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H. P. Blavatsky - THE SUBSTANTIAL NATURE OF MAGNETISM
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H. P. Blavatsky
THE SUBSTANTIAL NATURE OF MAGNETISM

MATERIALISTS who arraign the Occultists and Theosophists for believing that every Force (so called) in Nature has at its origin a substantial NOUMENON, an Entity, conscious and intelligent, whether it be a Planetary (Dhyan Chohan) or an Elemental, are advised to fix their attention, first of all, on a far more dangerous body than the one called the Theosophical Society. We mean the Society in the U.S. of America whose members call themselves the Substantialists. We call it dangerous for this reason, that this body, combining in itself dogmatic Church Christianity, i.e., the anthropomorphic
element of the Bible--with sterling Science, makes, nevertheless, the latter subservient in all to the former. This is equivalent to saying, that the new organization, will, in its fanatical dogmatism--if it wins the day--lead on the forthcoming generations to anthropomorphism past redemption. It will achieve this
the more easily in our age of Science-worship, since a show of undeniable learning must help to impart additional strength to belief in a gigantic human god, as their hypotheses, like those of modern materialistic science, may be easily built to answer their particular aim. The educated and thoughtful classes of Society, once set free from ecclesiastical thraldom, could laugh at a St. Augustine`s or a "venerable" Bede`s scientific data, which led them to maintain on the authority and dead letter of what
they regarded as Revelation that our Earth, instead of being a sphere, was flat, hanging under a crystalline canopy studded with shining brass nails and a sun no larger than it appears. But the same classes will be always forced by public opinion into respecting the hypotheses of modern Science--in whatever direction the nature of scientific speculation may lead them. They have been so led for the last century--into crass Materialism; they may be so led again in an opposite direction. The cycle has closed,
and if Science ever falls into the hands of the Opposition--the learned "Reverends" and bigoted Churchmen--the world may find itself gradually approaching the ditch on the opposite side and be landed at no distant future in crass anthropomorphism. Once more the masses will have rejected true philosophy--impartial and unsectarian--and will thus be caught again in new meshes of their own weaving, the fruitage and results of the reaction created by an all-denying age. The solemn ideal of a universal, infinite, all-pervading Noumenon of Spirit, of an impersonal and absolute Deity, will fade out
of the human mind once more, and will make room for the MONSTER-GOD of sectarian nightmares.
Now, modern official science is composed--as at present--of 5 per cent of undeniable axiomatic truths and facts, and of 95 per cent of mere speculation. Furthermore, it has laid itself open to endless attacks, owing to its numerous mutually contradictory hypotheses, each one as scientific, in appearance, as the other. On the other hand, the Substantialists, who rank, as they boast, among their numbers some of the
most eminent men of Science in the United States, have undeniably discovered and accumulated a vast store of facts calculated to upset the modern theories on Force and Matter. And once that their data are
shown correct, in this conflict between (materialistic) Science and (a still more materialistic) Religion--the outcome of the forthcoming battle is not difficult to foresee: modern Science will be floored. The
Substantiality of certain Forces of Nature cannot be denied--for it is a fact in Kosmos. No Energy or Force without Matter, no Matter without Force, Energy or Life--however latent. But this ultimate Matter is--Substance or the Noumenon of matter. Thus, the head of the golden Idol of scientific truth
will fall, because it stands on feet of clay. Such a result would not be anything to be regretted, except for its immediate consequences: the golden Head will remain the same, only its pedestal will be replaced by
one as weak and as much of clay as ever. Instead of resting on Materialism, science will rest on anthropomorphic superstition--if the Substantialists ever gain the day. For, instead of holding to philosophy alone, pursued in a spirit of absolute impartiality, both materialists and adherents of what is
so pompously called the "Philosophy of Substantialism" work on lines traced by preconception and with
a prejudged object; and both stretch their facts on the Procrustean beds of their respective hobbies. It is
facts that have to fit their theories, even at the risk of mutilating the immaculate nature of Truth.
Before presenting the reader with extracts from the work of a Substantialist--those extracts showing
better than would any critical review the true nature of the claims of "The Substantial Philosophy"--we
mean to go no further, as we are really very little concerned with them, and intend to waste no words
over their flaws and pretensions. Nevertheless, as their ideas on the nature of physical Forces and
phenomena are curiously--in some respects only--like the occult doctrines, our intention is to utilize
their arguments--on Magnetism, to begin with. These are unanswerable, and we may thus defeat exact
science by its own methods of observation and weapons. So far, we are only acquainted with the
theories of the Substantialists by their writings. It is possible that, save the wide divergence between our
views on the nature of the "phenomena-producing causes"--as they queerly call physical forces--there
is but little difference in our opinions with regard to the substantial nature of Light, Heat, Electricity,
Magnetism, etc., etc., perhaps only one in the form and terms used. No Theosophist, however, would
agree to such expressions as are used in the New Doctrine: e.g., "If its principles be true, then every
force or form of Energy known to science must be a substantial Entity." For although Dr. Hall`s
proofs with regard to magnetic fluid being something more than "a mode of motion" are irrefutable, still
there are other "forces" which are of quite a different nature. As this paper, however, is devoted to
prove the substantiality of magnetism--whether animal or physical--we will now quote from the
Scientific Arena (July, 1886) the best arguments that have ever appeared against the materialistic
theory of modern Science.
"To admit for one moment that a single force of nature, such as sound, light, or heat, is but the
vibratory motion of matter, whether that material body be highly attenuated as in the case of the
supposed ether, less attenuated as in the case of air, or solid as in the case of a heated bar of iron, is to
give away to the rank claims of materialism the entire analogy of nature and science in favour of a future
life for humanity. And well do the materialistic scientists of this country and Europe know it. And to the
same extent do they fear the spread and general acceptance of the Substantial Philosophy, knowing full
well that the moment the forces of nature shall be recognised and taught by the schools as real
substantial entities, and as soon as the mode-of-motion doctrines of sound, light, heat, etc., shall be
abandoned, that soon will their materialistic occupation have gone for ever. . . .
"Hence, it is the aim of this present paper, after thus reiterating and enforcing the general scope of the
argument as presented last month, to demonstrate force, per se, to be an immaterial substance and in no
sense a motion of material particles. In this way we purpose to show the absolute necessity for Christian
scientists everywhere adopting the broad principles of the Substantial Philosophy, and doing it at once, if
they hope to break down materialistic atheism in this land or logically to defend religion by scientific
analogy, and thus prove the substantial existence of God as well as the probable substantial existence of
the human soul after death. This they now have the privilege of doing successfully, and of thus
triumphantly re-enforcing their scriptural arguments by the concurrent testimony of nature herself.
"We could select any one of several of the physical forms of force as the crucial test of the new
philosophy, or as the touchstone of Substantialism. But to save circumlocution and detail of unnecessary
explanation as much as possible, in this leading and paramount demonstration, we select what no
scientist on earth will question as a representative natural force or so-called form of energy--namely,
magnetism. This force, from the very simple and direct manifestation of its phenomena in displacing
ponderable bodies at a distance from the magnet, and without having any tangible substance connecting
the magnet therewith, is selected for our purpose, since it has well proved the champion physical puzzle
to modern mode-of-motion philosophers, both in this country and in Europe.
"Even to the greatest living physicists, such as Helmholtz, Tyndall, Sir William Thomson, and others, the
mysterious action of magnetism, under any light which modern science can shed upon it, admittedly
affords a problem which has proved to be completely bewildering to their intellects, simply because they
have, unfortunately, never caught a glimpse of the basic principles of the Substantial Philosophy which
so clearly unravels the mystery. In the light of these principles such a thinker as Sir William Thomson,
instead of teaching, as he did in his opening address on the five senses before the Midland Institute, at
Birmingham, England, that magnetism was but the molecular motion, or as he expressed it, but the
`quality of matter` or the `rotation of the molecules` of the magnet, would have seen at a glance the utter
want of any relation, as cause to effect, between such moving molecules in the magnet (provided they
do move), and the lifting of the mass of iron at a distance.
"It is passing strange that men so intelligent as Sir William Thomson and Professor Tyndall had not long
ago reached the conclusion that magnetism must of necessity be a substantial thing, however invisible or
intangible, when it thus stretches out its mechanical but invisible fingers to a distance from the magnet
and pulls or pushes an inert piece of metal! That they have not seen the absolute necessity for such a
conclusion, as the only conceivable explanation of the mechanical effects produced, and the manifest
inconsistency of any other supposition, is one of the astounding results of the confusing and blinding
influence of the present false theories of science upon otherwise logical and profound intellects. And that
such men could be satisfied in supposing that the minute and local vibrations of the molecules and atoms
of the magnet (necessarily limited to the dimensions of the steel itself) could by any possibility reach out
to a distance beyond it and thus pull or push a bar of metal, overcoming its inertia, tempts one to lose all
respect for the sagacity and profundity of the intellects of these great names in science. At all events,
such manifest want of perspicacity in modern physicists appeals in a warning voice of thunder tones to
rising young men of this country and Europe to think for themselves in matters pertaining to science and
philosophy, and to accept nothing on trust simply because it happens to be set forth or approved by
some great name.
"Another most remarkable anomaly in the case of the physicists to whom we have here referred is this:
while failing to see the unavoidable necessity of an actual substance of some kind going forth from the
poles of the magnet and connecting with the piece of iron by which to lift it and thus accomplish a
physical result, that could have been effected in no other way, they are quick to accept the agency of an
all-pervading ether (a substance not needed at all in nature) by which to produce light on this earth as
mere motion. and thus make it conform to the supposed sound-waves in the air! In this way, by the
sheer invention of a not-needed material substance, they have sought to convert not only light, heat, and
magnetism, but all the other forces of nature into modes of motion, and for no reason except that
sound had been mistaken as a mode of motion by previous scientists. And strange to state,
notwithstanding this supposed ether is as intangible to any of our senses, and just as unrecognised by
any process known to chemistry or mechanics as is the substance which of necessity must pass out from
the poles of the magnet to seize and lift the bar of iron, yet physicists cheerfully accept the former, for
which no scientific necessity on earth or in heaven exists, while they stolidly refuse to recognise the
latter, though absolutely needed to accomplish the results observed! Was ever such inconsistency
before witnessed in a scientific theory?
"Let us scrutinize this matter a little further before leaving it. If the mere `rotation of molecules` in the steel
magnet can produce a mechanical effect on a piece of iron at a distance, even through a vacuum, as Sir
William Thomson asserts, why may not the rotation of the molecules of the sun cause light at a distance
without the intervening space being filled up with a jelly-like material substance, of `enormous rigidity,` to
be thrown into waves? It must strike every mind capable of thinking scientifically that the original
invention of an all-pervading `material,` `rigid,` and `inert` ether, as the essential cause of light at a distance
from a luminous body, was one of the most useless expenditures of mechanical ingenuity which the
human brain ever perpetrated--that is, if there is the slightest truth in the teaching of Sir William
Thomson that the mere `rotation of molecules` in the magnet will lift a distant bar of iron. Why cannot the
rotation of the sun`s molecules just as easily produce light at a distance?
"Should it be assumed in sheer desperation by the mode-of motion philosophers that it is the ether filling
the space between the magnet and the piece of iron, which is thrown into vibration by the rotating
molecules of the steel, and which thus lifts the distant iron, it would only be to make bad worse. If
material vibration in the steel magnet, which is wholly unobservable, is communicated to the distant bar
through a material substance and its vibratory motions, which are equally unobservable, is it not plain
that their effects on the distant bar should be of the same mechanical character, namely, unobservable?
Instead of this the iron is lifted bodily and seen plainly, and that without any observed tremor, as if done
by a vibrating `jelly` such as ether is claimed to be! Besides, such bodily lifting of a ponderable mass is
utterly incongruous with mere tremor, however powerful and observable such tremor or vibration might
be, according to every principle known to mechanics. Common sense ought to assure any man that
mere vibration or tremor, however powerful and sensible, can pull or push nothing. It is impossible to
conceive of the accomplishment of such a result except by some substantial agent reaching out from the
magnet, seizing the iron, and forcibly pulling and thus displacing it. As well talk of pulling a boat to the
shore without some rope or other substantial thing connecting you with the boat. Even Sir William
Thomson would not claim that the boat could be pulled by getting up a molecular vibration of the shore,
or even by producing a visible tremor in the water, as Dr. Hamlin so logically shewed in his recent
masterly paper on Force. (See Microsm, Vol. V., p. 98).
"It is well known that a magnet will lift a piece of iron at the same distance precisely through sheets of
glass as if no glass intervened. The confirmed atheist Mr. Smith, of Cincinnati, Ohio, to whom we
referred in our papers on Substantialism, in the Microcosm (Vol. III, pages 278,311), was utterly
confounded by this exhibition of the substantial force of magnetism acting at a distance through
impervious plates of glass. When we placed a quantity of needles and tacks on the plate and passed the
poles of the magnet beneath it, causing them to move with the magnet, he saw for the first time in his life
the operation of a real substance, exerting a mechanical effect in displacing ponderable bodies of metal
in defiance of all material conditions, and with no possible material connection or free passage between
the source and termination of such substantial agency. And he asked in exclamation, if this be so, may
there not be a substantial, intelligent, and immaterial God, and may I not have a substantial but
immaterial soul which can live separately from my body after it is dead?
"He then raised the query, asking if we were certain that it was not the invisible pores of the glass plate
through which the magnetic force found its way, and therefore whether this force might not be a refined
form of matter after all? He then assisted us in filling the plate with boiled water, on which to float a card
with needles placed thereon, thus to interpose between them and the magnet the most imporous of all
known bodies. But it made not the slightest difference, the card with its cargo of needles moving hither
and thither as the magnet was moved beneath both plates and water. This was sufficient even for that
most critical but candid materialist, and he confessed that there were substantial but immaterial entities in
his atheistic philosophy.
"Here, then, is the conclusive argument by which we demonstrate that magnetism, one of the forces of
nature, and a fair representative of all the natural forces, is not only a real, substantial entity, but an
absolutely immaterial substance:l thus justifying our original classification of the entities of the universe
into material and immaterial substances.
"1. If magnetism were not a real substance, it could not lift a piece of metal bodily at a distance from the
magnet, any more than our hand could lift a weight from the floor without some substantial connection
between the two. It is a self-evident truism as an axiom in mechanics, that no body can move or
displace another body at a distance without a real, substantial medium connecting the two through which
the result is accomplished, otherwise it would be a mechanical effect without a cause--a self-evident
absurdity in philosophy. Hence, the force of magnetism is a real, substantial entity.
"2. If magnetism were not an immaterial substance, then any practically imporous body intervening
between the magnet and the attracted object would, to some extent at least, impede the passage of the
magnetic current, which it does not do. If magnetism were a very refined or attenuated form of matter,
and if it thus depended for its passage through other material bodies upon their imperceptible pores
then, manifestly, some difference in the freedom of its passage, and in the consequent attractive force of
the distant magnet should result by great difference in the porosity of the different bodies tested, as
would be the case, for example, in forcing wind through wire-netting having larger or smaller interstices,
and consequently offering greater or less resistance. Whereas in the case of this magnetic substance, no
difference whatever results in the energy of its mechanical pull on a distant piece of iron, however many
or few of the practically imperious sheets of glass, rubber, or whatever other material body be made to
intervene, or if no substance whatever but the air is interposed, or if the test be made in a perfect
vacuum. The pull is always with precisely the same force, and will move the suspended piece of iron at
the same distance away from it in each and every case, however refined and delicate may be the
instruments by which the tests are measured."
The above quoted passages are positively unanswerable. As far as magnetic force, or fluid, is
concerned the Substantialists have most undeniably made out their case; and their triumph will be hailed
with joy by every Occultist. It is impossible to see, indeed, how the phenomena of magnetism--whether
terrestrial or animal--can be explained otherwise than by admitting a material, or substantial magnetic
fluid. This, even some of the Scientists do not deny--Helmholtz believing that electricity must be as
atomic as matter--which it is (Helmholtz, "Faraday Lecture"). And, unless Science is prepared to
divorce force from matter, we do not see how it can support its position much longer.
But we are not at all so sure about certain other Forces--so far as their effects are concerned--and
Esoteric philosophy would find an easy objection to every assumption of the Substantialists--e.g., with
regard to sound. As the day is dawning when the new theory is sure to array itself against Occultism, it
is as well, perhaps, to anticipate the objections and dispose of them at once.
The expression "immaterial Substance" used above in connection with magnetism is a very strange one,
and moreover, it is self-contradictory. If, instead of saying that "magnetism . . . is not only a real
substantial entity but an absolutely immaterial substance," the writer should have applied this
definition to light, sound or any other force in its effects, we would have nothing to say, except to
remark that the adjective "supersensuous" would have been more applicable to any force than the word
"immaterial." But to say this of the magnetic fluid is wrong, as it is an essence which is quite perceptible to any clairvoyant, whether in darkness--as
in the case of odic emanations--or in light--when animal magnetism is practised. Being then a fluid in a supersensuous state, still matter, it cannot be
"immaterial," and the expression becomes at once as illogical as it is sophistical. With regard to the other forces--if by "immaterial" is meant only that
which is objective, but beyond the range of our present normal perceptions or senses, well and good; but then whatever Substantialists may mean by it, we
Occultists and Theosophists demur to the form in which they put it. Substance, we are told in philosophical dictionaries and encyclopedias, is that which
underlies outward phenomena; substratum; the permanent subject or cause of phenomena, whether material or spiritual; that in which properties inhere; that
which is real in distinction from that which is only apparent--especially in this world of maya. It is in short--real, and the one real Essence. But the Occult
sciences, while calling Substance the noumenon of every material form, explain that noumenon as being still matter--only on another plane. That which is
noumenon to our human perceptions is matter to those of a Dhyan Chohan. As explained by our learned Vedantin Brother--T. Subba Row--Mulaprakriti,
the first universal aspect of Parabrahma, its Kosmic Veil, and whose essence, to us, is unthinkable, is to the LOGOS "as material as any object is material
to us" (Notes on Bhag. Gita). Hence--no Occultist would describe Substance as "immaterial" in esse.
Substance is a confusing term, in any case. We may call our body, or an ape, or a stone, as well as any kind of fabric--"substantial." Therefore, we call
"Essence" rather, the material of the bodies of those Entities--the supersensuous Beings, in whom we believe, and who do exist, but whom Science and its
admirers regard as superstitious nonsense, calling fictions alike a "personal" god and the angels of the Christians, as they would our Dhyan Chohans, or
the Devas, "Planetary Men," Genii, etc., etc., of the Kabalists and Occultists. But the latter would never dream of calling the phenomena of Light, Sound,
Heat, Cohesion, etc.--"Entities," as the Substantialists do. They would define those Forces as purely immaterial perceptive effects--without, of substantial
and essential CAUSES--Within: at the ultimate end of which, or at the origin, stands an ENTITY, the essence of the latter changing with that of the
Element3 it belongs to. (See "Monads, Gods, and Atoms" of Volume I "Secret Doctrine," Book II.) Nor can the Soul be confused with FORCES, which
are on quite another plane of perception. It shocks, therefore, a Theosophist to find the Substantialists so unphilosophically including Soul among the
Forces.
Having--as he tells his readers--"laid the foundation of our argument in the clearly defined analogies of Nature," the editor of the Scientific Arena, in an
article called "The Scientific Evidence of a Future Life," proceeds as follows:
"If the principles of Substantialism be true, then, as there shown, every force or form of energy known to science must be a substantial entity. We further
endeavoured to show that if one form of force were conclusively demonstrated to be a substantial or objective existence, it would be a clear departure from
reason and consistency not to assume all the forces or phenomena-producing causes in nature also to be substantial entities. But if one form of physical
force, or one single phenomenon-producing cause, such as heat, light, or sound, could be clearly shown to be the mere motion of material particles, and not
a substantial entity or thing, then by rational analogy and the harmonious uniformity of nature`s laws, all the other forces or phenomena-producing causes,
whether physical, vital, mental or spiritual, must come within the same category as nonentitative modes of motion of material particles. Hence it would
follow in such case, that the soul, life, mind, or spirit, so far from being a substantial entity which can form the basis of a hope for an immortal existence
beyond the present life, must, according to materialism, and as the mere motion of brain and nerve particles, cease to exist whenever such physical particles
shall cease to move at death."
SPIRIT--a "substantial Entity"!! Surely Substantialism cannot pretend very seriously to the title of philosophy--in such case. But let us read the arguments
to the end. Here we find a just and righteous attack on Materialism wound up with the same unphilosophical assertion! . . .
"From the foregoing statement of the salient positions of materialistic science, as they bear against the existence of the soul after death, we drew the logical
conclusion that no Christian philosopher who accepts the current doctrines of sound, light and heat as but modes of molecular motion, can ever answer the
analogical reasoning of the materialist against the immortality of man. No possible view, as we have so often insisted, can make the least headway against
such materialistic reasoning or frame any reply to this great argument of Haeckel and Huxley against the soul as an entity and its possible existence separate
from the body, save the teaching of Substantialism, which so consistently maintains that the soul, life, mind and spirit are necessarily substantial forces or
entities from the analogies of physical science, namely, the substantial nature of all the physical forces, including gravity, electricity, magnetism,
cohesion, sound, light, heat, etc.
"This impregnable position of the Substantialist from logical analogy, based on the harmonious uniformity of nature`s laws and forces, forms the bulwark of
the Substantial Philosophy, and must in the nature of things for ever constitute the strong tower of that system of teaching. If the edifice of Substantialism,
thus founded and fortified, can be taken and sacked by the forces of Materialism, then our labours for so many years have manifestly come to naught. Say, if
you please, that the armies of Substantialism are thus burning the bridges behind them. So be it. We prefer death to either surrender or retreat; for if this
fundamental position cannot be maintained against the combined forces of the enemy, then all is lost, Materialism has gained the day, and death is the
eternal annihilation of the human race. Within this central citadel of principles, therefore, we have intrenched ourselves to survive or perish, and here,
encircled by this wall of adamant, we have stored all our treasures and munitions of war, and if the agnostic hordes of materialistic science wish to possess
them, let them train upon it their heaviest artillery. . . .
"How strange, then, when materialists themselves recognize the desperateness of their situation, and so readily grasp the true bearing of this analogical
argument based on the substantial nature of the physical forces, that we should be obliged to reason with professed Substantialists, giving them argument
upon argument in order to prove to them that they are no Substantialists at all, in the true sense of that term, so long as they leave one single force of
nature or one single phenomenon-producing cause in nature, out of the category of substantial entities!
"One minister of our acquaintance speaks glowingly of the ultimate success of the Substantial Philosophy, and proudly calls himself a Substantialist, but
refuses to include sound among the substantial forces and entities, thus virtually accepting the wave-theory! In the name of all logical consistency, what
could that minister say in reply to another `Substantialist` who would insist upon the beauty and truth of Substantialism, but who could not include light?
And then another who could not include heat, or electricity, or magnetism, or gravity? Yet all of them good `Substantialists` on the very same principle as
is the one who leaves sound out of the substantial category, while still claiming to be an orthodox Substantialist! Why should they not leave life-force and
mind-force and spirit-force out of the list of entities, thus making them, like sound-force (as materialists insist), but the vibration of material particles, and
still claim the right to call themselves good Substantialists? Haeckel and Huxley would then be duly qualified candidates for baptism into the church of
Substantialism.
"The truth is, the minister who can admit for one moment that sound consists of but the motion of air-particles, and thus, that it is not a substantial entity,
is a materialist at bottom, though he may not be conscious of the logical maelstrom that is whirling him to scientific destruction. We have all heard of the
play of `Hamlet,` with the Prince of Denmark left out. Such would be the scientific play of Substantialism with the sound question ignored, and the theory
of acoustics handed over to Materialism. (See our editorial on `The Meaning of the Sound Discussion,` The Microcosm, Vol. V., p. 197.)"
We sympathize with the "Minister" who refuses to include Sound among "Substantial Entities." We believe in FOHAT, but would hardly refer to his
Voice and Emanations as "Entities," though they are produced by an electric shock of atoms and repercussions producing both Sound and Light. Science
would accept no more our Fohat than the Sound or Light-Entities of the "Substantial Philosophy"(?). But we have this satisfaction, at any rate, that, once
thoroughly explained, Fohat will prove more philosophical than either the materialistic or substantial theories of the forces of nature.
How can anyone with pretensions to both a scientific and psychological mind, speaking of Soul and especially of Spirit, place them on the same level as
the physical phenomena of nature, and this, in a language one can apply only to physical facts! Even Professor Bain, "a monistic ANNIHILATIONIST," as
he is called, confesses that "mental and bodily states are utterly contrasted."4
Thus, the direct conclusion the Occultists and the Theosophists can come to at any rate on the prima facie evidence furnished them by writings which no
philosophy can now rebut, is--that Substantial Philosophy, which was brought forth into this world to fight materialistic science and to slay it, surpasses it
immeasurably in Materialism. No Bain, no Huxley, nor even Haeckel, has ever confused to this degree mental and physical phenomena. At the same time
the "apostles of Materialism" are on a higher plane of philosophy than their opponents. For, the charge preferred against them of teaching that Soul is "the
mere motion of brain and nerve particles" is untrue, for they never did so teach. But, even supposing such would be their theory, it would only be in
accordance with Substantialism, since the latter assures us that Soul and Spirit, as much as all "the phenomena-producing causes" (?) whether physical,
mental, or spiritual--if not regarded as SUBSTANTIAL ENTITIES--"must come within the same category as non-entitative (?) modes of motion of
material particles."
All this is not only painfully vague, but is almost meaningless. The inference that the acceptance of the received scientific theories on light, sound and
heat, etc., would be equivalent to accepting the soul motion of molecules--is certainly hardly worth discussion. It is quite true that some thirty or forty
years ago Buchner and Moleschott attempted to prove that sensation and thought are a movement of matter. But this has been pronounced by a well-known
English Annihilationist "unworthy of the name of `philosophy`." Not one man of real scientific reputation or of any eminence, not Tyndall, Huxley,
Maudsley, Clifford, Bain, Spencer nor Lewis, in England, nor Virchow, nor Haeckel in Germany, has ever gone so far as to say:--"Thought IS a motion of
molecules." Their only quarrel with the believers in a soul was and is, that while the latter maintain that soul is the cause of thought, they (the Scientists)
assert that thought is the concomitant of certain physical processes in the brain. Nor have they ever said (the real scientists and philosophers, however
materialistic) that thought and nervous motion are the same, but that they are "the subjective and objective sides of the same thing."
John Stuart Mill is a good authority and an example to quote, and thus deny the charge. For, speaking of the rough and rude method of attempting to
resolve sensation into nervous motion (taking as his example the case of the nerve-vibrations to the brain which are the physical side of the light
perception), "at the end of all these motions, there is something which is not motion--there is a feeling or sensation of colour" . . . he says. Hence, it is
quite true to say, that "the subjective feeling" here spoken of by Mill will outlive even the acceptance of the undulatory theory of light, or heat, as a mode
of motion. For the latter is based on a physical speculation and the former is built on everlasting philosophy--however imperfect, because so tainted with
Materialism.
Our quarrel with the Materialists is not so much for their soulless Forces, as for their denying the existence of any "Force-bearer," the Noumenon of Light,
Electricity, etc. To accuse them of not making a difference between mental and physical phenomena is equal to proclaiming oneself ignorant of their
theories. The most famous Negationists are to-day the first to admit that SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS and MOTION "are at the opposite poles of existence."
That which remains to be settled between us and the materialistic IDEALISTS--a living paradox by the way, now personified by the most eminent writers
on Idealistic philosophy in England--is the question whether that consciousness is only experienced in connection with organic molecules of the brain or
not. We say it is the thought or mind which sets the molecules of the physical brain in motion; they deny any existence to mind, independent of the brain.
But even they do not call the seat of the mind "a molecular fabric," but only that it is "the mind-principle"--the seat or the organic basis of the manifesting
mind. That such is the real attitude of materialistic science may be demonstrated by reminding the reader of Mr. Tyndall`s confessions in his Fragments of
Science, for since the days of his discussions with Dr. Martineau, the attitude of the Materialists has not changed. This attitude remains unaltered, unless,
indeed, we place the Hylo-ldealists on the same level as Mr. Tyndall--which would be absurd. Treating of the phenomenon of Consciousness, the great
physicist quotes this question from Mr. Martineau: "A man can say `I feel, I think, I love`; but how does consciousness infuse itself into the problem?"
And he thus answers: "The passage from the physics of the brain to the corresponding facts of consciousness is unthinkable. Granted that a definite thought
and a molecular action in the brain occur simultaneously; we do not possess the intellectual organ, nor apparently any rudiments of the organ, which would
enable us to pass by a process of reasoning from one to the other. They appear together, but we do not know why. Were our minds and senses so expanded,
strengthened and illuminated, as to enable us to see and feel the very molecules of the brain; were we capable of following all their motions, all their
groupings, all their electric discharges, if such there be; and were we intimately acquainted with the corresponding states of thought and feeling, we should
be as far as ever from the solution of the problem, `How are these physical processes connected with the facts of consciousness?` The chasm between the two
classes of phenomena would still remain intellectually impassable."
Thus, there appears to be far less disagreement between the Occultists and modern Science than between the former and the Substantialists. The latter
confuse most hopelessly the subjective with the objective phases of all phenomena, and the Scientists do not, withstanding that they limit the subjective to
the earthly or terrestrial phenomena only. In this they have chosen the Cartesian method with regard to atoms and molecules; we hold to the ancient and
primitive philosophical beliefs, so intuitively perceived by Leibnitz. Our system can thus be called, as his was--"Spiritualistic and Atomistic."
Substantialists speak with great scorn of the vibratory theory of science. But, until able to prove that their views would explain the phenomena as well,
filling, moreover, the actual gaps and flaws in the modern hypotheses, they have hardly the right to use such a tone. As all such theories and speculations
are only provisional, we may well leave them alone. Science has made wonderful discoveries on the objective side of all the physical phenomena. Where it
is really wrong is, when it perceives in matter alone--i.e., in that matter which is known to it--the alpha and the omega of all phenomena. To reject the
scientific theory, however, of vibrations in light and sound, is to court as much ridicule as the scientists do in rejecting physical and objective spiritualistic
phenomena by attributing them all to fraud. Science has ascertained and proved the exact rapidity with which the sound-waves travel, and it has artificially
imitated--on the data of transmission of sound by those waves--the human voice and other acoustic phenomena. The sensation of sound--the response of the
sensory tract to an objective stimulus (atmospheric vibrations) is an affair of consciousness: and to call sound an "Entity" on this plane, is to objectivate
most ridiculously a subjective phenomenon which is but an effect after all--the lower end of a concatenation of causes. If Materialism locates all in objective
matter and fails to see the origin and primary causes of the Forces--so much the worse for the materialists; for it only shows the limitations of their own
capacities of hearing and seeing--limitations which Huxley, for one, recognizes, for he is unable on his own confession to define the boundaries of our
senses, and still asserts his materialistic tendency by locating sounds only in cells of matter, and on our sensuous plane. Behold, the great Biologist
dwarfing our senses and curtailing the powers of man and nature in his usual ultra-poetical language. Hear him (as quoted by Sterling "Concerning
Protoplasm") speak of "the wonderful noonday silence of a tropical forest," which "is after all due only to the dullness of our hearing, and could our ears
only catch the murmurs of these tiny maelstroms as they whirl in the innumerable myriads of living cells which constitute each tree, we should be stunned
as with the roar of a great city."
The telephone and the phonograph, moreover, are there to upset any theory except the vibratory one--however materialistically expressed. Hence, the
attempt of the Substantialists "to show the fallacy of the wave-theory of sound as universally taught, and to outline the substantial theory of acoustics,"
cannot be successful. If they shew that sound is not a mode of motion in its origin and that the forces are not merely the qualities and property of matter
induced or generated in, by and through matter, under certain conditions--they will have achieved a great triumph. But, whether as substance, matter or
effect, sound and light can never be divorced from their modes of manifesting through vibrations--as the whole subjective or occult nature is one everlasting
perpetual motion of VORTICAL vibrations.

H.P.B.
Lucifer, September, 1891
1 This is a very wrong word to use. See text.--H.P.B.
2 The use of the terms "matter, or substance existing in supersensuous conditions" or, "supersensuous states of matter" would avoid an outburst of fierce
but just criticism not only from men of Science, but from any ordinary well educated man who knows the value of terms.
3 Useless to remind again the leader, that by Elements it is not the compound air, water and earth, that exist present to our terrestrial and sensuous
perceptions that are meant--but the noumenal Elements of the ancients.
4 The Substantialists call, moreover, Spirit that which we call mind--(Manas), and thus it is Soul which takes with them the place of ATMA; in short
they confuse the vehicle with the Driver inside.

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