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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/475

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465
THE MODERN OCCULT.

affect the life of man," and should not renounce his faith by adding, "but it would be foolish to venture beyond our present understanding, foolish to stop eating, until we gain more goodness and a clearer comprehension of the living God." And if he is a mental physician he must be a mental surgeon, too, and not plead that, "Until the advancing age admits the efficacy and supremacy of mind, it is better to leave the adjustment of broken bones and dislocations to the fingers of surgeons." But it is unprofitable to consider the weakness of any occult system in its encounters with actual science and actual fact. It is simply as a real and prominent menace to rationality that these doctrines naturally attract consideration. As illustrations of present-day occult beliefs we are naturally tempted to inquire what measure of (perverted) truth they may contain; but the more worthy question is, How do such perversions come to find so large a company of 'supporting listeners'? For to any one who can read and be convinced by the sequence of words of this system, ordinary logic has no power, and to him the world of reality brings no message. No form of the modern occult antagonizes the foundations of science so brusquely as this one. The possibility of science rests on the thorough and absolute distinction between i,he subjective and the objective. In what measure a man loses the power to draw this distinction clearly and as other men do, in that measure he becomes irrational and insane. The objective exists; and no amount of thinking it away, or thinking it differently, will change it. That is what is understood by ultimate scientific truth; something that will endure unmodified by passing ways of viewing it, open to every one's verification who can come equipped with the proper means to verify—a permanent objective to be ascertained by careful logical inquiry, not to be determined by subjective opinion. Logic is the language of science; Christian Science and what sane men call science can never communicate because they do not speak the same language.

 

It would be unfortunate if in emphasizing the popular preeminence of Christian Science, one were to overlook the significance of the many other forms of 'drugless healing' which bid for public favor by appeal to ignorance and to occult and superstitious instincts. Some are allied to Christian Science and like it assimilate their cult to a religious movement; others are unmistakably the attempts of charlatans to lure the credulous by noisy advertisements of newly discovered and scientifically indorsed systems of 'psychic force,' or some personal 'ism.' For many purposes it would be unjust to group together such various systems, which in the nature of things must include sinner and saint, the misguided sincere, the half-believers who think 'there may be something in it,' or 'that it is worth a trial,' along with scheming quacks and adepts in commercial fraud. They illustrate the many and various roads trav-