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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/481

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THE MODERN OCCULT.

mystery attaching to the behavior of the magnet led Mesmer to call his curative influence 'animal magnetism'—a conception that still prevails among latter-day occultists. The principle of sympathetic vibration, in obedience to which a tuning-fork takes up the vibrations of another in unison with it. is violently transferred to imaginary brain vibrations and to still more imaginary telepathic currents. The X-ray and wireless telegraphy are certain to be utilized in corroboration of unproven modes of mental action, and will be regarded as the key to clairvoyance and rapport, just as well-known electrical phenomena have given rise to the notions of positive and negative temperaments and mediumistic polar attraction and repulsion. All this results from the absurd application of analogies; for analogies even when appropriate are little more than suggestive or at least corroborative of relations or conceptions which owe their main support to other and more sturdy evidence. Analogy under careful supervision may make a useful apprentice, but endless havoc results when the servant plays the part of the master.

No better illustrations could be desired of the effects of mental prepossession and the resulting distortion of evidence and of logical insight, than those afforded by Spiritualism and Christian Science. In both these movements the assimilation of a religious trend has been of inestimable importance to their dissemination. Surely it is not merely or mainly the evidences obtainable in the séance chamber, nor the irresistible accumulation of cures by argument and thought-healings, that account for the organized gatherings of Spiritualists and the costly temples and thriving congregations of Christ Scientist. It is the presentation of a practical doctrine of immortality and of the spiritual nature of disease in conjunction with an accepted religious system, that is responsible for these vast results. The 'Key to the Scriptures' has immeasurably reinforced the 'Science and Health,' and brought believers to a new form of Christianity who never would have been converted to a new system of medicine presented on purely intellectual grounds. Rationality is doubtless a characteristic tendency of humanity, but logicality is an acquired possession and one by no means firmly established in the race at large. So long as we are reproved by the discipline of nature and that rather promptly, we tend to act in accordance with the established relations of things; and that is rationality. But the more remote connections between antecedent and consequent and the development of habits of thought which shall lead to reliable conclusions in complex situations; and again, the ability to distinguish between the plausibile and the true, the firmness to support principle in the face of paradox and seeming non-conformity, to think clearly and consistently in the absence of the practical reproof of nature—that is logicality. It is only as the result of a prolonged and conscientious training aided by an extensive experience and a knowledge of the his-