Informational Site NetworkInformational Site Network

   Home - Occult Lessons - Clairvoyance - Goths - Reading the Crystal - Mysticism - Supernatural Metals - Stonehenge - Naturalism - Witch Craft - History of the Devil - Crystal Gazing


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 Individuality Genius And Mysticism
Freedom Of Spirit
Fundamental Principles Of Naturalism
Goethe's Attitude To Naturalism
Haeckel's Evolutionist Position
How All This Affects The Religious Outlook
How The Religious And The Naturalistic Outlooks Conflict
Individual Development
Intuitions Of Reality
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
Natural Selection
Naturalistic Attacks On The Autonomy Of The Spiritual
No Parallelism
Other Instances Of Dissatisfaction With The Theory Of Descent
Pre-eminence Of Consciousness
Preyer's Position
Religion And The Theory Of Descent
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
Various Forms Of Darwinism
Virchow's Caution
Virchow's Position
Weismann's Evolutionist Position
What Is Distinctive In The Naturalistic Outlook
What Is Distinctive In The Religious Outlook

No Parallelism

For a long time it seemed as if the theory of parallelism was to gain
general acceptance. One might write a whole history of the gradually
increasing criticisms of, and reactions from the academic theories which
had become almost canonical. But we may here confine ourselves to the most
general of the objections to the parallelistic theory. They apply to the
general idea of parallelism itself, and affect the different standpoints
of the parallelists in different degrees. The theory in no way corresponds
to what we find in ourselves from direct experience. It is only with the
greatest difficulty that we can convince ourselves that our arm moves only
when and not because we will. The consciousness of being, through the
will, the actual cause of our own bodily movements is so energetic and
direct and certain, that it maintains its sway in spite of all objections,
and confuses the argument even of the parallelists themselves. Usually
after they have laid the foundations of a purely parallelistic theory,
they abandon it again as quickly as possible, and revert to the
expressions and images of ordinary thought. Indeed we have no clearer and
more certain example of causality in general than in our own capacity for
controlling changes in our own bodies. Further, a very fatal addition and
burdensome accessory of the parallelistic theory is involved in the two
corollaries it has above and beneath it. On the one hand there is the
necessity for attributing soul to everything. These mythologies of
atom-souls, molecule-souls, this hatred and love which are the inner
aspects even of the simple facts of attraction and repulsion among the
elements, fit better into the nature-philosophy of Empedocles and
Anaxagoras than into ours. The main support, indeed the sole support, of
this position is that this world of the infinitely little cannot be
brought under control as far as its "soul" is concerned. Thus we can
impute "a soul" to it without danger. On the other hand, there is a
difficulty which made itself felt even in regard to Spinoza's system. All
bodily processes must have psychical processes corresponding to them, said
Spinoza. Conversely, all ideas in their turn must have bodily processes.
To the system including all bodily processes corresponds the sum-total of
psychical processes. This sum-total we call the soul. And in its entirety
it is the idea corporis. If "soul" were really nothing more than this,
the theory of parallelism might be right. But it is more than this. It
rises above itself, and becomes also the idea ideae; it is
self-consciousness and the consciousness of the ego; it makes its own
thought and the laws of it, its feelings and their intensity--its
experiences in short--a subject of thought. How does this fit in with
parallelism? Wundt himself, the most notable modern champion of
parallelism, admits and defines these limits of the parallelistic theory
on both sides.

Furthermore, the theory of parallelism, notwithstanding its opposition to
materialism, must presuppose that localisation of psychical processes of
which we have already spoken, and to which all naturalism appeals with so
much emphasis. Because of the fact that particular psychical functions
seem to be limited to a particular and definable area of the brain-cortex,
or to a spot which could be isolated on a particular convolution, it
seemed as if naturalism could prove that "soul" was obviously a function
of this particular organ or part of an organ. According to the theory of
parallelism this does not follow. It would assert: "What in one aspect
appears to be a psychical process, appears in another aspect to be a
definite physiological process of the brain." Yet it is clear that in
order to gain support for the doctrine of mutual correspondence,
parallelism has also the same interest in such localisation. For this is
the only method by which it can empirically control its theory. But this
whole idea of localisation does not hold good to anything like the extent
to which the members of the naturalistic school are wont to assert that it
does. In regard to this point, too, there has been considerable
disillusioning in recent years. Perhaps all that can be said is, that
localisation of psychical processes is a fact analogous to the fact that
sight is associated with the optic nerves and hearing with the auditory
nerves. Progressive investigation leads more and more clearly to the
recognition of a fact which makes localisation comparatively unimportant,
namely, the vicarious functioning of different parts of the brain. In many
cases where this or that "centre" is injured, and rendered incapable of
function, or even extirpated, the corresponding part of the mind is by no
means destroyed along with it. At first the mind may suffer from "the
effect of shock" as the phrase runs, but gradually it may recover and the
same function may be transferred to another part of the brain, and there
be fulfilled sometimes less perfectly, sometimes quite as perfectly as
before. We had to deal with this fact of vicarious function in discussing
the general theory of life. It is one of the greatest difficulties in the
way of the mechanistic and materialistic theories. But it must give some
trouble to the parallelists too.

We need not speak of the wonderful duplication of all existence which
parallelism must establish, though it is difficult to evade the question
how a natura sive deus could have come, so superfluously, to say the
same thing twice over. Superfluously, for since both are alike
self-contained and independent of one another, one can have no need of the

One objection, however, may be urged against both parallelism and
materialism, which makes them both impossible, and that is, automatism.
Both parallelism and materialism maintain that the sequence of physical
processes is complete in itself and can be explained in terms of itself.
All physical processes! Not only the movements of the stars, the changes
in inanimate matter, the origin and evolution of the forms of life, but
also what we call actions, for instance the movements of our arms and our
legs, and the complicated processes affecting the breathing organs and
tongue, which we call "speech." Every plant, every animal, every human
being must be as it is and where it is, must move and act, must perform
its functions, which we explain as due to love or hate, to fear or hope,
even if there were no such thing as sensation, will, idea, neither love
nor hate, fear nor hope. More than this, all that we call history,
building towns and destroying them, carrying on war and concluding peace,
uniting into states and holding national assemblies, going to school and
exercising mouth and tongue, argument, making books and forming letters,
writing Iliads, Bibles, and treatises on the soul or on free will, holding
psychological congresses and talking about parallelism;--all this must have
been done even if there had been no consciousness, no psychical activity
in any brain! This is the necessary consequence to which the theories of
parallelism and materialism lead. If it does not follow, then there was
from the outset no meaning in establishing them. But the monstrosity of
their corollary is fatal to them. It is idle to set up theories in which
it is impossible to believe.

There is another consideration that affects parallelism alone. Since the
theory credits each of the two series with a closed and sufficient causal
sequence, each of which excludes the other, it does away with causality
altogether. That the one line runs parallel with the other excludes the
idea that a unique system of laws prevails, determining the character and
course of each line. One of the two lines must certainly be dependent, and
one must lead. Otherwise there can be no distinctness of laws in either.
Let us recall our illustration of the cloud shadows once more; the
changing forms of the shadows correspond point for point with those of the
clouds only because they are entirely dependent upon them. We may
illustrate it in this way: a parallel may be drawn to an ellipse, it also
forms a closed curved line. But it is by no means again an ellipse, but is
an entirely dependent figure without any formula or law of its own.
Parallelism must make one of its lines the leading one, which is guided
and directed by an actual causal connection within itself. The other line
may then run parallel with this, but its course must certainly be
determined by the other. And as the line of corporeal processes, with its
inviolable nexus of sequences, is not easily broken, parallelism, after
many hard words against materialism, frequently returns to that again or
becomes inconsistent. But if one says that the two aspects of phenomena
are only the forms of one fundamental phenomenon, that means taking away
actual causality from both alike, and leaving only a temporal sequence.
For then the actually real is the hidden something that throws the
cloud-shadows to right and left. But in the sequence of shadows there is
no causal connection, only a series of states succeeding one another in
time, and this points to a causal connection elsewhere.

It is easy enough to find examples to prove that the mental in us
influences the bodily. But the most convincing, deepest and most
trustworthy of these are not the voluntary actions which are expressed in
bodily movements, nor even the passions and emotions, the joy which makes
our blood circulate more quickly, and the shame which brings a flush to
our foreheads, the suggestions which work through the mind towards the
reviving, vitalising or healing of the body, but the cold and simple
course of logical thought itself. Through logical thinking we have the
power to correct the course of our conceptions, to inhibit, modify, or
logically direct the natural course, as it would have been had it been
brought about by our preceding physiological and psychical states, if they
were dominant and uncontrolled. But if so, then we must also have the
power, especially if it be widely true that physiological states
correspond to psychical states, to influence, inhibit, modify the
nerve-processes in our brain, or to liberate entirely new ones, namely,
those that correspond to the corrected conceptions.

The law of the conservation of energy is here applied in as distorted a
sense as we detected before in regard to the general theory of life. And
what we said there holds good here also. That something which is in itself
not energetic should determine processes and directions of energy is
undoubtedly an absolute riddle. But to recognise this is less difficult
than to accept the impossibilities which mechanism and automatism offer us
here, even more pronouncedly than in regard to the theory of life. Perhaps
one of the familiar antinomies of Kant shows us the way, not, indeed, to
find the solution of the riddle, but to recognise, so to speak, its
geometrical position and associations. We have already seen that inquiry
into the causal conditions of processes lands us in contradictions of
thought, which show us that we can never really penetrate into the actual
state of the matter.

Perhaps we have here to do only with the obverse side of the problem dealt
with there. There the chain of conditions could not be finished because it
led on to infinity, where, however, it was required that it should be
complete. Here again the chain is incomplete. In the previous case a
solution is found through the naive proceeding of simply breaking the
empirical connection of conditions and postulating beginnings in time. In
this case, the admission of an influxus physicus transforms
consciousness almost unnoticed into a mechanically operative causality.
The proper attitude in both cases is a critical one. We must admit that we
cannot penetrate into the true state of the case, because the world is
deeper than our knowledge, we must reject parallelism as being, like the
influxus physicus, an unsatisfactory cutting of the critical knot, and
we must frankly recognise the incontrovertible fact, never indeed
seriously called in question, of the controlling power of the mind, even
over the material.

Next: The Supremacy Of Mind

Previous: Parallelism

Add to Add to Reddit Add to Digg Add to Add to Google Add to Twitter Add to Stumble Upon
Add to Informational Site Network

Viewed 1042