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AUTONOMY OF SPIRIT.

Activity Of Consciousness
Aim And Method Of Naturalism
Autonomy Of Spirit
Consciousness Of The Ego
Constructive Criticism
Contrast Between Darwinian And Post-darwinian Views
Creative Power Of Consciousness
Criticisms Of The Mechanistic Theory Of Life
Crities Of Darwinism
Darwinish In General
Darwinism And Teleology
Darwinism In The Strict Sense
De Vries's Mutation-theory
Differences Of Opinion As To The Factors In Evolution
Eimer's Orthogenesis
Evolution And New Beginnings
Feeling
Feeling Individuality Genius And Mysticism
Freedom Of Spirit
Fundamental Principles Of Naturalism
Genius
Goethe's Attitude To Naturalism
Haeckel's Evolutionist Position
Heredity
How All This Affects The Religious Outlook
How The Religious And The Naturalistic Outlooks Conflict
Immortality
Individual Development
Individuality
Intuitions Of Reality
Irritability
Is There Ageing Of The Mind?
Lamarckism And Neo-lamarckism
Machnical Theories Criticism
Mind And Spirit The Human And The Animal Soul
Mystery : Dependence : Purpose
Mysticism
Natural Selection
Naturalism
Naturalistic Attacks On The Autonomy Of The Spiritual
No Parallelism
Other Instances Of Dissatisfaction With The Theory Of Descent
Parallelism
Personality
Pre-eminence Of Consciousness
Preyer's Position
Religion And The Theory Of Descent
Self-consciousness
Spontaneous Generation
Teleological And Scientific Interpretations Are Alike Necessary
The Antimony Of Our Conception Of Space
The Antimony Of Our Conception Of Time
The Antimony Of The Conditioned And The Unconditioned
The Characteristic Features Of Darwinism
The Conservation Of Matter And Energy
The Constructive Work Of Driesch
The Contingency Of The World
The Dependence Of The Order Of Nature
The Development Of Darwinism
The Ego
The Fundamental Answer
The Law Of The Conservation Of Energy
The Mechanics Of Development
The Mystery Of Existence Remains Unexplained
The Organic And The Inorganic
The Position Of Bunge And Other Physiologists
The Problema Continui
The Real World
The Recognition Of Purpose
The Religious Interpretation Of The World
The Spontaneous Activity Of The Organism
The Supremacy Of Mind
The Theory Of Descent
The True Naturalism
The Two Kinds Of Naturalism
The Unconscious
The Unity Of Consciousness
The Views Of Albrecht And Schneider
The Views Of Botanists Illustrated
The World And God
Theory Of Definite Variation
Theory Of Life
Underivability
Various Forms Of Darwinism
Virchow's Caution
Virchow's Position
Weismann's Evolutionist Position
Weismannism
What Is Distinctive In The Naturalistic Outlook
What Is Distinctive In The Religious Outlook



Is There Ageing Of The Mind?








Naturalism is also only apparently right in asserting that the mind ages
with the body. To learn the answer which all idealism gives to this
comfortless theory, it is well to read Schleiermacher's "Monologues," and
especially the chapter "Youth and Age." The arguments put forward by
naturalism, the blunting of the senses, the failing of the memory, are
well known. But here again there are luminous facts on the other side
which are much more true. It is no wonder that a mind ages if it has never
taken life seriously, never consolidated itself to individual and definite
being through education and self-culture, through a deepening of morality,
and has gained for itself no content of lasting worth. How could he do
otherwise than become poor, dull and lifeless, as the excitability of his
organ diminishes and its susceptibility to external impressions
disappears? But did Goethe become old? Did not Schleiermacher, frail and
ailing as he was by nature, prove the truth of what he wrote in his youth,
that there is no ageing of the mind?

The whole problem, in its highest aspects, is a question of will and
faith. If I know mind and the nature of mind, and believe in it, I believe
with Schleiermacher in eternal youth. If I do not believe in it, then I
have given away the best of all means for warding off old age. For the
mind can only hold itself erect while trusting in itself. And this is the
best argument in the whole business.

But even against the concrete special facts and the observable processes
of diminution of psychical powers, and of the disappearance of the whole
mental content, we could range other concrete and observable facts, which
present the whole problem in quite a different light from that in which
naturalism attempts to show it. They indicate that the matter is rather
one of the rusting of the instrument to which the mind is bound than an
actual decay of the mind itself, and that it is a withdrawing of the mind
within itself, comparable rather to sleep than to decay. The remarkable
power of calling up forgotten memories in hypnosis, the suddenly
re-awakening memory a few minutes before death, in which sometimes the
whole past life is unrolled with surprising clearness and detail, the
flaming up anew of a rusty mind in moments of great excitement, the great
clearing up of the mind before its departure, and many other facts of the
same nature, are rather to be regarded as signs that in reality the mind
never loses anything of what it has once experienced or possessed. It has
only become buried under the surface. It has been withdrawn from the
stage, but is stored up in safe treasure-chambers. And the whole stage may
suddenly become filled with it again.

The simile of an instrument and the master who plays upon it, which is
often used of the relation between body and mind, is in many respects a
very imperfect one; for the master does not develop with and in his
instrument. But in regard to the most oppressive arguments of naturalism,
the influence of disease, of old age, of mental disturbances due to brain
changes, the comparison serves our turn well enough, for undoubtedly the
master is dependent upon his instrument; upon an organ which is going more
and more out of tune, rusting, losing its pipes, his harmonies will become
poorer, more imperfect. And if we think of the association between the two
as further obstructed, the master becoming deaf, the stops confused, the
relation between the notes and pipes altered, then what may still live
within him in perfect and unclouded purity, and in undiminished richness,
may present itself outwardly as confused and unintelligible, may even find
only disconnected expression, and finally cease altogether; so that no
conclusion would be possible except that the master himself had become
different or poorer. The melancholy field of mental diseases perhaps
yields proofs against naturalism to an even greater degree than for it. It
is by no means the case that all mental diseases are invariably diseases
of the brain, for even more frequently they are real sicknesses of the
mind, which yield not to physical but to psychical remedies. And the fact
that the mind can be ill, is a sad but emphatic proof that it goes its own
way.





Next: Immortality

Previous: The Unconscious



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