Carmen Ariza Part 151
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After a brief explanation to the doctor of the purpose of the meeting, and a short resume of their previous deductions, Father Waite continued the exposition of his subject.
"The physical universe," he said, "is to human beings a reality. And yet, according to Spencer's definition of reality, we must admit that the universe as we see it is quite unreal. For the real is that which endures."
"And you mean to say that the universe will not endure?" queried Haynerd abruptly.
"I do," replied Father Waite. "The phenomena of the universe, even as we see it, are in a state of ceaseless change. Birth, growth, maturity, decay, and death seems to be the law for all things material. There is perpetual genesis, and perpetual exodus."
"But," again urged Haynerd, "matter itself remains, is indestructible."
"Not so," said Father Waite. "Our friend, Doctor Morton, will corroborate my statement, I am sure."
The doctor nodded. "It is quite true," he said in reply. "And as revolutionary as true. The discovery, in the past few years, of the tremendously important fact that matter disintegrates and actually disappears, has revolutionized all physical science and rendered the world's text books obsolete."
"And matter actually disappears?" echoed Miss Wall incredulously.
"Absolutely!" interposed Hitt. "The radium atom, we find, lasts some seventeen hundred years, or a trifle longer. What becomes of it when it is destroyed? We can only say that it disappears from human consciousness."
"And so you reason that the whole material universe will ultimately disappear from the human consciousness?"
"Yes," returned Hitt, "I feel certain of it. Let us consider of what the universe consists. For many months I have been pondering this topic incessantly. I find that I can agree, in a measure, with those scientists who regard the physical universe as composed of only a few elementary const.i.tuents, namely, matter, energy, s.p.a.ce, and time--"
"Each one of these elements is mental," interrupted Carmen.
"Exactly!" replied Hitt. "And the physical universe, even from the human standpoint, is, therefore, wholly mental."
"Well, but we see it!" e.j.a.c.u.l.a.t.ed Haynerd. "And we feel and hear it!
And I'm sure we smell it!"
Hitt laughed. "Do we?" he asked.
"No," interposed Father Waite; "we see only our mental concept of a universe, for seeing is wholly a mental process. Our comprehension of anything is entirely mental."
"But now," resumed Hitt, "to get back to the supposed reality of the physical universe, let us examine its const.i.tuents. First, let us consider its unity established by the harmonious interplay of the forces permeating it. This great fact is what led Herbert Spencer to conclude that the universe could have but one creator, one ruler, and that polytheism was untenable."
"We are quite agreed regarding that," said Father Waite. "If the Creator is mind, He is of very necessity infinite and omnipotent; hence there can be but one Creator."
"Very well," continued Hitt. "Now as to time. Is it material or tangible? Would it exist, but as a convenience for the human mind? Is it not really a creation of that mind? And, lastly, is it not merely a mental concept?"
"Our consciousness of time," replied Carmen, "is only our awareness of a continuous series of mental states."
"That cla.s.sifies it exactly," said Hitt, "and renders it wholly mental. And now as to s.p.a.ce," he resumed. "We are accustomed to say, loosely, that s.p.a.ce is that in which we see things about us. But in what does the process of seeing consist? I say, I see a chair. What I really mean is that I am conscious of a chair. The process of seeing, we are told, is this: light, coming from the chair, enters the eye and casts an image of the chair upon the retina, much as a picture is thrown upon the ground gla.s.s of a camera. Then, in some way, the little rods and cones--the branching tips of the optic nerve which project from the retina--are set in motion by the light-waves. This vibration is in some mysterious manner carried along the optic nerve to a center in the brain, and--well, then the mind becomes cognizant of the chair out there, that's all."
They sat silent for some moments. Then Miss Wall spoke. "Do you mean to say," she queried, "that, after thousands of years of thought and investigation, mankind now know nothing more than that about the process of seeing?"
"I do," returned Hitt. "I confess it in all humility."
"Then all I've got to say," put in Haynerd, "is that the most remarkable thing about you learned men is your ignorance!"
The doctor smiled. "I find it is only the fool who is c.o.c.ksure," he replied.
"Now," said Hitt, resuming the conversation, "let us go a step further and inquire, first, What is light? since the process of seeing is absolutely dependent upon it."
"Light," offered the doctor, "is vibrations, or wave-motion, so physicists tell us."
"Just so," resumed Hitt. "Light, we say, consists of vibrations. Not vibrations of anything tangible or definitely material, but--well, just vibrations in the abstract. It is vibratory or wave motion. Now let us concede that these vibrations in some way get to the brain center; and then let us ask, Is the mind there, in the brain, awaiting the arrival of these vibrations to inform it that there is a chair outside?"
Haynerd indulged in a cynical laugh.
"It is too serious for laughter, my friend," said Hitt. "For to such crude beliefs as this we may attribute all the miseries of mankind."
"How is that?" queried Miss Wall in surprise.
"Simply because these beliefs const.i.tute the general belief in a universe of matter without and about us. As a plain statement of fact, _there is no such thing_. But, I ask again, Is the mind within the brain, waiting for vibrations that will give it information concerning the external world? Or does the mind, from some focal point without the brain, look first at these vibrations, and then translate them into terms of things without? Do these vibrations in some way suggest form and color and substance to the waiting mind? Does the mind first look at vibrating nerve-points, and then form its own opinions regarding material objects? Does anything material enter the eye?"
"No," admitted the doctor; "unless we believe that vibrations _per se_ are material."
"Now I ask, Is the mind reduced to such slavery that it must depend upon vibrations for its knowledge of an outside world?" continued Hitt. "And vibrations of minute pieces of flesh, at that! Flesh that will some day decay and leave the mind helpless!"
"Absurd!" exclaimed Haynerd. "Why doesn't the mind look directly at the chair, instead of getting its knowledge of the chair through vibrations of bits of meat? Or isn't there any chair out there to look at?"
"There!" exclaimed Hitt. "Now you've put your mental finger upon it.
And now we are ready to nail to the cross of ignominy one of the crudest, most insensate beliefs of the human race. _The human mind gets nothing whatsoever from vibrations, from the human, fleshly eye, nor from any one of the five so-called physical senses!_ The physical sense-testimony which mankind believe they receive from the eyes, the ears, and the other sense organs, can, even at best, consist only of a lot of disconnected, unintelligible vibrations; and anything that the mind may infer from such vibrations is inferred _without any outside authority whatsoever!"_
"Well!" e.j.a.c.u.l.a.t.ed Miss Wall and Haynerd in a breath.
"And, further," continued Hitt, "we are forced to admit that all that the mind knows is the contents of itself, of its own consciousness, and nothing more. Then, instead of seeing, hearing, and feeling real material objects outside of ourselves, we are in reality seeing, hearing, and feeling our own mental concepts of things--in other words, _our own thoughts of things!"_
A deep silence lay for some moments over the little group at the conclusion of Hitt's words. Then Doctor Morton nodded his acquiescence in the deduction. "And that," he said, "effectually disposes of the question of s.p.a.ce."
"There is no s.p.a.ce, Doctor," replied Hitt. "s.p.a.ce is likewise a mental concept. The human mind sees, hears, and feels nothing but its own thoughts. These it posits within itself with reference to one another, and calls the process 'seeing material objects in s.p.a.ce.' The mind as little needs a s.p.a.ce in which to see things as in which to dream them.
I repeat, we do not see external things, or things outside of ourselves. We see always and only the thoughts that are within our own mentalities. Everything is within."
"That's why," murmured Carmen, "Jesus said, 'The kingdom of heaven is within you.'"
"Exactly!" said Hitt. "Did he not call evil, and all that originates in matter, the lie about G.o.d? And a lie is wholly mental. I tell you, the existence of a world outside of ourselves, an objective world composed of matter, is wholly inferred--it is mental visualizing--and it is unreal, for it is not based upon fact, upon truth!"
"Then," queried Haynerd, "our supposed 'outer world' is but our collection of thought-concepts which we hold within us, within our own consciousness, eh?"
"But--the question of G.o.d?"
"We are ready for that again," replied Hitt. "We have said that in the physical universe all is in a state of incessant change. Since the physical universe is but a mental concept to each one of us, we must admit that, were the concept based upon truth, it would not change.
Our concept of the universe must be without the real causative and sustaining principle of all reality, else would it not pa.s.s away. And yet, beneath and behind all these changes, _something_ endures. What is it? Matter? No. There is an enduring substance, invisible to human sight, but felt and known through its own influence. Is it law? Yes.
Mind? Yes. Ideas? Yes. But none of these things is in any sense material. The material is the fleeting, human concept, composed of thought that is _not_ based upon reality. These other things, wholly mental, or spiritual, if you prefer, are based upon that 'something'
which does endure, and which I will call the Causative Principle. It is the Universal Mind. It is what you loosely call G.o.d."
"Then did G.o.d make matter?" persisted Haynerd.
Carmen Ariza Part 151
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Carmen Ariza Part 151 summary
You're reading Carmen Ariza Part 151. This novel has been translated by Updating. Author: Charles Francis Stocking already has 319 views.
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