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This dissertation on the sphinx riddle is by Maurice Maeterlinck, the celebrated Belgian playwright, and mystic, entitled "The Light Beyond". The translation is by A. T. de Mattos. A beautiful collection of selected essays on the future life and the occult, illustrating the later stages of Maeterlinck's quest of the Unknown. Everything that the Belgian symbolist touches is invested with poetical feeling and insight. He never writes a dull page. His poetical imagination would lift him into the realms of light and life, but his logical mind drags him down to earth. He is sufficiently scientific to express himself with caution regarding the Unknown. Speaking of survival after the change called death, he seems to favor the theory of a modified or progressive consciousness. He rejects annihilation. He says:

"The theory of a modified consciousness does not necessitate the loss of the tiny consciousness acquired in our body; but it makes it almost negligible, flings, drowns and dissolves it in infinity. It is of course impossible to support this theory with satisfactory proofs; but it is not easy to shatter it like the others. Were it permissible to speak of likeness to truth in this connection, when our only truth is that we do not see the truth, it is the most likely of the interim theories and gives a magnificent opening for the most plausible, varied and alluring dreams. Will our ego, our soul, our spirit, or whatever we call that which will survive us in order to continue us as we are, will it find again, on leaving the body, the innumerable lives which it must have lived since the thousands of years that had no beginning? Will it continue to increase by assimilating all that it meets in infinity during the thousands of years that will have no end? Will it linger for a time around our earth, leading, in regions invisible to our eyes, an ever higher and happier existence, as the theosophists and spiritualists contend? Will it move towards other planetary systems, will it emigrate to other worlds, whose existence is not even suspected by our senses? Everything seems permissible in this great dream, save that which might arrest its flight."

The third essay in this notable volume is devoted to "Communications with the Dead," and is a brief resume of all that has been accomplished by workers in the field of psychical research. What are Maeterlinck's conclusions on the subject of alleged spirit communications? He says:

Must we, with Myers, Newbold, Hyslop, Hodgson and many others, who studied this problem at length, conclude in favor of the incontestable agency of forces and intelligences returning from the farther bank of the great river which it was deemed that none might cross. Must we acknowledge with them that there are cases ever more numerous which make it impossible for us to hesitate any longer between the telepathic theory and the spiritualistic theory? I do not think so. I have no prejudices—what were the use of having any, in these mysteries?—no reluctance to admit the survival and the intervention of the dead; but it is wise and necessary, before leaving the terrestrial plane, to exhaust all the suppositions, all the explanations there to be discovered. We have to make our choice between two manifestations of the unknown, two miracles, if you prefer, whereof one is situated in the world which we inhabit and the other in a region which, rightly or wrongly, we believe to be separated from us by nameless spaces which no human being, alive or dead, has crossed to this day. It is natural, therefore, that we should stay in our own world, as long as it gives us a foothold, as long as we are not pitilessly expelled from it by a series of irresistible and irrefutable facts issuing from the adjoining abyss. The survival of a spirit is no more improbable than the prodigious faculties which we are obliged to attribute to the mediums if we deny them to the dead; but the existence of the medium, contrary to that of the spirit, is unquestionable; and therefore it is for the spirit, or for those who make use of its name, first to prove that it exists.

Do the extraordinary phenomena of which we know—transmission of thought from one subconscious mind to another, perception of events at a distance, subliminal clairvoyance—occur when the dead are not in evidence, when the experiments are being made exclusively between living persons? This cannot be honestly contested. Certainly no one has ever obtained among living people any series of communications or revelations similar to those of the great spiritualistic mediums, Mrs. Piper, Mrs. Thompson and Stainton Moses, nor anything that can compare with them for continuity or lucidity.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013263987
Publisher: OGB
Publication date: 10/09/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 1,117,580
File size: 441 KB

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