Occultism.ca 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


The first of the three points we have called attention to has, so to
speak, become famous through the lectures of du Bois-Reymond, which
attracted much attention, on "The Limits of Natural Knowledge," and "The
Seven Riddles of the Universe." That these thoughtful lectures made so
great an impression did not mean that a great new discovery had been made,
but was rather a sign of the general lack of reflection on the part of the
public, for they only expressed what had always been self-evident, and
what had only been forgotten through thoughtlessness, or concealed by
polemical rhetoric. Consciousness, thought, even the commonest sensation
of pleasure and pain, or the simplest sense-perception, cannot be compared
with "matter and energy," with the movements of masses. They represent a
foreign and altogether inexplicable guest in this world of matter,
molecules, and elements. Even if we could follow the play of the nervous
processes with which sensation, consciousness, pain, or pleasure are bound
up, into their most intricate and delicate details, if we could make the
brain transparent, and enlarge its cells to the size of houses, so that,
with searching glance, we could count and observe all the processes, and
even follow the dance of the molecules within it, we should never see
"pain," "pleasure," or "thought," or anything more than bodies and their
movements. A thought, such as, for instance, the perception that two and
two make four, is not long or broad, above or beneath; it cannot be
measured or weighed in inches or pounds like matter, tested with the
manometer, thermometer, or electrometer for its potential or intensity and
tension, measured by amperes or volts or horse-powers like energies and
electric currents; it is something wholly different, which can be known
only through inner experience, but which is much better known than
anything else whatever, and which it is absolutely impossible to compare
with anything but itself. Even if we admit that it can only become actual
and develop as an accompaniment of processes within bodies, and only
within those bodies we call "living," and that wherever bodies exist
psychical phenomena occur; even if we were able, as we never shall be
able, to produce living beings artificially in a retort, and even if
psychical phenomena occurred in these also, we should still have made no
progress towards explaining what the psychical really is. It would still
only be the blazing up in these bodies of a flame which, in some
inexplicable way, had fallen upon them, and associated itself with them.
We do not doubt that this association, where it takes place, does so in
obedience to the strictest law and the most inexorable necessity;
therefore, that wherever and however the corporeal conditions are
produced, sensation and consciousness will awaken. For we believe in a
world governed by law. But the mystery is in no way lessened by this, and
the modern theory of evolution throws no light into this utterly
impenetrable darkness. In the first place, the whole idea of "explaining"
in terms of "evolution" is a futile one. The process of becoming is
pictured as a simple process of cumulation, a gradual increase of
intensities, while the business is really one of change in quality and the
introduction of what is new. In the second place, the occurrence even of
the first and most primitive sensation contains the whole riddle
concentrated on a single point. In the third place, the riddle meets us
anew and undiminished in every developing individual. For to say that the
physical inwardness, once it has arisen, is "transmitted," is not an
explanation but merely an admission that the riddle exists. And the idea
that the psychical is just a penumbra or shadow of reality, which comes of
itself and so to speak gratis, is quite inadmissible from the point of
view of strict natural science. There are no longer luxus and lusus
naturae. Reality cannot throw a "shadow." According to the principles of
the conservation of matter and energy, we must be able to show whence it
gets the so-called shadow, and with what it compensates for it.

Next: Pre-eminence Of Consciousness

Previous: Individual Development

Add to Informational Site Network

Viewed 1541