraordinary properties, the Equilateral
Triangle appearing everywhere, whereas no other rectangle can have
this curious property.

It may also be cut into four equal parts by straight lines parallel to
its sides, and again each of these parts will be true Vesicas, exactly
similar to each other, and to the whole, and of course the Equilateral
Triangle is again everywhere.

Again, if two out of the tri-subdivisions mentioned above be taken,
the form of these together is exactly similar, geometrically, to half
the original figure, and again the Equilateral Triangle is ubiquitous
on every base line.

Again, the diagonal of the rectangle is exactly double the length of
its shorter side, which characteristic is absolutely _unique_, and
greatly increases its usefulness for plotting out designs; and this
property of course holds good for all the rectangles formed by the
original figure and for the other species of subdivision. But perhaps
its most mysterious property (though not of any practical use) to
those who had studied Geometry, and to whom this figure was the symbol
of the Divine Trinity in Unity, so dear to them, was the fact that it
actually put into their hands the means of _trisecting_ the Right
Angle.

Now, the three great problems of antiquity which engaged the attention
and wonderment of geometricians throughout the Middle Ages, were "the
Squaring of the Circle," "the Duplication of the Cube," and lastly,
"the Trisection of an Angle," even Euclid being unable to show how to
do it; and yet it will be seen that the diagonal of one of the
subsidiary figures in the tri-subdivision, together with the diagonal
of the whole figure, actually trisect the angle at the corner of the
rectangle. It is true that it only showed them how to trisect one kind
of angle, but it was that particular angle which was so dear to them
as symbolising their craft, and which was created by the Equilateral
Triangle. All these unique properties place the figure far above that
of a square for practical work, because even when the diagonal of a
square is given, it is impossible to find the exact length of any of
its sides or _vice versa_; whereas in the Vesica rectangle the
diagonal is exactly double its shorter side, and upon any length of
line which may be taken on the tracing-board as a base for elevation,
an Equilateral Triangle will be found whose sides are of course all
equal and therefore known, as they are equal to the base, and whose
line joining apex to centre of base is a true Plumb line, forming at
its foot the perfect right angle, so important in the laying of every
stone of a building.

In the volume referred to I have given a skeleton plan upon such a
scale of subdivision that a tracing-board, of 5 feet by 8 feet, would
be divided up into over one million parts, and, as all these
subdivisions are perfect representations of the original Vesica figure
with all its properties, the design of the largest building, with the
minutest detail, could be drafted with absolute accuracy. There are
many other curious properties of this Figure, but they are difficult
to explain without diagrams. I will, however, give one more example of
its creative power. The problem of describing a Pentagon must have
puzzled architects considerably in those early times, but this was
again easily accomplished by means of the Vesica. Albrecht Dürer, the
great designer and engraver, who lived at the end of the fifteenth
century, refers to the Vesica in his works (_Dureri Institutune
Geometricarum_, lib. ii. p. 56) in a way which shows that it was as
commonly known in his time as the Circle, Square, and Triangle. His
instructions for forming a Pentagon are: "Designa circino invariato
tres piscium vesicas" (describe with unchanged compasses three vesicæ
piscium). Three similar circles are described with centres at the
angles of an Equilateral Triangle, forming the three Vesicæ, by means
of which the Pentagon is drawn, and from which also we get a beautiful
form of arch very common in the thirteenth century (_vide_
illustrations in _Magister Mathesios_). This is also the method used
in that old manuscript of the fifteenth century named "Geometria
deutsch." In this old MS. it is also shown that the easiest method for
finding the centre of a circle, however large, or any segment of a
circle, is by means of the Vesica Piscis. And just as we see so many
Cathedrals of the Middle Ages are stated by antiquarians to have been
planned on the Equilateral Triangle, so do we find the Pentagon
appearing as the basis of Architectural designs of buildings of a
later date, such as Liverpool Castle, Chester Castle, and other
similar structures; but the true means by which each were laid down,
as in the case of the Equilateral Triangle, was again the Vesica
Piscis. A beautiful example of decoration, on the basis of the Vesica,
is seen in the tomb of Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey.

I will conclude this subject by quoting from the summing up by Prof.
Kerrich (Principal Librarian to the University of Cambridge in 1820),
in his masterly Essay on Architecture, where he gives the different
forms of what he calls the "Mysterious Figure," used in the most
noted Gothic buildings: he says, "I would in nowise indulge in
conjectures as to the reference these figures might possibly have to
the most sacred mysteries of religion; independently of any such
allusion, their properties are of themselves sufficiently
extraordinary to have struck all who have observed them."

From earliest Christian times the principal _doctrine_ based upon the
Mysticism of the Neo-platonists and the Kabalists was what was called
the [Greek: Gnôsis], the Knowledge of the All, and the fundamental
basis of this, as of all esoteric teaching from the beginning of
History, was _Procreation_. From the first dawn of civilisation the
"Great One" always had an enemy with whom he had to fight; having
conquered, he married that enemy, and their offspring was Life or
Duration. In the oldest forms, as in Persia and ancient Egypt, it was
Light and Darkness, "Ormuz and Ahriman," "Osiris and Isis," the Light
conquering Darkness, the Day conquering Night, resulting in Time and
duration. In the Eleusinian Mysteries it was the "Sun and Earth"
producing Vegetable Life, and in the [Greek: Gnôsis] it was the
"Ainsoph and Ignorance," resulting in True Knowledge or Everlasting
Life.

In the Vesica Piscis (_vide_ frontispiece) we see two Equilateral
Triangles formed on the same base, similar to what we found in the
ground-plan of Chartres and other Gothic Cathedrals; these two
triangles symbolised to the Mediæval Builders the Divine and Human
Natures of the Logos, the Word, the Creator; they are both procreated
and enclosed in the Vesica; the one having the Apex pointed upwards,
represented Divine or Spiritual Life, and in that I have placed the
"Tetragrammaton," the Word or name of God (Jehovah), which, throughout
the Jewish race for thousands of years, was held to be so sacred that
they did not dare to utter it aloud. It was, at this time, depicted in
the Equilateral Triangle, the symbol of the Logos, becoming thus the
Masonic Word of the Middle Ages, and was probably used, exoterically,
for purposes of recognition among members of the Great Building
Societies, with the introduction of Gothic Architecture; but the
_esoteric_ teaching, which was known only to the élite of the Craft
and not by the Ordinary Operatives, was the mystical _procreation_ of
that triangle, the doctrine of Spiritual or New Birth, symbolised by
that mysterious figure which we have seen was the very foundation
stone of Geometry, and therefore of Tectonic Art, the Head of all
learning, and the great Secret of Gothic Architecture, called for
esoteric purposes "Vesica Piscis." The Triangle, having the Apex
pointing downwards, represented Human or Physical Life, and I have
placed therein a representation of _sacrificial_ death, which we shall
see was introduced, as a necessity, for the good of the Race.

As "everything in Heaven has its counterpart on Earth," so may we see,
by introspection, that the _reflecting_ surface, the thin, physical
film between the Human and Divine, is represented by that Base, and
Human Life then becomes truly, as it should be, the reflection of the
Divine.

One more glance through the Window at what I will call--

    "The Mystery of the Apex."

The earliest forms of Life, the unicellular "Beings," whether animal
or vegetable--for both divisions, if they can be said to be divided,
have the same protoplasmic cell as basis of life--were, and are still,
immortal except for accidents; they are not subject to natural death
as we know it; they multiply by fission and not by "budding." It was
only with the building up of cell upon cell into communities, and the
advent of polycellular beings of greater and greater complexity of
structure, that the "Wisdom" behind natural laws introduced death as
an _adaptation_, to prevent monstrosities in the shape of mutilated
specimens being perpetuated on the earth. Life is purely physical and,
in conformity with the modes under which our physical senses act, has
the appearance of tri-unity. As white light is seen to be composed of
but three primary colours, as Music is based on the Triad, as Space is
known to us in three dimensions only, and Geometry, "the Head of all
Learning," is based upon the Circle, Square, and Triangle, so may we
see life in its three primary aspects: the Animal, Vegetable, and
Material. The last-mentioned aspect, though long suspected, from the
investigation of Crystallography, to have in some mysterious way a
common basis with the animal and vegetable, was not fully grasped
until, in the last few years, we have been able to study in our
laboratories the actual evolution, or more correctly devolution, of
matter from one form to another; and as all plants and animals are
found to be built up of the same identical protoplasmic cells, so are
we now able to break down and analyse not only these cells but even
the very structure of matter, and find that all substances are built
up of exactly the same bricks, the different forms known to us as
Elements being the _designs_ of the great Architect upon which each
structure has been built; and these completed designs again are used
and become the "ashlars" of the higher forms of plant and animal
structure. As Evolution in the Animal and Vegetable Kingdoms has
given us Species, so in the Material it has developed Elements. The
structures of animal and vegetable life are of comparatively recent
formation, and are still apparently progressing in the direction of
complexity, whereas the structures of matter appear to have long
passed the stage of highest complexity, and the elements are now
undergoing the retrograde process of being transformed, by
radio-activity, from the more complex into simpler elements of lower
atomic denominations--namely, having fewer bricks in each atom.

All these material designs are more or less radio-active--namely,
changing into other elements, but some, like radium, polonium, &c.,
are active to an extraordinary extent. Each molecule or atom may be
looked upon as an _aperture_, more or less open, through which we have
flowing the equivalent of what may be called a leak from the Infinite,
the changing of one element into another being represented by the
change of shape or activity of that aperture. Countless ages ago these
apertures were, by evolution, growing more and more complex in shape,
but when the limit of complexity was reached and the _Apex_ was
passed, an adaptation, somewhat analogous to death in the animal and
vegetable, must have come into play, with the result that these
apertures are now becoming more and more simple in their shape and
activity. The Infinite referred to above may be diagnosed by some as
being in the fourth dimension of space, or it may even be comprised
within the Ether of our known three dimensions, for the discovery of
radio-activity has enabled us to see that Ether is not only as dense
as iron, but millions of times denser than that metal, every cubic
foot, or probably cubic inch, being capable of supplying millions of
horse-power if it could only be tapped. A homely simile of this leak
from the Infinite may be seen in a glass of aerated water, where an
irregularity of surface, a crumb of bread, or a grain of sand becomes
the means by which carbonic-dioxide escapes from the interstices of
the water.

Radio-active substances then are really forges for forming new
structures of matter or forms of energy, rather than quarries from
which they are cut, and we seem to get a glimpse of the origin of
life, perhaps itself the cause of "retrogression" in the material,
coming through from the Reality, the Infinite beyond the physical
Universe.

Life and its processes are well symbolised by a triangle, the base of
which is the "Divide" between the Real and its reflections or shadows
on the Material plane, and through which all energy percolates. One
side of the triangle represents anabolism, or the process of building
up, and the other katabolism, the process of breaking down, and at the
Apex is the Mystical "Terror of the Threshold," the "Ainsoph" (_vide_
frontispiece), which introduced _sacrificial_ death to the Physical,
as an adaptation in the evolution of, and for the good of, the Human
race. With the death of the Physical, the rending of the Veil, as we
have seen in View Two, all Shadows and Reflections disappear, and, in
place of "seeing as through a glass darkly," the Soul has its true
birth, and at last enters upon its heritage in the Divine Life, face
to face with the Reality, the Good, the Beautiful, and the True.



VIEW FOUR

LOVE IN ACTION


In the preceding Views we have seen that Time and Space have no real
existence apart from our physical senses; they are only modes or
conditions under which those senses act, and by which we gain a very
limited and illusory knowledge of our surroundings. Our very
consciousness of living depends upon our perception of multitudinous
changes in our surroundings, and our very thoughts are therefore also
limited by Time and Space, because _change_ is dependent on those two
limits, the very basis of perceived motion being the time that an
object takes to go over a certain space; we must therefore look behind
consciousness itself, beyond the conditioning in Time and Space, for
the true reality of Being. We have seen that man is the offspring of
two distinct natures--the Spiritual or Transcendental and the Material
or Physical; the former is the Real, the latter is only a shadow. If
we now try to consider the connection between these two natures, we
have to recognise that, with all our advance in Knowledge during the
last hundred years, we are indeed still as children playing with
pebbles on the sea-shore, knowing neither why we are placed there, nor
what those pebbles are, or whence they came. Though we seem ever to be
discovering fresh truths concerning their relations one with another,
when arranged in different patterns, built up into new forms, or split
up into smaller fragments, we have to acknowledge (substituting
thoughts for pebbles) that we are still only learning our alphabet and
the simple rules of multiplication, addition, and division, which must
be mastered before we can hope to take the real step towards
understanding.

We are surrounded by mysteries; we are indeed a mystery to ourselves,
we do not even know how the Physical Ego is connected with the
physical world; how the sense organs, receiving the impression of
multitudinous and diverse frequencies of different intensities,
transmit them to the brain, and how the mind is able to combine all
these impressions and form concepts. But by examining the Physical
Universe, we seem to see clearly that the only Reality is the
Spiritual, the Here, and the Now, that our real _Personality_ being
Spiritual is independent of Space and Time limitations, and is
therefore Omnipresent and Omniscient; it may indeed be not only
connected with the Physical Ego of this World, but be in close working
connection with other Physical Egos in the Universe, and may, in some
wonderful process, through its affinity with the Great Spirit, be
helping them to progress in other directions possibly quite beyond our
power to conceive under the conditions we are accustomed to here.

A great forest tree forms each year a multitude of separate buds; each
of these buds is an independent plant which has only a temporary
existence and has no present knowledge of the other buds, but it is by
means of all these buds and the leaves they develop, that the tree is
nourished and increases from year to year. Still more wonderful is the
fact that it is these temporary existences which, in accordance with
the general law of life-production, form special "ovules," which we
call seeds, each of which has the potentiality for growing up into a
great forest tree, which, in its turn, is capable of pushing forth
temporary existences in countless directions. We have, in the above
process of creating a forest tree, a likeness on the Physical Plane to
what I would suggest is the process not only of the creation of the
Race, but, on the Transcendental Plane, the multiplication of
permanent personalities by means of, or in connection with, the
temporary and Space-limited Human Physical Ego.

Again, as the human mind forms a thought, clothes it in physical
language, and sends it forth in such a form as not only affects our
material sense of hearing, but conveys to the hearer the very thought
itself, so the whole Physical Universe is a temporary and
Space-limited representation of the Reality which is behind, is in
fact the materialisation of the Will or Thought of the Great Spirit.
The "taking root" or advent of the Spiritual to the genus homo, made
it possible for man to interpret the Good, Beautiful, and True in the
phenomena of nature, and, as we, by studying these materialisations,
gain knowledge of the Reality, and our personalities become real
powers, so may we at length approach the point where we may feel that
we are thinking, or having divulged to us, the very thoughts of God;
and, though it may never be possible in this life to form a full
conception of the Reality, we may, I think, even with our present
state of knowledge, aspire to understand the messages conveyed to us
in some of the multitudinous forms, under which these thoughts are
presented to us, and I propose giving an example of this later on in
this View.

Once more, in the case of a picture, it is possible, by examining and
comparing a number of certain short lines in perspective, to discover
not only the position occupied by the Artist, but also the point to
which all those lines converge; so by examining and combining certain
lines of Thought on the Physical Plane, and following them as far as
we can with our present knowledge towards the point where our Ideals
of the Good, Beautiful, and True intersect, we may reach the position
from which we may be able to form, although through a glass darkly,
even a conception of the Great Reality, and therefore of Its Offspring
the Transcendental Ego, and its connection with the Universe.

As the whole of Nature is the temporary and Space-limited
manifestation of the Reality, so the individual Physical Ego is the
manifestation in Time and Space of the Transcendental Ego or true
Personality. The Physical Ego is its transient expression and has no
other use beyond this life. Each Physical Ego helps, or should help
forward, the general improvement of the Race towards perfection. Each
generation should come into being a step nearer to the Spiritual,
until it can be pictured that at the final consummation, there will be
nothing imperfect, no shadow left; the full complement of Spiritual
Personalities being complete in the Great All-Father.

Do we not then see clearly that the Physical Ego, comprised in what we
call "I am," "I perceive," "I think," "I conceive," "I remember," is
transient, and has only to do with the progress of the Race? It is the
Shadow or Image in the Physical Universe of that Personality which
Transcends Time and Space. Take away a small portion of the Brain, the
organ of the Mind, and Memory is wiped out, remove the greater part of
it and the manifestation of the Physical Ego is destroyed; though the
body is as much alive as before, there is apparently nothing left but
the physical life, which it has in common with all animals, plants,
and probably, as strongly suggested by late discoveries in
Radio-activity, even with what is called inorganic matter. The Brain,
and therefore the Ego, is not a necessity for Physical life; this is
clearly seen in the lower forms of life--it would be difficult to
point out the brain of a Cabbage or an Oak Tree.

In the last forty years we have entered upon a new era of religion and
philosophy; we hear no more of the old belief that the study of
scientific facts leads to atheism or irreligion; we begin to see that
Religion and Science must go hand in hand towards elucidating the
Riddle of the Universe, and such a change enables us even to aspire to
show, as I now propose to do, that it is possible, by examining
certain phenomena in Nature, to reach that point where we may feel
that we are listening to and understanding, though through a glass
darkly, what may be called the very Thoughts of the Great Reality. I
will take for examination the subject most intimately connected with
the title of this View--namely, the nature of the growth of the
Transcendental Personality, upon what that growth depends, and how we
may understand that the attainment to Everlasting Life is dependent
upon that growth.

I have already pointed out in View Two that the Transcendental
Personality, being Spiritual, and therefore akin to the Great Reality,
may be said to have no free-will of itself. Its will or influence must
always be working towards perfection in the form "Let Thy Will, which
is also my will, be done"; the efficacy of its influence with the
Great Reality depends on its growth or nourishment by the knowledge of
the Good, Beautiful, and True ever bringing it more and more nearly
into perfect touch or sympathy with the All-loving. The power of
prayer therefore depends upon two conditions; it must be in the form
of "Let thy Will be done," and that which prays must be capable of
making its petition felt, by having already gained a knowledge of what
that Will is. I am, of course, not referring to that form of prayer
which, alas with so many, seems to be the attempt to get as much out
of the Absolute as is possible, with the least amount of trouble.

If now we carefully examine the Phenomena around us, we make the
extraordinary discovery that this power to influence is the very basis
of survival and of progress throughout the universe. In the organic
world all Nature seems to be praying in one form or another, and only
those that pray with efficacy, based upon the above two conditions,
survive in the struggle for existence. The economy of Nature is
founded upon that inexorable law the "Survival of the Fittest"; every
organism that is not in sympathy with its environment, and cannot
therefore derive help and nourishment from its surroundings, perishes.
Darwin tells us that the colours of flowering plants have been
developed by the necessity of attracting the bees, on whose visits
depends the power of plants to reproduce their species; those families
of plants which do not as it were pray to the bees with efficacy, fail
to attract, are not therefore fertilised, and disappear without
leaving successors. Flowers may also be said to be praying to us by
their beauty, or usefulness, and in some cases, as with orchids, by
their marvellous shapes. We answer their prayer by building hot houses
and tending them with care, because they please us, and therefore we
help them to live; while, on the contrary, those plants that have not
developed these qualities are not only neglected, but, in some cases,
as with weeds, we take special trouble to exterminate them, because
their existence is distasteful to us.

Charles Darwin also tells us that Heredity and Environment are the
prime influences under which the whole Organic World is sustained; in
other words, every organism has implanted in it by heredity the
principle of life, but the conditions under which it will be possible
for that life to expand and come to perfection, rest entirely upon its
power to bring itself into harmony with its environment. This
principle of life does not come naked into the world, it is fortified
by heredity, with power gained by its parents in their struggle for
existence, and in their persistence to get into sympathy with their
environment. The knowledge they gained, by this struggle, they have
handed down to their offspring, and given it thereby the possibility
of also gaining for itself that knowledge of, and power to get into
sympathy with, its environment, upon which its future existence will
depend. So may we not see that in the Spiritual World, these two
conditions dominate, and that it is only by the clear comprehension of
their reality that we can understand how all-important it is for the
soul to bring itself nearer and nearer into harmony with its
environment, the Spiritual, and how the efficacy of prayer depends
upon the Knowledge of what is the Will of God?

We have received from our Spiritual Father the principle of
Everlasting Life, and the aspirations which, if followed, will enable
that life to expand and come to perfection; but, as in the case of
physical organism, the gift is useless unless we elect to use those
aspirations aright, and gain thereby a knowledge of our Spiritual
Environment, which alone can bring us into sympathy with the Great
Reality. Without this "Knowledge of God," we can see by analogy on the
Organic Plane that Everlasting Life is impossible--we are as weeds and
shall be rooted out. This is no figment of the imagination, it seems
to be the only conclusion we can come to if Nature is the work of
Nature's God, and Man is made in the image (spiritual) of that God.
Herbert Spencer came to the same conclusion when defining everlasting
existence. He says: "Perfect correspondence would be perfect life;
were there no changes in the environment but such as the organism had
adapted changes to meet, and were it never to fail in the efficiency
with which it met them, there would be Eternal Existence and Eternal
Knowledge" (_Principles of Biology_).

The power of influence, by sympathetic action, may also be seen in
another direction; consider the fact that if we are in a room with a
piano and we sing a certain note, say E flat, we not only hear that
note coming back from the piano, but, if we examine the strings, we
find that all the E flats are actually vibrating in sympathy, because
they are in perfect harmony with the note given out by the voice; but
none of the other strings are responding because they are out of
harmony. With this simile in mind, let us consider the curious fact
that a moth always lays its eggs on that particular plant upon which
the caterpillars, when they hatch out of these eggs, must feed. The
study of the Life History of Insects has always been of great interest
to me, as I firmly believe that we are on the verge of a great
discovery, and that the first indications are being revealed to us
through the investigation of the Biology of Insects. Some of you may,
perhaps, have watched this progress of ovipositing, as I have done,
and noticed how the female moth will hover in a peculiar way over
different plants, but does not alight until she comes to a plant near
akin to the one she is seeking. She then alights, but remains, on
tip-toe as it were, with legs outstretched and wings quivering, and
soon mounts again into the air; it is only when she alights on the
proper food plant that she shows unmistakably that she knows her quest
is ended and her eggs are laid. This particular plant has no other
attractions for her, she takes her food irrespectively from any other
flower which secretes honey, and yet, when she is ready to fulfil her
destiny, she is unerringly drawn towards that particular plant which
must be the food of her offspring. What is this wonderful sense? We
call it instinct, a name which is made to cover all other senses in
the lower animals, of which we have no cognisance ourselves. Let us
take our own senses as a guide: we find that they are all based on the
appreciation of frequencies, of greater or less rapidity, by means of
organs specially adapted to vibrate in sympathy with those pulsations,
and thus we gain knowledge of external things. Two tuning forks or two
organ pipes when vibrating close to each other, give out a pure
musical note when they are in perfect harmony, and they then have, as
it were, "rest" together; but when one is put even slightly out of
harmony, there is, in place of a pure musical note, a rise and fall of
sound in heavy throbs, strangely characteristic of "quarrelling"; in
fact, discord and "unrest."

In our sense of hearing we can only appreciate up to 40,000 vibrations
in a second as a musical sound, whereas, with Light and other
electrical phenomena, as we shall see in a later View, we can
appreciate sympathetic frequencies of not only many millions, but
indeed millions of millions in a second, and yet it is possible that,
in the sense (of insects) we are now examining of life appreciating
life, we may be in the presence of frequencies as far removed from
light as light is from sound. If, then, we may follow the analogy from
our highest senses, we seem to get a clear explanation of the mystery
of insect discrimination. The insect, in her then state, could have no
pleasure in the presence of certain plants, their modes of frequency
being out of sympathy with that particular Insect Life, and, it may be
conceived that, not only is there no inducement for the insect to
alight on that plant, but that even in its near proximity that insect
would feel discomfort or restlessness; when, however, a plant is
reached which is near akin to the one required, less antipathy or
unrest would be felt, and, when the true species of plant is reached,
all would be harmony, pleasure, and rest, the functions of Insect Life
would be vivified, and its life-work accomplished under the influences
of sympathetic action.

I have made several other investigations on this subject, but I must
only give one more to illustrate the higher form of Animal Life
appreciating Animal Life. There is a large class of insects, called
Ichneumonidæ, which lay their eggs in the bodies of caterpillars, and,
as in the case of a moth laying its egg on the special food plant upon
which its caterpillar can feed, so does each species of these insects
unerringly lay its eggs in the body of a particular kind of
caterpillar. It must be a wonderful sense which can enable an
Ichneumon Fly to do this; it has never seen that caterpillar before,
as the egg, from which its own caterpillar was hatched, was laid
inside the body of one of those caterpillars, and the caterpillar upon
which it fed had been eaten up and disappeared at least six months
before the Ichneumon Fly had even made its way out of its own cocoon;
and yet this insect is not only forced, by some mysterious power, to
lay its egg in the body of a caterpillar, but there is only one
species which will serve its purpose, and it has to hunt up this
particular caterpillar from among thousands of other different
species.

Let me put before you what is, perhaps, the most mysterious
illustration which we have under this heading, wherein the Ichneumon
Fly cannot even get sight of its prey, nor employ any sense similar to
our own for its detection. There are several species of moths whose
caterpillars live in the very heart of trees. We will take the case of
the caterpillar of Zeuzera Aesculi, the Leopard Moth; the egg of this
Moth is laid in a crevice of the bark, and, when first hatched, the
small larva penetrates through the bark into the centre of an apple,
pear, or plum tree, and then commences to eat its way upwards, forming
at first a very small tunnel, but gradually increasing it, as the
caterpillar grows larger, into a passage of about half an inch in
diameter. In such a position, surrounded as it is by solid wood, the
thickness of which would probably not be less than one and a half or
two inches, we might suppose that the caterpillar would be safe from
its enemies, but it is not: there is a large Ichneumon Fly which
cannot propagate its species unless it can lay its eggs in the body of
this particular caterpillar. This Ichneumon Fly can, from outside, not
only tell that inside the stem of that tree there is a caterpillar,
but can locate the exact spot, and, still more wonderful, is able to
determine whether or not that caterpillar is the particular species it
is in search of. There are numerous other species of moths whose
caterpillars feed in the centre of trees, and yet this female
Ichneumon is able to mark down as her prey, although far out of reach
of any sense known to us, that one species which alone can serve her
purpose. As soon as she has located the exact position of the
caterpillar, she unsheathes a long delicate ovipositor, with which
she is provided, and drills it right through the intervening solid
wood until it pierces the body of the caterpillar; she then lays an
egg down that long tube into its body and repeats the process two or
three times. The caterpillar itself does not appear to feel any
inconvenience from this process and continues to feed and grow larger;
but it has the seeds of death within itself, and the two or three
little caterpillars, which hatch out of the eggs of the Ichneumon, are
also growing rapidly inside it. At last, when the time comes that the
large caterpillar should have been full fed, and it has eaten its way
outwards until it rests close under the bark, preparatory to turning
into a chrysalis, its enemies finish their destructive work, and, if
the tree is then opened, the empty skin and cartilage skeleton of the
large caterpillar is found, together with two or three large cocoons.
These cocoons, if kept, will produce in due time specimens of the
Ichneumon Fly, and these will in their turn go about their murderous
work as soon as their proper hunting season comes round again.

This is only an isolated case out of thousands of similar occurrences
in every locality; in fact, if you walk along any palings in the
country in the early summer, you will see at every few steps the
evidence of similar tragedies. Those of you who live in the country
must often have seen on palings little heaps containing a dozen or
more of the small yellow Microgaster Cocoons, and if these are
examined carefully they will be found to be surrounding the skin of a
caterpillar. These minute cocoons may be kept under a wine glass and,
from each a minute Ichneumon Fly, with (if a female) its sharp
ovipositor, will emerge in due time. It is curious what mistakes can
be made even by intelligent persons. I have had the skin of the
caterpillar and this little heap of yellow Microgaster Cocoons sent me
to examine, and have been seriously asked whether this was not a true
case of Parthenogenesis; the suggestion being that the caterpillar had
actually laid eggs, instead of waiting until it had become a moth, and
that its efforts, to alter the course of nature, had been too much for
its constitution and it had died in the act! There are other
illustrations I should have liked to give but space will not permit,
the most remarkable being, perhaps, the knowledge a Queen Bee
possesses of the proximity of another Queen, even when that other is
still in the pupa state, sealed up in a waxen cell. I have made
numerous experiments with Queens of the common black English Bee
(_Apis mellifica_), and also the yellow-striped Italian Bee (_Apis
ligustica_), which belong to the same order (_Hymenoptera_) as the
Ichneumon Flies, and the same marvellous sense of life appreciating
life at a distance, and through solid matter, is experienced.

If we now follow the same Thought by examining the Inorganic, we make
the extraordinary discovery that this power to influence, based on
sympathetic action, is the very mainspring by which physical work can
be sustained, and upon it depends entirely the very action of our
physical senses. Our senses are based upon the appreciation of
Vibration, in the Air and Ether, of greater or less rapidity,
according to the presence in our organs of processes capable of acting
in sympathy with those frequencies. The limits within which our senses
can thus be affected are very small; the ear can only appreciate
thirteen or fourteen octaves in sound, and the eye less than one
octave in light; beyond these limits, owing to the absence of
processes which can be affected sympathetically, all is silent and
dark to us. This capacity for responding to vibration under
sympathetic action is not confined to Organic Senses; the physical
forces, and even inert matter, are also sensitive to its influences,
as I will now demonstrate to you.

In wireless telegraphy it is absolutely necessary that the transmitter
of the electro-magnetic waves should be brought into perfect harmony
with the receiver--without that condition it is impossible to
communicate at a distance; again, a heavy pendulum or swing can, by a
certain force, be pushed, say an inch, from its position of rest, and
each successive push will augment the swing, but only on one
condition, namely, that the force is applied in sympathy with the
pendulum's mode of swing; if the length of the pendulum is 52 feet,
the force must be applied only at the end of each eight seconds, as,
although the pendulum at first is only moving one inch, it will take
four seconds to traverse that one inch, the same as it would take to
traverse 10 feet or more, and will not be back at the original
position till the end of eight seconds; if the force is applied before
that time the swing of the pendulum would be hindered instead of
augmented. Even a steam engine must work under this influence if it is
to be effective; there may be enough force in a boiler to do the work
of a thousand horse-power, but, unless the slide valve is arranged so
that the steam enters the cylinder at exactly the right moment,
namely, in sympathy with the thrust of the piston, no work is
possible.

To understand the next example I want you first to recognise that,
apart from its physical qualities, every material body has certain,
what may be called, traits of character, which belong to it alone;
there is generally one special trait or "partial," namely, the
characteristic which it is easiest for the particular body to
manifest, but I shall show you that by sympathetic action others can
be developed. I have several pieces of ordinary wood, used for
lighting fires, each of which, according to its size and density, has
its special characteristic; if you examined each by itself you would
hardly see that they are different from one another except slightly in
length, but if I throw them down on the table, you would hear that
each of them gives out a clear characteristic note of the musical
scale: to carry this a step forward, I have a long, heavy, iron bar,
about 4 feet long and 2 inches thick, so rigid that no ordinary manual
force can move it out of the straight, and, from mere handling, you
would find it difficult to imagine that it would be amenable to soft
influences. But I have studied this inert mass, and, as each person
has special characteristics, some being more partial than others to,
say, Literary pursuits, Athletics, Music, Poetry, Engineering,
Science, or Metaphysics, so I am able to show that this iron mass has
not only a number of these "partials," some of which are
extraordinarily beautiful and powerful, audible over long distances,
but that by the lightest touch of certain small generating rubbers,
not more than an ounce in weight and tipped with cork or leather,
each of which has been put into perfect sympathy with one of those
traits, I can make that mass demonstrate them both optically and
audibly; but, without those special sympathetic touches, it is silent
and remains an inert mass. This result is obtained by physical contact
between the instrument and the mass, but we will now carry this
another step forward and deal with the subject of the action of
Influence at a distance, or what may be called Prayer, between two of
these rigid masses. From what we have already seen, it is clear that
the Soul of man could not possibly pray with efficacy to a graven
image; there is nothing in sympathy between them, and, without
sympathetic action, influence is impossible; but it is quite possible
for Matter to pray with efficacy to Matter, provided the material
soul, if we may use the analogy, is brought into perfect sympathy with
the material god, and I can now put before you an experiment showing
this taking place.

I have another heavy bar of iron, not so long but of the same
thickness as the one already described, and have found its strongest
characteristic; I have another small rubber, fashioned so that its
characteristic is in perfect sympathy with that of the bar, namely,
that the number of vibrations, in a second, of the instrument are
exactly equal to those of the iron mass, and it is, therefore, as we
saw in the last experiment, able by contact to influence the bar
sympathetically. The slightest touch throws the bar into such violent
vibration that a great volume of sound is produced, which can be heard
a quarter of a mile away. The result of this sympathetic touch is far
from being transient, in fact, the bar will continue to move, audibly,
for a long time. This movement in the mass of iron was started by
physical contact, but having once started the bar praying, willing, or
thinking, whichever you like to call it, that bar now has the power to
affect, without contact, another rigid bar of iron even when removed
to great distances, provided the second bar possesses a similar
characteristic, and that that characteristic has been brought into
perfect _sympathy_ with that of the first bar. I have a second bar
which fulfils these conditions, and, although, at the outset, it had
no power whatever to respond, it has been gradually, as it were,
educated, namely, brought nearer and nearer into sympathy with the
first bar, until it is now able to respond across long distances; it
has acted across the whole length of one of the largest halls in
London so strongly that it could be heard by all present. We will now
reverse the process of bringing these bars into sympathy, and I will
throw the first out of harmony by slightly changing its
characteristic; the change is extremely small, quite inappreciable to
the human ear, the bar giving out as full and pure a note as it did
before the alteration was made; in fact, the change is so slight that
it can still, with a little force, be stimulated by the same
generator, and yet the whole power to influence has been lost; the
first bar, although it is praying with great force, gets no response
from the second bar, and, even if the bars are now brought on to the
same table and put within a few inches of each other, there is still
no reply, there is no sympathetic action, the efficacy of prayer
between the two has been completely destroyed.

Do we not then see the principle upon which the efficacy of Prayer
depends, that the whole object of a Human Soul, when using the words
"Thy Will be done," is to bring itself closer and closer into perfect
sympathy with the Absolute? When that is accomplished, we may
understand, from our simile, that not only shall we and our
aspirations be influenced by the Will of the Deity, but that then our
wishes, in their turn, must have great power with God, and it becomes
possible for even "Mountains to be removed and cast into the midst of
the sea."

How truly the Philosopher Paul at the beginning of our Era recognised
that the knowledge of God, which Christ Himself tells us is
Everlasting Life, may be gained by the study of the material creation;
His words were sadly overlooked by many who, half a century ago, were
afraid that the discoveries of Science were dangerous to belief in the
Divine. He says: the unrighteous shall be without excuse because "The
invisible things of Him since the creation of the world are clearly
seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even His
everlasting power and divinity" (Romans i. 18 to 20, R.V.).

We have seen the truth of this wonderful statement, we have traced the
reflection of the greatest attribute of the Deity, Divine Love, on the
material plane. What has been the result of our investigation? We find
that throughout the whole of Nature the one great universal power is
Sympathy.

'Tis verily "love that makes the world go round." What a marvellous
conclusion to our investigation! Let us see where it leads us. The
whole of creation is the materialisation of the Thoughts of the Deity;
we have, therefore, in the forces of Nature, the impress of the very
Essence of God. Our Innermost Self is an emanation from Him, and
Prayer, which, at the beginning, is only a striving to bring ourselves
into harmony with the Deity, must, as the Soul grows in strength and
knowledge, become a great power working under the wonderful principle
of Sympathy. True prayer, indeed, becomes "_Love in Action_," and,
under certain conditions, Prayer may actually be looked upon as the
greatest physical force in Nature. But let us carry this one step
further: can we, by our analogy of Matter praying, understand why "the
knowledge of God is Everlasting Life"? Look at the first iron bar, and
watch how, as long as it keeps on vibrating, the second bar, _because
it is in sympathy_, will be kept in motion. If it were possible for
the first bar to vibrate for ever, the second bar would, speaking
materially, have everlasting life, through its being in perfect
sympathy with the first bar; without this connection the bar would be
lifeless. Now apply this to our Transcendental Personality; it is
being nourished, the knowledge of God is increasing, it is at last
pulsating in perfect harmony with the Deity, and when, for it, the
Material Universe disappears, its _affinity_ to Infinite Love must
give it Everlasting Life. Everything that has not that connection is
but a shadow which will cease to be manifest when the Great Thought is
completed, the volition of the Deity is withdrawn, and the Physical
Universe ceases to exist; nothing can then exist except that which is
perfected, that which is of the essence of God--namely, the
Spiritual. Perfect harmony will then reign supreme, such happiness as
cannot be described in earthly language nor even imagined by our
corporeal senses; hence, in the many passages referring to that
wondrous Life hereafter, we are not told what Heaven is like but only
what is not to be found there:

    "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard,
    Neither have entered into the heart of man
    The things that God hath prepared for them
    that love Him."--1 COR. ii. 9.

There are several other phenomena which I might have examined, but I
chose this particular aspect of the Reality, as best illustrating the
subject I am trying to elucidate in these Views, though it was
probably the most difficult one to bring home to the general reading
public. There are, I know, from personal knowledge, many of my readers
who will have been able to follow and appreciate what I have attempted
to demonstrate, but to those who have not grasped the connection
between the Infinite and Finite, the Transcendental and the Physical
Ego, the Real and its Shadow, a few more words of explanation may be
helpful.

It is easy to see that the negatives, Cold, Ignorance, Falsehood,
Ugliness are manifestations of their positives, as given in my list
in View One, and it is also not difficult to show that Evil or Sin is
dependent upon Good in the same way as the Shadow depends upon Light
for its manifestation. Do not let me be misunderstood; I have never
suggested that these negatives or negations have not the appearance of
realities to us, under our present conditions of existence; they
indeed have to be dealt with by us as realities, but they are only
manifested as phenomena on the physical plane, because our Senses, and
therefore Thoughts, are limited by Time and Space and therefore
dependent upon _relativity_.

Let me put the case of Good and Evil before you, as analogous to, say,
Light and Shadow. Moral laws and responsibility thereto are dependent
upon the existence of Goodness; the purely animal Homo was, as I have
pointed out, free from sin or responsibility until the advent of the
Spiritual made manifest, in that animal, the physical Ego and raised
him far above all other animals. Man thus became a responsible moral
being, a living soul, aware of Right, and therefore of Wrong, and
certain acts then became for him sin that were not sin before. Thus
the advent of Christ, and, in a less degree, the coming into the world
of every good man, so raised, and is raising, the level of moral
rectitude that things become sin that were not sin before; St. Paul
himself specially recognises this when he says that without law there
is no sin. The Goodness, then, brought into the world by Christ, did
not create sin but made it manifest, and gave it the appearance of
reality under our present conditions of life and thought. How well the
Mystic Paul understood that the Invisible is the Real, and that the
Visible--namely, the phenomena of nature--is only dependent upon Time
for its manifestation. His words are: "For the things which are seen
are temporal, but the things which are not seen are Eternal."

I have tried in these Views to use only simple everyday language, and
am fully aware how inadequate are the words I have employed; but my
readers will have, I hope, recognised how difficult, and in many cases
impossible, it is, in treating these metaphysical subjects, to find
words to express the exact meaning; we have to describe the Infinite
in terms of the finite, and by use of imperfect finite analogies to
get a glimpse of the otherwise unthinkable, and even then it requires
a mystical sense, or what St. Paul called spiritual discernment, to
see beyond the physical mists. If the whole of the phenomena of Nature
must be looked upon as the manifestation of the Divine Noumenon, it
follows that Matter is as divine as the Spiritual, though not as real;
it is His shadow, or the outline of His very image, thrown upon the
material plane of our sensations; and the principle of sympathetic
action, upon which, as we have seen, the whole power to influence
depends throughout the Universe, becomes surely the best symbol we can
use for understanding the efficacy of prayer and the connection
between our Transcendental Self and the All-loving. Realise that the
Transcendental Ego is a Spirit, and therefore akin to the Great
Spirit, not only in essence, but in "loving and knowing communion,"
then look at my last experiment, where we saw two material bodies
(remember they are shadow manifestations of the Reality) which could
influence each other from the fact that they were akin, not only in
substance, but in perfect sympathetic communion.

If now we watch the shadows of two human beings thrown upon a wall,
and see those shadows shaking hands and embracing each other, are we
not justified in concluding that those images give us a true
explanation of what is really taking place? and is not that exactly
what I have done? have I not shown, as I proposed to do, that it is
possible by examining the phenomena of Nature (the shadows of the
Reality) to reach that point where we may even feel that we are
listening to, or having divulged to us, some of what may be called the
very thoughts of the Great Reality?



VIEW FIVE

THE PHYSICAL FILM


We have seen in former Views that the whole Phenomenal Universe, as
perceived by our senses, and all intellectual thoughts or concepts
based on those perceptions, are, in reality, only mists or shadows;
they have no existence apart from our physical senses, and may be
likened to a thin film, which at death is pricked and passes away like
a scroll, leaving us face to face with the Reality. We thus seemed to
grasp that all phenomena, including our Physical Egos, are but the
shadows or outline of the Reality, as depicted on our limited plane of
consciousness; but these phenomena, having Motion for their basis, are
none the less real to us under our present outlook, limited as it is
by conditioning in Time and Space, and we have to deal with them as
realities in our everyday life. I want to make this distinction clear
in the present View.

Those of us who were youngsters in the 'sixties, and were fortunate
enough to be taken to that land of wonders for children, the London
Polytechnic, will remember seeing what were called Professor Pepper's
Ghosts. By means of a large sheet of glass on the stage, the
_reflection_ of a human being (otherwise invisible), which we will
call the "_unreal_," was, by the audience, seen walking alongside the
people on the stage, and it was impossible to say which was the real
and which the unreal. When the unreal was made to appear further back
on the stage, it was apparently seen through the real figures and they
appeared as ghosts, for they were seen to be transparent. If now we
fix, perpendicularly on a table, a small pane of glass, and place,
say, an orange in front and another orange behind it, we can arrange
so that an observer, looking through the glass, sees two oranges
alongside each other, one being the real and the other the unreal,
and, with proper lighting and dark background, it is impossible to
determine which is which, as they are both apparently real oranges. We
will call the real, A, and the unreal, B; we now also introduce a
human hand on both sides of the glass, and again we have apparently
two real hands close to the oranges; if the real hand is now seen to
try to touch the B orange, it passes through it, but it can take up
the A; and the same result is seen when the unreal hand tries to grasp
them, except that it can grasp the B but not the A; it is, in fact,
only the unreal that can apprehend the unreal, and the real the real.

The above simile may help some of my readers to understand how the
phenomena of Nature, though having no real existence apart from our
senses, have the appearance of reality to us, because both we and the
whole Phenomenal Universe are the unreal of our analogy, namely, the
reflection or shadow of the Real on the physical plane. If we run
against a stone wall, which is also part, with us, of the shadow, we
hurt ourselves and acknowledge its existence, but to the Real it would
not be an obstruction at all, it is not there. We know that this wall
is not really solid, it is made up of Atoms revolving round each other
but never touching, but the man in the street would give as the reason
why it hurt, that it was dense, or what is called hard; if the wall
were made of hay, or cotton wool, or of sunbeams, we should not suffer
by running against it; in fact, the denser anything becomes, the more
it shows its character of being real to our senses. If we take this as
the true explanation for the Physical Universe, we are met with
something quite beyond our powers of comprehension, when we try to
form a conception of the all-pervading Ether; unless we may look upon
it as actually a _presentation_ of the Reality itself. If we wave our
hand, we can feel the obstruction of the air, but we cannot feel the
Ether. We think our earth very solid, and we know it is rushing round
the sun at the enormous rate of 60,000 miles per hour, but it finds no
obstruction in the Ether, there is no retardation of its velocity; and
yet the study of Radio-Activity has quite lately shown us that that
Ether is not only as dense as iron, or a hundred or a thousand times
denser, but millions of times denser than that metal; and yet it
permeates all matter like a sieve. In Sir Oliver Lodge's words, "the
Ether is so dense that matter by comparison is like a gossamer or a
filmy imperceptible mist." We can, therefore, by again using our
"Ghost" analogy, understand why matter cannot obstruct the Ether, or
vice versa; there is no perceivable friction between them, unless, as
I shall presently suggest, we may find something akin to obstruction
by Matter, not to Ether itself, but to its pressure, in the phenomenon
of Gravitation.

The evidence we are gradually winning from Radio-Activity seems to be
leading us to the conclusion that all forms of matter are but
different motions or strains in the Ether (perhaps, as Lord Kelvin
thought, in the form of vortices), that the different atoms of which
matter is composed are, as suggested in View Three, _apertures_ of
different complexity of outline--namely, those points at which Ether
is absent or its density attenuated. Have we not apparently here
another example of Positive and Negative, the Invisible the Ether, as
the Real, and the Visible, the Material Universe, as its Negative the
Unreal, similar to our list of Positives and Negatives in View One?
Ether itself cannot be explained by any of the known dynamical laws,
though it is probably the very root and cause of all of them; it is
absolutely beyond our plane of perception or conception. We can only
perceive certain effects of its presence when it comes into our
limited world of consciousness, under the aspects of Time and
Space--namely, in its movements, which we classify as forms of matter
and modes of energy.

It is only lately that we have been able to see clearly that the
effects known to us as Light, Heat, Electricity, and Magnetism are
caused by pulsations or rills of different rapidity in the Ether (this
will be referred to in a later View); it is also probably the cause of
what we call Gravitation, and we shall see that the action of
Gravitation may, after all, be not in the direction of a pull but must
be looked upon as a pushing force. Gravitation is common to all
matter; in common language, every particle attracts every other
particle with a force directly proportional to its mass, and
inversely to the square of its distance; it is a very weak force
compared with others we know, and difficult to measure except when a
large mass of matter is involved. Perhaps this will be clearer, and
not far from the truth, if I say that the force of Gravitation exerted
between two masses of matter compared with that which we find acting
between the constituents of matter--namely, in chemical affinity, is
comparable to the difference existing between the density of matter
and the density of Ether.

The latest calculation of the pressure of the Ether is almost
inconceivable--namely, about 25,000 tons on the square inch, or
3,600,000 tons on the square foot; it may well therefore be that, in
the degree of permeability of matter by the Ether, when we can
calculate it, will be found the explanation of what we call
Gravitation between two masses; they are each shielding the other from
Ether pressure, in its own direction, with an obstructive force equal
to its mass. The reason why the earth appears to attract us, is that
it is shielding us from a certain amount of pressure in its direction;
and we know that we are also apparently attracting every particle of
the earth with a force proportionate to our mass, because we are,
however slightly, shielding the earth from pressure in our direction;
if this is the true explanation, Gravitation is a phenomenon of the
Ether; it will be seen to be a movement of matter in the line of least
pressure, and is therefore a push and not a pull.

Let us now come down to what we understand better concerning the
subject of this View.

The question, "What is Truth?" "What is the Reality?" goes to the very
root of the Riddle of the Universe. We are all trying in one direction
or another to answer this question. As knowledge increases, old
theories become untenable and have to be discarded, and, in their
place, fresh ones are formulated to account for new phases of
phenomena. There seems a general impression, among even thinking
people, that scientists are wedded to, and always trying to find
proofs for, their last theories, but this is not the case. The
endeavour of the true seeker after truth is not so much to discover
fresh facts which coincide with existing theories, as to find
phenomena which cannot be explained thereby; there is indeed more joy
over one fact which does not agree with preconceived theory, than over
ninety-nine facts which are found to fall under that heading. In our
everyday life we have become so accustomed to take for granted that
what we see, hear, or feel by touch must be real, that it is difficult
for the man in the street to realise that our senses woefully deceive
us; that perception without knowledge often leads us astray into false
concepts, and these false concepts lead us into difficulties which
require fresh concepts to be formed, and these again demand further
and more exact knowledge to be applied to perceived phenomena. This
necessity for overcoming difficulties is the greatest incentive we
have for gaining fresh knowledge of our surroundings. Owing to the
fact, as already pointed out, that our sense perceptions are based
upon the appreciation of change or motion, and must therefore be
limited in Time and Space, and that the trueness of our conceptions of
the Reality is dependent upon the knowledge which can be brought to
bear upon those perceptions, we are forced to postulate two aspects of
the Universe; one of these is what may be called the Visible, Finite,
or Physical, which indeed carries the appearance of Reality to our
limited senses, though it has no real existence for us apart from
those senses, and the other is that which transcends our utmost
conception, which we call the Invisible, the Infinite, or Spiritual.

At the outset of all investigation, we are forced to recognise that
the only way we can approach conception of the Infinite is necessarily
in the form of a negative, the negative applying to those things of
which we have cognisance; we carry our thought to the utmost limit
possible with our present knowledge, and, when we have come to a
standstill, we conceive the Infinite to be not that but something
further on. As our knowledge increases by small steps, that something
further on seems ever to be flying from our grasp by mighty strides,
until we are forced to bow our heads and recognise that we are in the
presence of, though still not in sight of, the Reality. A divine
impulse is ever urging us forward to greater conceptions but
shattering our hopes, and giving us a feeling akin to despair, if we
arrogate to ourselves a greater power of conception than we have
knowledge to sustain; we have to approach the study with, indeed, that
feeling of elation which the consciousness of our origin and destiny
wakes within us, giving us a feeling of certainty that we are capable,
in the hereafter, of attaining to the highest summit of knowledge, but
with that humility, in the present, which makes us acknowledge that he
who knows most knows most how little he knows. In this frame of mind
let us now examine our surroundings.

We are living in a world of continuous and multitudinous changes; in
fact, without change, we could have no cognisance of our surroundings,
we should have no consciousness of living. We have become so
accustomed to certain sensations that we are apt to take them, as
facts, and scoff at the suggestion that they are non-realities. I
propose, however, to show that what we perceive are not Realities, and
true conception of our surroundings depends upon the knowledge which
we can bring to bear to interpret the meaning of these sensations. It
is only in response to our conscientious endeavours to form new
concepts that knowledge is being daily revealed to us; the more we
progress in Knowledge the more we see that Perception alone without
Knowledge leads to false concepts, and these in their turn create
fatal obstacles and difficulties to our progress towards the true
appreciation of the Universe. Let me give a few examples.

In early times the Sun and the Stars were seen to revolve round the
Earth once every day, and, without Knowledge of Astronomy, this was
taken for granted as an absolute fact, and was looked upon as a
reality; later on, however, it was noted that the Stars never changed
their relative positions; this necessitated a new concept, namely,
that they were fixed on the inner surface of a huge globe, which was
also revolving. This false concept brought other difficulties into
play, the question arose as to what was beyond the globe, and also the
difficulty that, when the Stars as well as the Sun were found to be
at such enormous distances from the Earth, their rates of motion were
quite inconceivable. Even in the case of the Sun the motion represents
over twenty-five million miles per hour, and the apparent motion of
the Stars is thousands of times faster than Light travels. These
insuperable difficulties were not swept away until, by the advance of
Knowledge, the falsity of Conception, based only upon appearance, was
made manifest, and it was seen that it was the Earth which revolved
and not the Stars. Even then, owing to its supposed antagonism to what
was stated in the Bible, the new Conception was opposed with great
bitterness, it being long looked upon and denounced as a sacrilegious
invention, and anybody daring to promulgate such a doctrine was
threatened with death.

Our present Conception, that the Earth turns round on its axis once
every day, and rolls in its orbit round the Sun once in every year,
may be called a Reality to our finite Senses; but I shall show later
on that, except for the finiteness of our senses and the imperfection
of our Knowledge, the Concept is not a true one. With perfect
Perception and perfect Knowledge we shall see that, apart from the two
limitations or modes under which our physical senses act, there can be
no such thing as Motion, because the very essence of Motion is but
the product of those limitations, namely, Time and Space.

We are so accustomed to take everything for granted, that it may
perhaps seem strange to question whether it can even be asserted that
we have ever seen matter. Let us turn towards a common object in this
room. We catch in our eyes the multitudinous impulses which are
reflected from its surface under circumstances somewhat similar to
those in which a cricketer "fields" a ball; he puts his hand in the
way of the moving ball and catches it, and, knowing the distance of
the batsman, he perhaps recognises, by the hard impact of the ball,
that the batsman has strong muscles, but he cannot be said to _see_
the batsman by that impact, nor can he gain thereby any idea as to his
character. So it is with objective intuition; we direct our eyes
towards an object, and catch thereby rays of light reflected from that
object at different angles, and, by combining all these directions, we
recognise _form_, and come to the conclusion that we are looking at,
say, a chair. The eye also tells us that rays are coming in greater
quantity from some parts of it, and we know that those parts are
_polished_; the eye again catches rays giving higher or lower
frequencies of vibration, and we call that _colour_; our eyes also
tell us that it intercepts certain rays reflected from other objects
in the room, and we know that it is not _transparent_ to light; and
those are our sight perceptions of a wooden chair.

We may go a little further by "pushing," when we know, by the amount
of resistance compared with the power exerted, what force of gravity
is being exerted by and on that chair, and we declare it heavy or
light, but by these means we get no nearer to the knowledge of what
matter is. By tests and reagents we can resolve wood into other forms
which we call Carbon, Oxygen, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, &c., which, because
we cannot divide them into any other known substances, we call
"Elements," but we can only look at these in the same way as we are
looking at the chair. Chemists, however, carry us a little further,
and show us that the Elementary substances have not only their likes
and dislikes, but their passionate desires and lukewarmness to others
of their ilk, and, when opportunity offers, they break up with great
violence any ordinary friendship existing between them and their
neighbours, and seize on their coveted prey with a strength of will
surpassing anything experienced in the Organic World; and this new
association they maintain, until they, in their turn, are
dispossessed, or they encounter another substance of still greater
attraction, when they leave their first love and take up new
connections.

I shall touch upon the subject of what matter is later on; meanwhile
let us consider how, owing to our senses being limited by the
considerations of Time and Space, we are surrounded by inconceivables,
and yet it is those very inadequate conceptions which force us to
acquire Knowledge; the greatest incentive we have to pursue our
investigation is, as we have seen, the fact that Perception without
sufficient Knowledge leads us into difficulties. Let me give you two
instances of these inconceivables. Infinite Space is inconceivable by
us, but it is also quite as inconceivable, or perhaps even more so, to
think of Space being limited, and yet we are forced to declare that
one of these two must be true. Again, Matter is either composed of
ultimate bodies, of a certain size which cannot be divided, or is
infinitely divisible; both of these are inconceivable, the latter for
the same reason as that of the Infinity of Space, and the former
because it is inconceivable that the ultimate body could not be
divided into two parts by a sharp edge forced between its two sides,
or by a stronger force than at present holds it together; it has
indeed been suggested as an explanation that, if an atom could be
divided, it might cease to be matter, that its parts would have no
existence, but it is difficult to conceive how two nothings can form
one something.

Another example of Perception leading to a false Concept is our Sense
of Pain; we apply a red-hot coal to the tip of one of our fingers and
our Perception would have us believe that we feel intense pain at the
point of contact, but we know this to be a false Concept, as it can be
shown that the pain is only felt at the brain: there are in
communication with different parts of our body small microscopical
nerve threads, any of which may be severed with a pen-knife close to
the base of the skull, with the result that no pain can then be felt,
although the fingertip is just as much alive and is seen to be burning
away.

Another example is our Sense of Hearing. A musical sound is made up of
a certain number of pushes in a second, but each push is silent. It is
only, as we have seen, a musical sound to our Sense when the pushes
recur at intervals of not more than the sixteenth part of a second.
The prongs of a tuning-fork, vibrating 500 times per second, seem to
be travelling very quickly, but are really only moving at the rate of
10 inches per second, or not much over half a mile per hour, when the
amplitude is the hundredth part of an inch, which gives quite a loud
sound.

Light is also composed of rills in the Ether, but the rill itself is
not Light, it is only Light when these rills strike, with a certain
enormous frequency, on a special organ adapted for, we might say,
counting these frequencies, and if these frequencies fall below that
certain number, or above twice that number per second, there is no
Sense of Sight.

How few people have ever realised what a wonderful Counting Machine
they possess in their organ of Sight! I think the best method I can
adopt, to bring this clearly before you, is to take our tuning-fork,
vibrating 500 times per second, a rapidity which to some will be even
difficult to comprehend, and then ask you to consider how long that
fork must continue to vibrate before it has accomplished the full
number of frequencies, which must necessarily impinge upon the eye in
one second of time, before the phenomenon of sight becomes possible.
That tuning-fork would have not only to continue its vibrations
without diminution for seconds, minutes, hours, weeks, months, years,
or hundreds of years, but for 30,000 years before it has accomplished
the full number of pulsations which, as Ether waves, must strike the
eye in one second of time, to give the impression of Light; the
calculation is easy, the rills of Red Light are so small that 40,000
of these only cover one inch of length, and light travels 186,000
miles per second. If therefore the number of inches in 186,000 miles
are multiplied by the 40,000, and the product is divided by the 500
times which the tuning-fork vibrates in one second, you have the
number of seconds that tuning-fork must vibrate, before it has
completed the number of impacts which, in one second of time, must
fall on our retina to give us the impression of red light; and that
tuning-fork would have to vibrate nearly twice as long, say 50,000
years, to reach the number of impulses which strike the eye in one
second of time and give the impression of violet light; and between
these two limits are situated the colours--Orange, Yellow, Green,
Blue, and Indigo.

What a marvellous sense then is Sight, when we find that, not only can
it grasp these innumerable vibrations, but can actually differentiate
colours, appreciating as a different colour each increase of about
one-tenth in these multitudinous frequencies; and it is principally by
means of this Sense of Sight that we gain a knowledge of what is
happening around us. And yet what strides we have made in the last two
hundred years to improve upon that instrument! With all its wonderful
capabilities, we shall see later on that the eye is a very imperfect
instrument for seeing very small objects, or even large objects when
at a great distance. With the present compound Microscope, only
developed in the last hundred years, and its apochromatic lenses,
invented only in the last forty years, we are able to see and
photograph objects of a minuteness immeasurably beyond the power of
the human eye, and, with our telescopes, we can see and photograph
stars far beyond the possibility of vision by the unaided eye; and
yet, by the stellar spectroscope, we are actually able to examine and
identify the very atoms of which that distant star is composed, or
rather was composed hundreds of thousands of years ago; we can compare
those atoms with the same atoms in our laboratories, and we find that,
though the former are hundreds of thousands of years older than the
latter, they show absolutely no signs of wear or loss of energy,
though they have been for that enormous time, and are still, pulsating
at the rate of not only millions but billions of times per second; and
though the pulsations they emit have travelled across such a vast
depth of space that the mind cannot even imagine the distance, there
has not been any diminution in the numbers of pulsations per second,
nor the slightest slowing down of the rate of flight at which they
started on their journey from that far-off world. If there had been
the _slightest_ change we could detect it at once by means of the
Spectroscope.

With another instrument we are able, not only to hear but to converse
audibly, as long as we like, with another human being a thousand miles
away, who is also sitting comfortably in his own arm-chair and
speaking to us with as much freedom as though we were both in the same
room. With another instrument we can go further, and exchange
thoughts, in a few seconds, with a being on the other side of the
world, by means of a thin wire that is itself fixed, and does not
move, and we have lately invented another means by which we can do the
same, over several thousands of miles, without even a connecting wire.
With another instrument we have gone far beyond the facility with
which the Printing press enabled us to communicate our thoughts to our
fellow human beings, we can actually imprint our very words and
laughter upon a wax cylinder and send it to the antipodes, and our
friends there, with a similar instrument, can not only hear and
recognise our very voice, but can make that voice repeat our thoughts
audibly, to a thousand others at the same time, and can repeat that
process for hundreds of times without exhausting that voice. With
another instrument we can depict on a film, not only the images of our
friends but their very actions, which may also be sent to any
distance, and the persons, thereon depicted, may be seen by their
relatives alive and going about their everyday employments, with every
movement exact to life. We can cross the Ocean against the wind and
waves by means of harnessed sunbeams, without any exertion of our own,
at the rate of an express train, which train, by the by, is also moved
by the same means; we can dive to the bottom of the sea and journey
there for hours, in perfect safety, without coming to the surface, and
we are even developing wings, or their equivalent, which from
immemorial tradition we were not to possess before we had finished
doing our duty properly in this world and had gained admission to the
next.

We can do all these things, but how ignorant we still are in the
commonest doings of Nature! By giving up our whole lifetime, and
spending millions of pounds, we could never make a grain of wheat or
an acorn, and wherever we turn we find ourselves confronted with
mysteries beyond our power to explain from a finite material
standpoint; even in material vibrations we meet a mystery almost
beyond our power to comprehend. Take for instance those small insects,
of the family of Grasshoppers, which make the primæval woods of
Central America give out a noise like the roaring of the sea, a
wondrous sound never to be forgotten by those who have heard it. By
means of a kind of rasp one of these insects creates a sound which
Darwin states can be heard to the distance of one mile: these insects
weigh less than the hundredth part of an ounce, and the instrument by
which the noise is made, weighs much less than one-tenth of the total
insect; it is less therefore than one thousandth part of an ounce in
weight, and yet it is found, by calculation, that this small
instrument is actually able to move at the enormous rate of a thousand
vibrations per second and keep in motion for hours, from five to ten
million tons of matter, and it does this so powerfully that every
particle of that enormous bulk of matter gives out a sound audible to
our ears. But even these millions of tons are not its limit of action,
for we know that these vibrations must go on until, in the end, every
particle of matter connected with this earth has been affected by each
of those vibrations.

All our difficulties of understanding the true meaning of these and
other phenomena around us are, as I have already pointed out, caused
by our inability to recognise that vibration or motion has no reality,
it is a pseudo-conception arising from the fact that our senses are
entirely dependent upon the two modes or limitations, Time and Space,
for their very action, and that, as conceptional knowledge is based
upon perceptional knowledge, our very consciousness of living is also
dependent upon these same limitations. We have seen that Motion is
nothing but the product of these two modes of perceptions, and, in my
next Views, I shall examine these elusive limitations, these two
mysteries of Time and Space, the forever and the never-ending; I shall
trace them to the utmost limit of our conception, and try to gain
thereby a clearer insight into the fact, not only that the whole
Physical Universe is but a transient and Space-limited phenomenon, a
thin film which our senses have erected and which divides us from the
Reality, but that, if our power of _introspection_ were fully
developed, we should know that the Reality is nearer and dearer to us,
and has much more to do with us, even in this life, than has the
physical.



VIEW SIX

SPACE


We have seen that our very thoughts, and therefore consciousness of
living, are limited by Time and Space, but we cannot with the utmost
endeavour conceive a limit to Time and Space; they are two twin
sisters, alike in many respects but different in others, and we shall
realise later on that they are readily interchangeable. The sensuous
aspect of Motion is, as we have seen, the time that an object takes to
go over a certain space--namely, what is called the rate at which it
passes from one point to another, and we cannot imagine Motion unless
it contains both of these modes in however small a quantity; we may
have the greatest imaginable space traversed in a moment of time, or
the smallest imaginable space covered in what may be called, for want
of a better word, an eternity, but we still have to postulate what we
call Motion; this, of course, follows from the fact that our thoughts
require both these modes for forming concepts. If we compare our
conception of Matter with that of Time and Space, we see that the two
latter are not separately the object of any sense, but are the modes
or conditions under which all our senses act, to a greater or less
degree, and these conditions cannot therefore carry the same
impression of objectivity to our senses as Matter does, except perhaps
in the sense that all physical phenomena are simply motion, and motion
is the product of both of these limitations but not of either of them
separately.

If we analyse our conceptions of Time and Space we seem forced to
postulate that they are both infinitely divisible and infinitely
extensible; they are both what is called continuous and not discrete,
we cannot conceive any minimum in their division; both duration in
Time and extension in Space can be reduced, as it were, to a
mathematical point; nor can we conceive any maximum in either duration
or extension. They are both therefore comprised in every conception
possible to our consciousness; all parts of Time are time and all
parts of Space are space; there are no holes, as it were, in Space
which are not space, nor intervals in Time which are not time, they
are both complete units; Space cannot be limited except by space, and
Time cannot be limited except by time. So far they are alike, but, on
the other hand, Space is comprised of three dimensions--namely,
length, breadth, and depth, whereas Time has the appearance to us of
comprising one dimension only--namely, length.

Under our present conditions we can only think of one finite subject
at a time, and, at that moment, all other subjects are cancelled. We
can therefore only think of points in Time and Space as situated
beyond, or in front of, other fixed points, which again must be
followed by other points; we cannot fix a point in either so as to
exclude the thought of a point beyond; we can only in fact examine
them in a form of finite sequences.

The Idea of Infinity, which we shall refer to in a later View and show
to be a false conception, is therefore a necessary result of the
limitation of our thoughts; our physical Ego cannot conceive beyond
the Finite as long as we are conscious of living under present
conditions. With every act of perception by our senses, we have
therefore not only intuition of the Visible or Finite, but we become
at the same moment aware of an Invisible Infinite beyond. Time appears
to us as an inconceivable, intangible something, which gives us the
impression of movement without anything that moves it. Space is an
omnipresent, intangible, inconceivable nothing, outside of which
nothing which has existence can be even thought to exist. Let us now
try and get an insight into what we mean by perception of distance in
space.

The appreciation of distance depends upon what is called _parallax_,
or the apparent displacement of projectment of an object when seen by
our two eyes separately. If you hold up a finger and look at it, with
each eye separately, you will see that the finger is projected by each
eye on to a different part of the background; the angle which the
lines of sight, from each eye, make when they meet at the object, is
called the angle of parallax, and the further the object is away the
smaller that angle becomes; it is, in fact, the angle subtended, at
the object, by the distance between the two eyes. As the object is
brought nearer the eyes have to be inclined inwards to impinge on that
object; the appreciation of distance then, in our sense of sight, is
dependent upon our perception of the amount of inclination of those
two lines of sight, and is therefore an acquired knowledge. The
distance between the eyes is about 2-1/2 inches, and this is a very
short base line upon which to estimate distance; in fact, without the
help of perspective and known dimensions of surrounding objects, it is
doubtful if anyone could by its means estimate distance beyond a few
hundred yards. The object would, of course, also have to be an unknown
one, as, otherwise, the converse of the above comes into play, and the
distance could be estimated by the angle which the known diameter of
the object subtends at the eye; but this necessitates the size of the
object being known beforehand and the employment of perspective.

We can extend our perception of distances by, ourselves, moving from
one place to another, gaining thereby a longer base line, and noting
the displacement of projection of the object on a distant background;
by that means, distance up to several miles can probably be
appreciated. But, when we try to determine the distance of, say, the
Moon (240,000 miles away), we are helpless, especially as we have no
marked background, except in the case of occultations of the Sun or
Stars. But the Astronomer at once comes to our aid; a distance of
several miles is carefully measured on a level plane, and, by placing
telescopes at the extremities of that known line, we can mark the
inclination of those telescopes to each other when focussed upon a
particular mountain peak on the moon; by this means we know the angle
of parallax (180° less the sum of the two angles of inclination), and,
from this and our known length of base line, we can calculate the
distance. When however we go a step further and attempt to calculate
the distance of the Sun (93,000,000 miles), we find our last base line
again absolutely inadequate. But the astronomer helps us again; we now
separate our two telescopic eyes by the whole diameter of the earth
(7900 miles); this is accomplished by taking from the Equator two
simultaneous observations of the Sun, at its rising and setting; for
when the Sun is setting, at say the Equinox, it is at that moment
rising at exactly the other side of the earth; the inclination of the
two telescopes, directed to a certain point on the Sun, will now give
the distance approximately, though even this base line is too short
for exactitude. When however we attempt to go still further and try to
ascertain the distance of stars, which are a million times further off
than the Sun, such a base line is quite out of the question. How then
can we get a base line for our telescopes longer than the whole width
of the earth? The Astronomer again provides the means. The earth takes
one year to complete its vast orbit round the sun, and the diameter of
that path is 186,000,000 miles. This is made our new base line for
separating our telescopes; an observation of a star is taken, say,
to-day, and after waiting six months, to enable the earth to reach the
other extremity of its vast orbit, another observation is taken, and
yet it is found, as we shall see later on, that the distance of the
nearest fixed star is so _stupendous_ that even this base line, of
186,000,000 miles, shows absolutely no inclination between the two
telescopes except in about a dozen cases, and even in those the angle
of parallax, perceivable, is so minute that no reliable distance can
be calculated; we can only say that the star is at least as far away
as a certain distance, but it may be much farther.

Let us now try by other means to get a clearer insight into the
subject of this View, by tracing Space to the utmost limit of human
conception. I think the best method I can adopt will be to take you,
in imagination, for a journey as far as is possible by means of the
best instruments at our disposal.

We will start outwards from the Sun, and glance on our way at the
worlds involved in the Solar System. Let us first understand what are
the dimensions of our central Luminary. The distance of the Moon from
the Earth is 240,000 miles, but the dimensions of the Sun are so great
that, were the centre of the Sun placed where the centre of the Earth
is, the surface of the Sun would not only extend as far as the Moon,
but as far again on the other side, and that would give the radius
only of the enormous circumference of the Sun; another way to
understand its size is, to remember that, light travelling 186,000
miles per second, would actually take five seconds to go across its
disc. Let us now start outward from this vast mass. The first world we
meet is the little planet Mercury, only 3000 miles in diameter,
revolving round the Sun at a distance of 36 million miles. We next
come upon Venus, at a distance of 67 million miles. She is only 400
miles smaller in diameter than our Earth, and, with the dense
atmosphere with which she is surrounded, animal and vegetable life
similar to that on our Earth would be possible. Continuing our course,
we arrive at our Earth, situated 93 million miles away from the Sun.
Still speeding on, a further 50 million miles brings us to Mars, with
a diameter of nearly 5000 miles, and accompanied by two miniature
moons. The sight of this planet in a good instrument is most
interesting. Ocean beds and continents are visible, and the telescope
shows large tracts of snow, though not necessarily formed from water
(perhaps carbonic dioxide), surrounding its polar regions, which
increase considerably during the winter, and decrease during the
summer seasons on that planet; but there are no canals! The fact that
our largest and best telescopes failed to show these imaginary canals,
was an insurmountable barrier to the advocates of these markings, but
the "Canalites" made their contention ridiculous when they actually
suggested that the reason for this failure to perceive them was that
our telescopes were too large to see such small markings! How such a
statement could have been made is incomprehensible on any supposition,
as everybody knows that the whole use of size, or what is called
aperture, in a telescope, is to help us to see more clearly small and
faint markings.

The distances we now have to travel become so great that I shall not
attempt to give them; you can, however, form an idea of the tremendous
spaces we are traversing when you consider that each successive planet
is nearly double as far from the Sun as the preceding one.

In the place where, by Bode's law, we should expect to have found the
next world, we find a group of small planets, ranging in size from
about 200 miles in diameter down to only a few hundred yards. They
pass through nearly the same point once in each of their periods of
revolution round the Sun, and it has been suggested that they are
fragments of a great globe rent asunder by some mighty catastrophe;
over 400 of these little worlds have been discovered and have received
names, or are known under certain numbers.

We now continue our voyage over the next huge space and arrive at
Jupiter, the largest and grandest of the planets. This world is more
than 1000 times larger than our Earth, its circumference being
actually greater than the distance from the Earth to the Moon. It has
seven moons, and its year is about twelve times as long as ours.
Pursuing our journey, we next come to Saturn. It is nearly as large as
Jupiter, and has a huge ring of planetary matter revolving round it in
addition to seven moons. Further and further we go, and the planets
behind us are disappearing, and even the Sun is dwindling down to a
mere speck; still we hurry on, and at last alight on another planet,
Uranus, about sixty times larger than our Earth; we see moons in
attendance, but they have scarcely any light to reflect; the Sun is
only a star now; but we must hasten on deeper and deeper into space.
We shall again, as formerly, have to go nearly as far beyond the last
planet as that planet is from the Sun. The mind cannot grasp these
huge distances. Still we travel on to the last planet, Neptune,
revolving on its lonely orbit; sunk so deep into space that, though it
rushes round the Sun at the rate of 22,000 miles per hour, it takes
164 of our years to complete one revolution. Now let us look back from
this remote point. What do we see? One planet only, Uranus, is visible
to the unaided eye; the giant planets, Jupiter and Saturn, have
disappeared, and the Sun itself is now only a star; practically no
heat, no light, all is darkness in this solitary world; the Sun is
1000 times smaller than we see it from the earth, and gives,
therefore, only one-thousandth part of its heat and light. Thus far
have we gone, and, standing there at the enormous distance of
3,000,000,000 miles from our starting-point, we can begin to
comprehend the vast limits of the solar system; we can begin to
understand the ways of this mighty family of planets and satellites.
But let us not set up too small a standard whereby to measure the
Infinity of Space. We shall find, as we go on, that this stupendous
system is but an infinitesimal part of the whole universe.

Let us now look forward along the path we are to take. We are standing
on the outermost part of our Solar System, and there is no other
planet towards which we can wing our flight; but all around are
multitudes of stars, some shining with a brightness almost equal to
what our Sun appears to give forth at that great distance, others
hardly visible, but the smallest telescope increases their number
enormously, and presents to our mind the appalling phantom of
_immensity_ in all its terror, standing there to withstand our next
great step. How are we to continue on our journey when our very senses
seem paralysed by this obstruction, and even imagination is powerless
from utter loneliness? One guide only is there to help us, the
messenger which flits from star to star, universe to universe; Light
it is which will help us to appreciate even these bottomless depths.
Now, Light travels 186,000 miles per second, or 12 million miles every
minute of time. It therefore takes only about four hours to traverse
the huge distance between our Sun and Neptune, where we are now
supposed to be standing; but to leap across the space separating us
from the nearest star, it would require many years for Light,
travelling at 186,000 miles every second of that time, to span the
distance. There are, in fact, only fifteen stars in the whole heaven
that could be reached, on the wings of Light, in sixteen years!

Let us use this to continue our voyage. On a clear night the human eye
can perceive thousands of stars, in all directions, scattered without
any apparent order or design; but in one locality, forming a huge ring
round the heavens, there is a misty zone called the Milky Way. Let us
turn a telescope with a low aperture on this, and what a sight
presents itself! Instead of mist, myriads of stars are now seen
surrounded by nebulous haze. We put a higher aperture on, and thus
pierce further and further into space; the haze is resolved into
myriads more stars, and more haze comes up from the deep beyond,
showing that the visual ray was not yet strong enough to fathom the
mighty distance; but let the full aperture be applied and mark the
result. Mist and haze have disappeared; the telescope has pierced
right through the stupendous distance, and only the vast abyss of
space, boundless and unfathomable, is seen beyond.

Let us pause here for a moment to think what we have done. Light,
travelling with its enormous velocity, requires on an average
considerably over ten years to traverse the distance between our Solar
System and Stars of the first magnitude, but the dimensions of the
Milky Way are built up on such a huge scale that to traverse the whole
stratum would require us to pass about 500 stars, separated from each
other by this same tremendous interval; 10,000 years may therefore be
computed as the shortest time which light, travelling with its
enormous velocity, would take to sweep across the whole cluster, it
being borne in mind that the Solar System is supposed to be located
not far from the centre of this great star cluster, and that the
cluster comprises all stars visible arrayed in a flat zone, the edges
of which, where the stratum is deepest, being the locality of the
Milky Way.

Let us once more continue our journey. We have traversed a distance
which even on the wings of light we could only accomplish in many
thousands of years, and now stand on the outskirts of our great star
cluster, in the same way, and I hope with the same aspirations, as
when we paused the last time on the confines of our Solar System.
Behind us are myriads of shining orbs, in such countless numbers that
human thought cannot even suggest a limit, and yet each of these is a
mighty globe like our Sun, the centre of a planetary system,
dispensing light and heat under conditions similar to what we are
accustomed to here. Let us, however, turn our face away from these
clusterings of mighty suns, and look steadfastly forward into the
unbroken darkness, and once more brace our nerves to face that
terrible phantom--_Immensity_.

We require now the most powerful instruments that science can put into
our hands, and by their aid we will again essay to make another stride
towards the appreciation of our subject. In what, to the unaided eye,
was unbroken darkness, the telescope now enables us to discern a
number of luminous points of haze, and towards one of these we
continue our journey. The myriads of suns in our great star cluster
are soon being left far behind; they shrink together, resolve
themselves into haze, until the once glorious universe of countless
millions of suns has dwindled down to a mere point of light, almost
invisible to the naked eye. But look forward: the luminous cloud to
which we are urging our flight has expanded, until what, at one time,
was a mere patch of brightness, has now swelled into a mighty star
cluster; myriads of suns burst into sight--we have traversed a
distance which even on the wings of light would take hundreds of
thousands of years, and have reached the confines of another Milky Way
as glorious and mighty as the one we have left; whose limits light
would require 10,000 years to traverse; and yet, in whatever direction
the telescope is placed, star clusters are to be seen strewn over the
surface of the heavens.

Let us take now the utmost limit of telescopic power in all
directions. Where are we after all but in the centre of a sphere whose
circumference is 100,000 times as far from us as one of the nearest
fixed stars, a distance that light would take over a million years to
traverse, and beyond whose circuit, infinity, boundless infinity,
still stretches unfathomed as ever? We have made a step, indeed, but
perhaps only towards acquaintance with a new order of infinitesimals.
Once the distances of our Solar System seemed almost infinite
quantities; compare them with the intervals between the fixed stars,
and they become no quantities at all. And now when the spaces between
the stars are contrasted with the gulfs of dark spaces separating
firmaments, they absolutely vanish away. Can the whole firmamental
creation in its turn be nothing but a corner of some mightier scheme?
But let us not go on to bewilderment: we have passed from planet to
planet, star to star, universe to universe, and still infinite space
extends for ever beyond our grasp. We have gone as far towards the
infinite as our sight, aided by the most powerful telescope, can hope
to go. Is there no way then by which we can continue our journey
further towards the appreciation of this infinity? A few years ago we
should probably have denied that it was possible for man to go
further; but quite lately a new method of observation has been
developed, and we will try and use this to continue our flight.

The reason why, to our sight, an object becomes apparently smaller and
smaller as it is withdrawn from the eye, until it at last disappears
entirely, is that the eye is a very imperfect instrument for viewing
objects at a great distance; it can only form an image of an object
when that object is near enough to subtend a certain angle, or, in
popular language, to show itself a certain size--the rays of light
must converge--in fact, the eye cannot single out and appreciate
parallel rays: could it do this, objects would not appear to grow
smaller as they are removed. A pencil might be removed to the Moon,
240,000 miles away, and would still appear to the eye the same size as
it does here close to you; with perfect vision there would be no such
thing as perspective, but, with our present conditions of sight, the
result would be inconvenient. We should never be able to see, at one
and the same time, anything larger than the pupil of our eye. The
beauties of the landscape would be gone, and our dearest friends would
pass us unheeded and unseen; everyday life would resolve itself into a
task similar to that of attempting to read our newspaper every morning
by means of a powerful microscope; we should commence by getting on to
a big black blotch, and, after wandering about for half an hour, we
might perhaps then begin to find out that we were looking at the
little letter "e," but anything like reading would be quite out of the
question. We may, therefore, with our limited aperture of sight, be
thankful that our eyes have the imperfection of not appreciating
parallel rays. But we will now consider how this imperfection may be
remedied by science.

There are two different ways of doing this--viz., first, by increasing
the amount of light received, by means of telescopes of great
aperture; and secondly, by employing an artificial retina a thousand
times more sensitive than the human. Now, the human retina receives
the impression of what it looks at in a very minute fraction of a
second, provided of course that the eye is properly focussed, and no
further impression will be made by keeping the eye fixed on that
object; but in celestial photography, when the telescope is turned
into a camera, the sensitive plate, having received the impression in
the first second, may be exposed not only for many seconds, or
minutes, or hours, but for an aggregate of even days by re-exposure,
every second of which time details on that plate new objects, sunk so
deep in the vast depths of space as to be immeasurably beyond the
power of the human eye, even through telescopes hundreds of times more
powerful than the largest instruments that science has enabled us to
construct; and yet here is laid before us a faithful chart, by means
of which we may once more continue our journey through space. A short
exposure will show us firmaments and nebulæ just outside the range of
our greatest telescopes, and every additional second extends our
vision by such vast increases of distances that the brain reels at the
thought; and yet, as we have seen, exposures of these sensitive plates
may be, and have been, made not only for seconds, but for thousands
and even hundreds of thousands of seconds! And still there is no end,
no end where the weary mind can rest and contemplate; the finite mind
of man can only cry out that there is no limit. In spite of all its
strivings and groping by aid of speculative philosophy, the finite
cannot attain to the Infinite, nor get any nearer to where the mighty
sea of time breaks in noiseless waves on the dim shore of eternity.

In this journey through space we have apparently exhausted our power
of conception of the _extension_ of this View. Although we have
travelled in one direction only, our flight was applicable to every
possible known direction _outwards_ into the vast abyss of Infinite
space. But there is another path, by which we can also travel with
profit to our understanding of this subject, running in the opposite
direction--namely, _inwards_. Just as the outward journey seemed to
take us towards the appreciation of what our finite senses call the
infinitely great, so does this other path appear to intend to
infinity, in the opposite direction, leading us to appreciate what is
called the infinitely small. We have already considered this direction
in View One, under the heading of "Relativity," and by combining these
two experiences, we may see still more clearly that our very
conception of Space is one of the modes only under which motion or
physical phenomena are presented to our consciousness.



VIEW SEVEN

TIME


In the last View I referred to the mysteries of Time and Space as
twin-sisters; they have, as we saw, many aspects in common, and are
the two modes or conditions under which all our senses act and by
which our thoughts are limited. We arbitrarily divide each of these
two mysteries into two parts, which parts are separated from each
other, in either case, by a point which has, apparently, as its
centre, our very consciousness of living. In the case of Space we call
this point the HERE, and on one side of it, as we saw in our last
View, we have extension towards the infinitely great, and, on the
other, intension towards the infinitely small. In the case of Time we
call the middle point the NOW, and on one side of this we place the
duration of Time towards the future, and, on the other, we place what
we call the duration of Time towards the past. In the case of Space we
have the here and the _overthere_, equivalent in Time to the present
and the _future_, but, though Time and Space are, as it were,
twin-sisters, upon whose combined action depends our very
consciousness of living, we do not treat them both equally.

It is a remarkable fact that the human race on this particular world
has, in some inexplicable way, come to look upon the future as
non-existent until we arrive at, and are able to perceive, with our
senses, what is happening there; this is all the more inexplicable
when we realise that in traversing Space we certainly have to _move_
to get anywhere, but in traversing Time we have nothing equivalent to
movement. This curious way of looking upon the future as non-existent,
may be another sign that our race is still in its infancy, but is more
probably caused by human beings having always hitherto looked upon
Time not only as a reality but as actually moving or extending along a
line from past to future eternity; whereas, under our present outlook,
we have no consciousness of the existence of Time except by intervals
between successive thoughts; our consciousness of the very existence
of Time is based upon our Physical Ego repeating the _present_, by
saying to itself the words, Now--Now--Now; but there is nothing that
can be called movement in this, any more than if you are standing
still and saying, Here--Here--Here--relating to Space. Time is, as it
were, "marking time," and as the present in time is common to all
space, Time is "marking time" everywhere, and the Now therefore
includes the whole of the past and the whole of future eternity
everywhere. We shall get a clearer understanding of this later on;
meanwhile, we are face to face with the fact that we look upon the
future as non-existent.

This curious state of things is probably only accidental to the
present stage of development of the human mind, and may, at any time,
be rectified by perhaps either a slight rearrangement of that slender
network of nerves upon which depends our faculty of thinking, or the
joining together of a few microscopical filaments attached to the
cells in the grey cortical layer, or even a single bridge thrown
across from one convolution to another of the brain; a very slight
alteration would open up to our consciousness the present existence of
the future. The prime perceivable difference between our brains and
those of the Apes and lower animals is the larger number of
enfoldments, or convolutions, that are developed by the Human. Each
new line of thought, or sequence of thoughts, requires, and is
provided with, a new wrinkle or small convolution, and it probably
only requires the attention of the human race to be fixed, for a time,
on the consideration of this subject, to evolve the slight alteration,
or bridge, necessary to enable us to see that the future, as also the
past, does actually exist and is included in the Now. It may make this
a little clearer to consider that if you maintain that, in traversing
the duration of time, the future does not exist until you arrive
there, you should also in fairness insist that, in travelling through
the extension of Space, your destination, say Rome, does not exist
until you get there and can see it with your senses.

As we have, in the former six Views, been gradually mounting above the
mists and illusions of our everyday thoughts, and can look through our
Window with, I hope, a clearer vision, I shall venture in this present
View to carry the subject of the _Future_ still further, and show
that, just as we have now before us and can read the papyri which were
written 5000 years ago, so it is possible to conceive that books,
written and being written and printed 5000 years hence, are _at
present_ in existence, and that it is even possible the human race has
actually already read them; whether we shall be able to see them and
read them in our own lifetime may be open to question; that may again
depend upon the development of special cross-circuiting of brain
filaments. Meanwhile, in order to carry our present View to the utmost
limit of our conception, in a manner somewhat similar to what we did
for Space, I will again ask you to join me in a thought-flight
towards the appreciation of this second great Mystery.

With this object in view we will first consider the human senses of
sight and hearing, commencing with sound, or the vibrations which
affect the tympanum of the human ear. Sound travels in air at about
1130 feet per second, and if the vibrating body, giving out the sound,
oscillates sixteen times in one second, it follows that, spreading
over this 1130 feet, there will be sixteen waves, giving a length of
about 70 feet to each wave. This is the lowest sound that the human
ear can appreciate as a musical note, and is, what may be called, the
fourth Octave above one vibration in one second. When the number of
vibrations in a second sinks below sixteen, the ear no longer
appreciates them as a musical sound, but is able to hear them as
separate vibrations or beats. The easiest way of illustrating this is
by means of a revolving disc, with sixteen holes pierced at regular
intervals round the edge, and a jet of high-pressure air, which is
forced through each of the holes successively as they revolve. When
the disc does not quite complete one revolution in a second, only
fifteen puffs come to the ear in a second of time, and they are heard
as puffs; but when the rate reaches one revolution in a second, the
sound, as if by magic, changes into the lowest musical sound. The same
result may be obtained in a more pronounced form by means of
explosions or pistol shots; when these are slow and heard separately,
they are painful and almost unbearable to the ear, but, as soon as
their rapidity, namely, at sixteen per second, gets beyond the power
of the ear to differentiate between the explosions, the impression, as
if by magic, changes into a continuous or musical sound, like a
thirty-foot pipe note of an organ.

To go back to our disc. The octave above this lowest musical note is
obtained by doubling the rate of puffs, namely, by revolving the disc
twice in one second, and the next octave by revolving four times in a
second, and so on, doubling each time, until, at about the thirteenth
octave, the sound has become so high that the majority of listeners
cannot hear it, and fancy it must have stopped, whereas a few will
still be saying: "How shrill it is!" At last, at about the fourteenth
octave, when there are 20,000 beats to the second and each wave is
about half an inch long, it passes beyond human audition, and,
although we can show that the air is still vibrating, all is silent,
the human ear being incapable of hearing so many beats in a second
even as a continuous sound, though I have evidence to show that many
insects can hear probably considerably beyond this limit. It is,
however, possible to make these higher vibrations perceptible to our
senses by means of what are called sensitive flames: we can actually,
by these, measure the length of these silent waves, and as we know the
rate at which they travel, we can at once compute the number which
occur in a second of time, and thus ascertain their pitch. By this
means we can follow for about three more octaves above the audible
limit, namely, up to 160,000 pulsations per second, with a length of
wave of one-twelfth of an inch.

Two and a half octaves above these numerically, _i.e._ at about the
twentieth octave, we reach the frequency of Electro-Magnetic Rills,
used by the Marconi System of wireless telegraphy, which pulsate at
about 950,000 per second, and have a wave-length of something like
1000 feet. The reason for this great increase in length of wave is
caused by these frequencies being propagated in the Ether at the rate
of 186,000 miles per second, instead of, as with sound waves, in the
air, at only 1130 feet per second. We can trace these particular
frequencies, called, after their discoverer, Hertzian waves, for about
fifteen octaves, when we arrive at the frequency of 32,000,000,000 in
a second, with a wave-length decreased to a quarter of an inch; we
can render the effect of these waves visible, but have no physical
organ by which we can feel these pulsations. After this, however, we
get into the region of frequencies which, though still of exactly the
same kind, we know and can feel as Radiant heat; these are situated in
the next fourteen octaves, and bring us up to those subtle frequencies
which affect another of our sense organs, and which we appreciate as
light; these we have already seen have the enormous frequency of
530,000,000,000,000 pulsations per second for red light, up to
930,000,000,000,000 per second for violet, and having wave-lengths so
small that it takes 40,000 and 70,000 of them respectively to cover
one inch in length. There is only a little over half an octave that
the eye can appreciate as light, and then all is darkness; but we can
still go on further by the help of Science: beyond the violet we have
the actinic or chemical rays, which are used in photography, and which
enable us to trace the frequencies for a further two octaves. Beyond
this we cannot pierce with our present knowledge; but there may be,
and probably are, latent in our nature, senses which, properly
developed, will be able to appreciate still more subtle vibrations,
and organs which, perhaps, even now are being prepared for the
reception of these influences.

We have no organs yet developed for receiving and appreciating what
are called Wireless waves, but we have already been able to devise
physical Receivers, of wonderful sensitiveness, for them and other
waves of the same nature, such as those of Radiant heat. In the case
of Radiant heat, the Bolometer invented by Professor Langley has been
able to receive and record a change of temperature of the one
millionth of a degree Centigrade, and can easily make visible the heat
of a candle at a distance of one and a half miles. In wireless
telegraphy also the Receiver, perfected by Marconi, is affected by
rills, made by a splash of electric discharge, over 3000 miles away.
If our eyes were sensitive to these frequencies, both of which are
composed, as is also light, of electro-magnetic rills, we could see
anything that was happening anywhere in the world, for they go through
matter as though it did not exist, as light passes through glass;
indeed, if our region of Sight waves was only put an octave lower we
could not use glass in our windows, it would be too opaque, we should
be obliged to have our windows made of thin slabs of carbon or other
substances permeable to Radiant heat waves. Science indeed steadily
points to electricity and magnetism being a form of motion, and it may
be that in these invisible rays we may some day discover the nature
of those mysterious forces; and, even far beyond those, as suggested
in View Four, we may in the not far distant future be able to
appreciate Physical Life itself as a mode of frequency.

We want, as it were, a special "Time Microscope," which I have already
referred to, to examine these vibrations, and a method similar to that
already mentioned in "Space," under Celestial Photography, by which we
may traverse and examine hundreds or thousands of octaves by each
second of exposure; for, although the path extends to infinity, we
have already arrived at the utmost limits of our finite senses, and
find that after all we can only appreciate fifty-one octaves, a few
inches only, as it were, along the line of Infinite extent, reaching
from the finite up to the Reality; and even so it must be borne in
mind that we have only travelled in one direction, whereas the path we
have taken extends in the opposite direction also to infinity. We
started with sixteen vibrations in a second, as the lowest number of
beats we human beings can appreciate as a musical sound; let us now
descend by octaves. The octave below is eight vibrations in a second,
and there are probably many animals that can only hear these as a
musical sound; the next octave is four, then two, and then one
vibration in a second. But we do not stop there; the octave below
this is one vibration in two seconds, then in four seconds, eight
seconds, sixteen seconds, and so on, until it is possible to conceive
that even one frequency in a million years might be appreciated as a
musical sound, or even as one of the colours of the spectrum, by a
being whose time sensations were enormously extended in both
directions, but still finite.

Once more we must call a halt. Our finite minds become bewildered in
attempting even to glance at these infinities of time.

We measure space by miles, yards, feet, and inches; we measure time by
years, hours, minutes, and seconds; and by these finite units we try
to fathom these two marvellous infinities. With our greatest efforts
of thought we find, however, that we can get relatively no distance
whatever from the HERE of Space and the NOW of Time. It is true that
the present, as a mathematical point, appears to be hurrying and
bearing us with it along the line stretching from the past to future
eternity, but in reality we get no further from the one nor nearer to
the other. Let us change our view and examine this subject under a
different aspect.

First of all, look round a room and note the different objects to be
seen. Even in a small room we do not see the objects as they really
_are_ at this instant, but only as they _were_ at a certain fixed
length of time ago. The present time is common to every point in space
and each person is in the present, but only to his own perception; to
everyone else in the room, each individual is, at this moment, being
seen acting in the past; those objects which are further away are
being seen further behind in point of time than those that are nearer;
in fact, however near we are to an object, we can never see it as it
is but only as it was. We are dealing with very minute differences
here, they being based upon the rate at which light travels; but they
are differences which are known with a wonderful degree of accuracy.

We have here another example of how perception without knowledge leads
to false concepts. When anyone views an extended landscape, he thinks
that his sight shows him that the same point of Time, which he is
experiencing, is common to every man, animal, plant, or material
visible there, but we know now that he is seeing every part of that
scene in the past compared with himself. Just as all objects therein
are situated at separate distinct points of space, so to our vision
the objects of that scene are acting or existing in different epochs
of time. An Artist gives us on a flat surface a picture of that
landscape, and his representations of all objects in that scene
appear therefore to us as being in the same moment of Time, but to get
that effect he has to draw objects at a distance smaller than those
close at hand; a fly in the foreground has to be drawn larger than a
horse supposed to be in the distance, though both are on the same flat
surface; they have the same parallax and are therefore the same
distance from the observer, and as this produces a similar image on
our retina, we accept it though we know it is only a make-believe; it
serves its purpose by giving us an impression on our retina which we
have learnt to interpret as representing that landscape, but such a
picture would indeed be a marvel of absurdity to a being who had
perfect sight, such as we have already referred to, and who could
appreciate parallel rays; in such a vision there would be no
perspective, no vanishing point in perception.

Now let us take a wider landscape. The Moon is 240,000 miles distant.
We do not, therefore, ever see her as she is but as she was 1-1/4
seconds ago. In the same way we see the Sun as he was eight minutes
ago, and we see Jupiter as he was nearly an hour ago. Let us look
still further to one of the nearest fixed stars. We at this moment
only see that star as it was more than ten years ago; that star may
therefore have exploded or disappeared ten long years ago, and yet we
still see it shining, and shall continue to see it _there_ until the
long line of light has run itself out; all around us, in fact, we see
the appearance of blazing suns not as they are now but as they were
thousands of years ago, and, by the aid of the telescope and of our
sensitive plate, we are only now recording the light which started
from clusters and firmaments probably millions of years ago.

Now let us take the converse of this. To anybody on the moon at this
moment the earth would be seen from there not as it is, but as it was
1-1/4 seconds ago, and from the sun as it was eight minutes ago, and
if we were in Jupiter, and were looking back, we should, at this
particular moment, be viewing what was happening on this earth, and
seeing what each of us was doing an hour ago. Now let us go in
imagination to one of the nearest fixed stars, and looking back we
should see what was happening ten years ago; going still further to a
far-off cluster, the light would only just now be arriving there,
which started from the earth at the time when man first appeared; or
we might go to so remote a distance that the scene of the formation of
the Solar System would be only now arriving there, and all the events
which have taken place from that remote time to the present would, as
time rolled on, reach there in exactly the same succession as they
have happened on this earth; and remember that we should be looking,
from that great distance, at all these past events with the same
intuitional advantage as though we were actually present here in time,
for however near we are to an object, we never see it as it is but
only as it was in the past.

Let us but turn to any point of space and we shall find at each point,
according to its remoteness, the actual scenes of the past being
enacted, in fact it may be said that throughout infinite space every
event in past eternity is now indelibly recorded.

A murder committed hundreds of years ago, in a country house, may
never have been found out, the criminal and his victim have alike
turned to dust, the blood has been washed from the floor, the very
house and its surroundings have crumbled and disappeared, and in their
place a waving corn field is all that can be seen, but at this very
moment if we were at a certain point in space, we should now be
witnessing there, the whole actual living scene from beginning to end,
as though we were present _here_ hundreds of years ago: the murderer
standing over his victim, the knife driven in and the blood gushing
out. If we went further away we should at this same moment be seeing
the criminal just arriving and knocking at the door of that house,
then going upstairs into the room, and the same terrible scene with
all its minutiæ would again be enacted. From a point still further
removed, we should now see him, say, having lunch at a country inn
some miles away, concocting his villainy, then he would be seen
walking across the fields towards the house, again knocking at the
door, mounting the staircase, and once more would that murderous scene
be enacted before our eyes, and so on for ever; the scene, with the
house and its surroundings, have indeed been completely swept away
from the present _here_, but the whole tragedy will always be acting
in the future _there_ in the presence of the Reality.

Let us now come, in imagination, towards the earth, from some far-off
cluster of stars. If we traverse the distance in one year, the whole
of the events from the formation of this world would appear before us,
only thousands of times quicker. Make the journey in a month, a day,
an hour, a second, or a moment of time, and all past events, from the
grandest to the most trivial, would be acted in an infinitesimal
portion of time.

When we have fully grasped this we recognise that Omniscience is
synonymous with Omnipresence, and some may find, in this thought, a
glimpse of that Great Book wherein are said to be registered every
thought, word, and deed, which, in the direction of the Reality, has
helped to nourish, or, in the direction of the shadow, has tended to
starve the personality of each one of us; for we know that every word
we utter, or that has been uttered from the beginning of the world,
and every motion of our brain connected with thought is indelibly
imprinted upon every atom of matter. If our sense of perception were
greatly increased we need not go to Palestine to see on the rocks
there the impressions of the image of Christ and His disciples, or of
the words they uttered as they passed by, but any stone by the wayside
_here_ would show His every action and resound with every word He
uttered. In fact, every particle of matter on this earth is a witness
to that which has happened, every point in space and every moment of
time contains the history of the past in the smallest minutiæ. The
_Here_, embracing all space, and the _Now_, embracing all time, are
the only realities to the Omniscient.

Let us once more change the scene and we may grasp even more clearly
that Time and Space are not realities but are only modes or conditions
under which our material senses act. A tune may be played either a
thousand times slower or a thousand times quicker, but it still
remains the same tune, it contains the same sequence of notes and
proportion in time, the only characteristics by which we recognise a
tune. And so in the same way with our sense of sight, an event may be
drawn out to a thousand times its length or acted a thousand times
quicker, it is still the same scene. An insect vibrates its wings
several thousands of times in a second and must be cognisant of each
beat, whereas we have seen that we, with our Senses of Sight and
Hearing, can only appreciate respectively at the most seven and
sixteen vibrations in a second as separate beats. That insect must
therefore be able to follow a flash of lightning under the conditions
of a Time microscope magnifying a thousand times compared with our
vision. The whole life of some of these insects extends over a few
hours only, but owing to their quick unit of perception it is to them
as full of detail as our life of seventy years; but to them there is
no day and night, the Sun is always stationary in the Heavens, they
can have no cognisance of Seasons.

I have already referred in View One to the curious results of
increasing our unit of perception by a Time Microscope, and I will now
carry the investigation of this subject a step further.

As conceptional knowledge is based on perceptional knowledge, and we
can only perceive about six times per second, and as the principal
forms of knowledge are gained through the eye, we are conceiving
progress in phenomena under a very restricted outlook; we cannot
recognise such slow motions as, for instance, the hour-hand of a
watch, the growth of a tree, or rise of the tide, except by noting the
change that has occurred after a long interval; there is therefore a
whole world of events which we cannot see. Owing to this limit, in our
unit of time perception, we also cannot perceive events which are
taking place beyond a certain quickness, they become blurred and give
the impression of continuity, and constitute another world of events
lost to us. For the same reason there is a whole world of sensation
lost to us by our limited unit of sound perception; we cannot follow
separate sound-events if they occur quicker than sixteen in a second,
beyond that they become blurred and give the impression of continuity.
If, on the other hand, our units of perception were increased a
thousandfold, as is probably the case with some insects, our conscious
lives would contain a thousand more events than they do at present,
and, as the consciousness of length of life is dependent upon the
number of events that have been perceived, we should under these
conditions have passed on this earth a life equivalent to, say, 70,000
years under our present restricted unit; every second of that long
period would have been as full of events for us as is a second in our
present life of seventy years. If, on the other hand, our unit of
perception were decreased a thousandfold, our length of life, based
upon perception of events, would be no longer than 25-1/2 of our
present days; if our life were actually reduced to that period (so as
to regain our present units of perception) we should be old and
grey-headed before the sun had risen for the twenty-fifth time since
our birth. If our unit of perception, with our length of life, were
again reduced a thousandfold, the whole of our life of seventy years
would now only be equal to forty-three minutes, and, in the whole of
that life, we could only see the sun move ten degrees, namely, twenty
of its own diameters in the heaven; if we were born, say, at noon on
midsummer's day, we could never have any idea of anything but daytime,
and neither our fathers, nor grandfathers, nor great-grandfathers for
fifteen generations before them could have seen the sun rise; but
there would have been a tradition, handed down from a far distant past
generation, that a long time ago, beyond the memory of man, there was
no sun at all, everything was pitch dark, and that time was called the
"Great Shadow." If their records could have gone still further back
for the same length of time they would have heard that, before the
"Great Shadow," the sun was always shining in the heavens, and that
that great "Sun" day lasted twice as long as the great shadow.

To understand more clearly this subject of Time perception let me put
another aspect before you; we are looking, say, at an insect whose
wings are beating several thousand times per second, and, with our
vision limited to six times per second, it would be impossible to
count the number of hairs on that wing, or to see which of those hairs
were split, or were bent from the straight, but, if we travelled away
from that insect into space at the rate of light, and were looking
back, the present would then always be with us; the wing, although
still vibrating at that enormous rate, would appear to be stationary,
and so would every other moving thing on the earth, however quick its
movement, and everything would continue in that motionless state for a
million years, provided we continued our flight with the rays of
light. If we travelled a little slower than light, say one minute less
in a thousand years, the same scene would be presented to us, but,
that which was acted upon this earth during one minute of Time, would
now take a thousand years to accomplish; the swiftest railway train
would appear standing still, it would take 5-3/4 days and nights to
cover each inch of ground. It is thus possible to again understand how
the flight of a bird or the lightning flash might be examined under
conditions of time which would lead to the discovery and tracing of
even the principle of life itself. But let us go one step further and
increase our flight beyond the rate at which light travels: scenes
would now progress in the opposite direction to that which we are
accustomed to; men would get out of bed and dress themselves at night
and go to bed in the morning; old men would grow young again; tall
trees would grow backwards and enter the earth, embedding themselves
in the seed, and the seed would rise upwards to the branch that
nourished it; the blood would turn into chyle, into food in the
stomach, into the piece of meat, which would be transferred from the
mouth to the plate, and would then be cut on to the joint, the joint
would go down to the kitchen and be uncooked, would be carried to the
butcher to be cut on to the carcase, and the animal would come to life
and go out into the fields. Human bodies would be formed in the ground
from the dust of the Earth, passing through what we call corruption to
incorruption, the dead would be taken from their graves, brought back
to their homes and put to bed; the Doctor would arrive, a miracle
would happen, the patient would come to life; though this would hardly
be a feather in the cap of the Doctor, as it would be seen that the
medicine came out from the mouth of the patient, would be put into
bottles to be thrown away, and it would be the Doctor who had to pay
the Fee, and the bigger the Doctor the bigger the Fee he would have to
pay. The future would in fact change places with the past, the effect
would give birth to the cause as presented to our finite senses, and,
though it is difficult to realise, it is indeed just as true, or
untrue, that we come into this world through the grave, instead of in
the way we are accustomed to, because to the Reality there is no
change, the Here and the Now comprising all beginnings and ends, all
causes and effects.

In this flight on the wings of light we did not in reality depart in
the least from the Here, because there is no such thing as space, it
is all included in a mathematical point, the Here; and as the whole of
time is included in the Now, the Future, however remote with all
events therein, is existent in the present; the writers of books 5000
years hence are therefore writing them now, and the Human Race has
read and is reading them _now_; we have always hitherto maintained
that these things are only "going to happen" 5000 years hence, but in
reality all events in the future are events in the same Now in which
we are living at the present moment, and, as it is just as true, that
time is flowing from the Future to the Present and on to the Past, as
in the contrary direction (of our present outlook), so it is quite
conceivable that we may some day, in the not far distant future, not
only realise that the future exists already, but that we may even be
able to handle and read the books written 5000 years hence, in a
similar manner to that which enables us now to handle and read those
which were written 5000 years ago.



VIEW EIGHT

CREATION


In our first View we saw the necessity of clearing away the weeds, the
moss, and the lichen from the stem of our Real Personality before that
Transcendental Self could send forth fresh buds for the advancement of
_conscious_ thought to higher levels; we found that the first step
towards this clearing the approach to our window, was to recognise
that a knowledge of the Truth was to be gained by the use of
"Introspection" rather than by Intellectualism--to realise, in fact,
that it is not we, with our intellects, who are looking out upon
Nature, but that it is the Absolute looking into us and ever trying to
teach us divine truths concerning the "Reality of Being." We saw that
the phenomena, which our senses would have us believe to be the
reality or solidity of our material surroundings, are illusions
created by the fact that those senses are limited in their perception
to that which is conditioned in Time and Space, necessitating _motion_
as the basis of our perceptions, and that, when the rate of motion
exceeds our units of perception, we have the impression of continuity
of events, which we accept as the objective existence of matter; we
also saw that the duration of Time and extension of Space had no
existence for us apart from those senses, our very consciousness of
these two non-realities depending upon "relativity"--they could, in
fact, be increased or diminished indefinitely, without our knowing
that any change had been made.

In our second View I attempted to take another step forward by showing
how, by means of this "Introspection," it was even possible to
understand that these two limitations might be eliminated from
consciousness; we then realised that the whole Physical Universe is
but a thin film, set up by our finite Senses, between our
Consciousness and the "Reality of Being"; we saw that this could only
be understood when, by the Mystical Sense, we realised that physical
phenomena were but symbols or shadows of the Reality or Noumenon
underlying them.

In our next View I gave an example of the use of Mystical and
Symbolical thought, leading, in the fourth View, to the subject of
Everlasting Life and the Efficacy of Prayer, wherein I tried to show
that by examining the phenomena of Nature, as depicted on the Physical
Film, it is possible to reach a point where we may even feel that we
are actually listening to, or having divulged to us, the very thoughts
of the Absolute. This led to the next View, where we examined the
Physical Film itself, and this we analysed in the next two Views into
those component parts, by means of which this Film presents to our
senses the impression of the whole Physical Universe as an objective
reality.

We have seen that it is the Invisible which is the Real, that the
visible is only its shadow; that the Invisible, as distinguished from
the Visible, is not in a place apart from the Physical, but is the
Reality of which the visible constitutes the boundary lines or planes
in our consciousness, as lines and planes are the visible boundaries
of solids. The Kingdom of Heaven is not a locality but a _state_ of
Divine "loving and knowing communion"; it is within us in the sense
that we are interior and not exterior entities of the "Reality of
Being."

We have now arrived at a point where we can better realise that the
Absolute cannot be localised or bounded by space, and must be
Omnipresent--cannot be conditioned in Time, and must therefore be
Omniscient--the Here comprising all Space, and the Now all Time in the
"Reality of Being."

With these conclusions before us I will ask you to form a new
conception of Creation. All creation around us is the materialisation
of the Thought of the Deity. He does not require time to think as we
do--the whole of the Universe is therefore one instantaneous Thought
of the Great Reality; the forming of this world and its destruction,
the appearance of man, the birth and death of each one of us are
absolutely at the same instant; it is only our finite minds which
necessitate drawing this Thought out into a long line, and our want of
knowledge and inability to grasp the whole, which force us to conceive
that one event happened before or after another. In our finite way we
examine and strive to understand this wondrous Thought, and at last, a
Darwin, after a life spent in accumulating facts on this little
isolated spot of the Universe, discovers what appears to be a law of
sequence, and calls it the evolution theory; but this is probably only
one of countless other modes by which the _intent_ of that Thought is
working towards completion, the apparent direction of certain lines on
that great tracing board of the Creator, whereon is depicted the whole
plan of His work.

Let me give a simple example of Creation by a "word," which even our
finite minds can grasp. When I utter the word _Cat_, it starts a
practically instantaneous thought in your minds, the power of that
thought being dependent upon the knowledge you have gained. If you
analyse it you will find that, though practically instantaneous, it
comprises all the sensations you have ever felt on that subject
throughout your life. It commenced, perhaps, when you were only a year
old, and, sitting on your mother's knee, your hand was made to stroke
a kitten, and you felt it was soft and it gave you pleasure. Later on,
when you were older, you had it in your arms, and you felt the first
intimation of that wonderful "[Greek: storgê]," which manifests itself
in most children in their love for dolls; you found it delightful to
cuddle and that it purred. Later on, you found that it played with a
reel of cotton, and that it could scratch, make horrid noises, and
countless other things, which not only make up the life of a cat, but
connect it with the world around us. All these thousand and one facts
are now drawn out, by analysis in Time and Space, into a long line,
and are placed one in front of the other; but the thought started by
the word Cat was a fair example of an instantaneous creation.

One other example of an instantaneous thought. Let us suppose a large
room fitted with, say, a hundred thousand volumes, comprising all the
knowledge gained by every Specialist in every Science concerning the
plan of Creation. In our finite minds, under the limits of Time and
Space, the word representing the contents of that library would start,
when uttered, an instantaneous thought analogous to that of our last
example, according to the knowledge that each individual had already
acquired of the contents of those books; but this knowledge had only
been gained by taking down each volume separately and reading one book
at a time, beginning at the beginning and taking each page and each
word in succession, and a lifetime would not suffice to enable us to
read them all; whereas, if our knowledge were _complete_, the word
representing the contents of that room would start an instantaneous
thought, comprising not only every book, but every chapter, page,
word, letter, and punctuation contained in that library, or in one
which comprised all knowledge from the beginning to the end of Time.

It is a well-known fact that at the approach of death, when the
perceptive senses are completely, or almost completely, in abeyance,
as in the "self-forgetting" referred to in "The Vision," the duration
of Time appears to have no reality; in numerous cases of drowning,
where the person has been no more than one or two minutes under water,
the whole of a long life, with every forgotten trivial occurrence and
the multitude of thoughts attached thereto, have been brought vividly
before the mind, as it were, instantaneously; those also who have been
put under nitrous-oxide gas, though the life of the body is not
affected, know how, with departure of sense perception, the sense of
Time is completely annihilated. I have myself experimented under such
conditions, and attempted to realise the duration of time by counting
steadily, one, two, three, four, &c., and had no knowledge whatever
that between, say, "four" and "five" there was a complete hiatus of
several minutes when, for me, time had vanished; I was still counting
steadily when the anæsthetic had passed away, and it was quite
impossible to realise that such time had elapsed, as I had not reached
more than the twelfth count, whereas, according to the time expired, I
should have reached the fiftieth or sixtieth. A number of examples of
what may be called instantaneous thoughts created in the mind of a
sleeper have been collected, and many of us have had similar
experiences. I give one as an example: "Maury was ill in bed and
dreamed of the French Revolution. Bloody scenes passed before him. He
held long conversations with Robespierre, Marat, and other monsters of
that time, was dragged before the tribunal, was condemned to death,
and carried through a great crowd of people, bound to a plank. The
guillotine severed his head from his shoulders. He woke with terror to
find that a rail over the bed had got unfastened and had fallen upon
his neck like a guillotine, and, as his mother who was sitting by him
declared, at that very moment."

In the above case the whole scene was started instantaneously in his
brain, but in waking his mind analysed it in Time and Space and spread
it out into a long historical record. The opposite process to this,
namely, the building up a thought-picture, is what we do every day
when we form and combine our conceptions under the dominion of Time
and Space, until we have accumulated in our minds a multitude of
concepts which form as it were a single subject, somewhat analogous to
a painter when he has completed his picture, a writer his book, an
architect his house, or even a mechanic his machine. An interesting
example of a musician constructing a thought-picture is given by
Mozart himself:

     "When I am all right and in good spirits, either in a
     carriage or walking, and at night when I cannot sleep,
     thoughts come streaming in and at their best. Whence and how
     I know not, I cannot make out. The things which occur to me
     I keep in my head, and hum them also to myself--at least
     others have told me so. If I stick to it, there soon come,
     one after another, useful crumbs for the pie, according to
     counterpoint, harmony of the different instruments, &c. This
     now inflames my soul, that is if I am not disturbed. Then it
     keeps on growing, and I keep on expanding it more distinctly,
     and the thing, however long it be, becomes indeed almost
     finished in my head, so that I can always survey it in spirit
     like a beautiful picture or a fine person, and also hear in
     imagination, not indeed successively, as by and by it must
     come out, but all together. That is a delight! All the
     invention and construction go on in me as in a fine strong
     dream, but the overhearing it all at once is still the best."

With these illustrations before us may we not carry the analogy even
further, and see that, as our conception of a Cat was made up of
numberless small acquisitions of knowledge, some of which had to be
discarded, or eliminated as errors, from our minds as our knowledge
grew, and as each true fact became confirmed and impressed upon our
brain it made itself a _permanent_ record and became a centre to be
used for gaining further knowledge; so in this wonderful Thought of
the Great Reality, whose mind may be said to be omnipresent, each
individual soul is a working unit in the plan of Creation; each unit
as it gains a knowledge of the Will of the Deity forms for itself a
_personality_ helping forward the work towards its fulfilment;
without that knowledge there can be no personality, no unit in the
great completed thought, no life hereafter.

The True Life is fulfilled by him who has progressed so far in the
knowledge of the Divine as to realise that he is the offspring of the
Absolute, and therefore stands face to face with his Transcendental
Personality, his [Greek: Christos], of which the Physical Ego is only
the outline or boundary form visible in the physical universe. Each
individual has free will to define his own boundaries, his own
limitations; he builds up the walls of the house in which he lives,
and he has power to brick up or open out the windows through which he
may see the Truth; happy are those whose windows are open, but many,
alas, choose to make the wall opaque by confining their attention to
the physical shadows, or by strangling their spiritual intuition and
preventing all advance in thought by blind subservience to obsolete
dogmas.

We are instruments of Divine purpose in the scheme of Creation. Each
individual Physical Ego seems to be a Micro-Cosmos, imaging the
Universe, the Macro-Cosmos. As the phagocytes, the policemen of the
blood, flock to a breach in the human body to overcome any invasion of
the enemy, whether poisons or bacteria, which would otherwise detract
from that progress of cell formation upon which the scheme of human
life depends, so do the true lovers of the Divine meet, by active
resistance, any attempt of the enemies of the Good, Beautiful and True
to retard the advancement of the scheme of Creation to its ultimate
goal of perfection. The human body is composed of innumerable cells
and several special colonies of cells, which we call organs, each of
which has its special work to do, and secretes and discharges special
fluids necessary for the welfare of the whole body. All of these cells
are alive, and myriads of them are moving on their own account,
apparently quite independent of, and in complete ignorance of, the
feeling and perception of the whole body; they are, however,
microscopical units of that body, and its welfare depends upon their
contribution of work; it is, in fact, only through their ceaseless
activities that the life in that body is maintained--a phenomenon
analogous to that described in the simile of a Forest Tree in View
Four. So are we integral parts of the scheme of Creation, and each
act, either in accordance with the Divine purpose or the reverse, is
helping forward or retarding the completion of that Thought, though
like the cells we are ignorant of the end which Creation has in view.

In this life we seem indeed to be only, as it were, in embryo! The
study of embryology has lately shown us clearly how the clothing of
our Physical Ego has been formed, during the past millions of years,
from the lowest forms of life. Each one of us has, during what may be
called his lifetime, gone through all the different stages of
evolutionary development which, since the beginning of life on this
planet, have been employed to build up the human body in its present
form. Embryology has shown us that, during gestation, each human
embryo is a _replica_ of the past; it passes through the different
Imago stages from protoplasm to man, being unrecognisable at certain
stages from a monad, an amoeba, a fish with gills, a lizard, and a
monkey with a tail and dense clothing of hair over the whole body. The
human embryo has also, at an early stage, the thirteenth pair of ribs,
which is found in lower animals and is still seen in a rudimentary
form in anthropoid apes, but which disappears from the human embryo
before birth. Each generation, under evolutionary development, will
witness a further advancement in the clothing of the Physical Ego,
until it may be conceived that a hundred thousand years hence our
present stage of development will be seen only as one of the stages
through which the embryo has to pass before birth at that distant
time. May we not even glimpse at the future to which evolution is
carrying us? For in any of these stages we see organs forming whose
use only comes into play long after that stage has been passed; so
also, in the new rudimentary forms of thought which are started by
every fresh discovery may we not some day be able to descry the
heights which we are destined to attain if we earnestly seek after
Truth?

Radio-Activity has shown us that all forms of matter are but different
combinations of one primal brick; by synthesis thousands of new forms
of matter, unknown in Nature, are actually now being built up in our
laboratories, and the number of such combinations cannot conceivably
be limited; so do we also see that all the known forms of energy in
nature are interchangeable, one with another, with exactly known
equivalents and ratios, pointing to their being only different
combinations of one unit of energy. If such is the case, it would seem
to follow that there are countless other forces of which we at present
have no cognisance, but which may at any time come within our field of
investigation.

In our life here we are steadily progressing from the lower to the
higher form of being, from the purely Physical towards the
Transcendental, each generation starting from a higher level; the
boundary line between the Physical and Transcendental is being
continually advanced towards the latter, and it may well be, as I
have already suggested in View IV, that we are even now on the eve of
discovering a new force, or aspect of Creation, which will open a
wider view and give us a clearer knowledge of the goal which we are
destined to reach hereafter.

Each generation will, according to the teaching of Embryology,
gradually come into the world at a higher stage of development than
its predecessors, until the last Physical Ego, at its birth, will
coincide with the final stage of development, when there will be no
more physical clothing, the disintegration of Matter being completed,
and, it can be pictured that at the final consummation, there will be
nothing imperfect, no shadow left, that all will be spiritual. The
object of Creation would therefore appear to be the population of the
Real Universe with spiritual entities, until the whole Spiritual
Universe will be taken up by Transcendental Personalities, which will
be one with the Reality, and the Great Thought completed.

Once more let us recognise that we are dependent for knowledge of
surroundings upon our perception of movements, and that as our
conceptional knowledge is based on perceptional knowledge, our
thoughts are limited by Time and Space and can only deal with finite
subjects. From this arises all our difficulty of understanding the
Infinite; we cannot under our present conditions know the whole
Truth; if we could do that we should be able, as it were, to look all
round the subject, and Infinity would then be seen to be a
pseudo-conception of our finite thoughts. We can only think of one
finite subject at a time, and, at that moment, all other subjects are
cancelled; we can, in fact, only think in sequences, and, taking the
particular Infinities of duration and extension which we have been
examining, we can only think of points in Time and Space as existing
beyond or before other fixed points, which again must be followed by
other points. We cannot fix a point in Time or Space so as to exclude
the thought of a point beyond; the idea of an Infinite is therefore a
necessary result of the limitation of our thoughts. The whole Truth is
there before us, but we can only examine it in a form of finite
sequences. A book contains a complete story, but we can only know that
story by taking each word in succession and insisting that one word
comes in front of another, and yet the story is lying before us
complete. So with Creation; we are forced to look upon it as a long
line going back to past eternity, and another long line going on to
future eternity, and, with our limitations, we can only think of all
events therein as happening in sequence; but eliminate Time and we
become Omniscient, the whole of Creation would be before us as an
Instantaneous Thought of God.

Accordingly under the dominion of Time we appear to be in a similar
position to that of a being whose senses are limited to
one-dimensional space--namely, to a line; we can only have cognisance
of what is in front and behind, we have no knowledge of what is to the
right or left, we appear to be limited to looking lengthwise in Time,
whereas an Omniscient and Omnipresent Being looks at Time crosswise
and sees it as a whole. A small light, when at rest, appears as a
point of light, but when we apply quick motion, the product of Time
and Space, to it, we get the appearance of a line of light, and this
continuous line, formed by motion of a point, is, I think, analogous
to the Physical Universe appearing to our finite senses as continuous
in Time duration and Space extension, though really comprised in the
Now and the Here, the whole of Creation being therefore an
Instantaneous Thought.

A consideration of our limitation in Space may also be useful to show
how impossible it is for us to hope to see by our senses the Reality
or by our thoughts to know the Spiritual. Our senses and thoughts are
limited to a Space of three dimensions, and we can therefore only see
or know that part of the Absolute which is or can be represented to
us in three dimensions; a being whose senses were limited to a
Universe of one dimension--namely, a _line_, could have no real
knowledge of another being who was in a Universe of two
dimensions--namely, a _flat surface_, except so far as the
two-dimensional being could be represented within his line of
sensation; so also the two-dimensional being, on a _plane_, could have
no true knowledge of a being like ourselves in a Universe of three
dimensions. To his thoughts, limited within two dimensions, a being
like ourselves would be unthinkable, except so far as our nature could
be made manifest on his plane; so can it be seen that we, limited by
our finite senses to Time and Space, and our consciousness dependent
upon that limited basis of thought, can only know that aspect of the
Reality which can be manifested within that range of thought--namely,
as Motion, or what we call physical phenomena.

Let me attempt just one more view before we part, which may make this
conception of Creation, as an Instantaneous Thought, even clearer to
our finite senses. Imagine a Spectator endowed with the same sense of
vision that we have--namely, limited to six units of perception per
second, but able to look on, as it were, from outside the Universe,
without himself being affected by any alteration that takes place in
what may be called the flow of time. Consider some of the changes he
would witness if Time were gradually eliminated from phenomena. The
inhabitants, who at first were seen walking by slow, successive steps,
would soon be seen gliding from place to place, the movement of their
legs having passed beyond the sense of vision; the next stage would
see the inhabitants unrecognisable as human beings when walking,
although they would still be visible if they stood still, they would
be moving too fast for sight, they would be seen only as lines or
bands extended between their points of departure and destination; then
day and night would be following each other so quickly that soon the
day would only be a flicker of light, till, when the week became equal
to one second of the Spectator's time, day and night would disappear
as separate phenomena; then the week, the month, and the year would in
turn flicker, solidify, or become continuous, and disappear with all
the multitudinous events contained therein; human life would then be
affected, would flicker, and follow the same course; to the Spectator
the birth of each individual would become coincident with his death,
and Nations would be seen to rise and progress towards their
destination without any evidence of individual existence; the Human
Race itself would next succumb, then the whole of planetary life,
then the formation and destruction of Solar Systems, then the
gathering together and dissemination of firmaments, and, finally, the
beginning and end of the very Universe would coincide. Motion, or
Physical phenomena, and therefore Matter, would vanish, and the Great
instantaneous Thought be complete. We seem to have been able to
glimpse from our Watch Tower, though through a glass darkly, the whole
Truth, and to see that the Infinity of Time is a figment of our finite
senses and is comprised in the Now. The same treatment, followed by
the same result, may be applied to the Infinity of Space, and we again
see that all Space is comprised in the Here; it is only by the
conditions of our existence in this physical universe, _insisting_ on
our analysing everything in Time and Space that Motion or Change
become the very basis of our Consciousness.

We have seen that the Idea of Infinity is a necessary result of our
finite senses, that the only Reality is the Spiritual, the Here and
the Now; that the Riddle of the Universe is not to be solved by the
_Intellect_ but by that method which is employed by those who are
earnestly following the "Quest of the Grail"--namely, by realising
that our True Personality or Transcendental Ego is an emanation from
the Absolute; that we are one-with Him, and that it is by following
the old Hellenic command "[Greek: Gnôthi seauton]" (Know
thyself)--namely, by _Introspection_, that we can hope to attain to
the understanding of what is the Reality of Being.


FINIS

       *       *       *       *       *

PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY NEILL AND CO., LTD., EDINBURGH.



       *       *       *       *       *



Transcriber's Notes

   Page 27: Braces } on multiple lines represent one large brace
   encompassing those lines.

   Page 53: Huios or Hyios. The Rule doesn't seem to address the
   possibility of upsilon coming first in a diphthong: upsilon iota
   is not common, but "Hui" looks more plausible than "Hyi".

   Page 176: The word amoeba had an oe ligature in the original book.

   Page 184: Typo Gnôthe changed to Gnôthi.





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