Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 200
Publication Date: 1916
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From the Introduction: 'In offering this scientific proof, I have purposely omitted (except in a few instances) all mention of occult or psychic phenomena occurring in India, and have confined myself to instances occurring in Western lands to Western persons. Moreover, I have avoided quoting and citing Hindu authorities, and have, instead, quoted and cited from authorities well known and respected in Western lands, such as the Society for Psychical Research, and the prominent scientists interested in the work of the said society.'
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The student of occultism usually is quite familiar with the crass individual who assumes the cheap skeptical attitude toward occult matters, which attitude he expresses in his would-be "smart" remark that he "believes only in what his senses perceive." He seems to think that his cheap wit has finally disposed of the matter, the implication being that the occultist is a credulous, "easy" person who believes in the existence of things contrary to the evidence of the senses.
While the opinion or views of persons of this class are, of course, beneath the serious concern of any true student of occultism, nevertheless the mental attitude of such persons are worthy of our passing consideration, inasmuch as it serves to give us an object lesson regarding the childlike attitude of the average so-called "practical" persons regarding the matter of the evidence of the senses.
These so-called practical persons have much to say regarding their senses. They are fond of speaking of "the evidence of my senses." They also have much to say about the possession of "good sense" on their part; of having "sound common sense"; and often they make the strange boast that they have "horse sense," seeming to consider this a great possession. Alas, for the pretensions of this class of persons. They are usually found quite credulous regarding matters beyond their everyday field of work and thought, and accept without question the most ridiculous teachings and dogmas reaching them from the voice of some claimed authority, while they sneer at some advanced teaching which their minds are incapable of comprehending. Anything which seems unusual to them is deemed "flighty," and lacking in appeal to their much prized "horse sense."
But, it is not my intention to spend time in discussing these insignificant half-penny intellects. I have merely alluded to them in order to bring to your mind the fact that to many persons the idea of "sense" and that of "senses" is very closely allied. They consider all knowledge and wisdom as "sense;" and all such sense as being derived directly from their ordinary five senses. They ignore almost completely the intuitional phases of the mind, and are unaware of many of the higher processes of reasoning.
Such persons accept as undoubted anything that their senses report to them. They consider it heresy to question a report of the senses. One of their favorite remarks is that "it almost makes me doubt my senses." They fail to perceive that their senses, at the best, are very imperfect instruments, and that the mind is constantly employed in correcting the mistaken report of the ordinary five senses.
Not to speak of the common phenomenon of color-blindness, in which one color seems to be another, our senses are far from being exact. We may, by suggestion, be made to imagine that we smell or taste certain things which do not exist, and hypnotic subjects may be caused to see things that have no existence save in the imagination of the person. The familiar experiment of the person crossing his first two fingers, and placing them on a small object, such as a pea or the top of a lead-pencil, shows us how "mixed" the sense of feeling becomes at times. The many familiar instances of optical delusions show us that even our sharp eyes may deceive us—every conjuror knows how easy it is to deceive the eye by suggestion and false movements.
Perhaps the most familiar example of mistaken sense-reports is that of the movement of the earth. The senses of every person report to him that the earth is a fixed, immovable body, and that the sun, moon, planets, and stars move around the earth every twenty-four hours. It is only when one accepts the reports of the reasoning faculties, that he knows that the earth not only whirls around on its axis every twenty-four hours, but that it circles around the sun every three hundred and sixty-five days; and that even the sun itself, carrying with it the earth and the other planets, really moves along in space, moving toward or around some unknown point far distant from it. If there is any one particular report of the senses which would seem to be beyond doubt or question, it certainly would be this elementary sense report of the fixedness of the earth beneath our feet, and the movements of the heavenly bodies around it—and yet we know that this is merely an illusion, and that the facts of the case are totally different. Again, how few persons really realize that the eye perceives things up-side-down, and that the mind only gradually acquires the trick of adjusting the impression?
I am not trying to make any of you doubt the report of his or her five senses. That would be most foolish, for all of us must needs depend upon these five senses in our everyday affairs, and would soon come to grief were we to neglect their reports. Instead, I am trying to acquaint you with the real nature of these five senses, that you may realize what they are not, as well as what they are; and also that you may realize that there is no absurdity in believing that there are more channels of information open to the ego, or soul of the person, than these much used five senses. When you once get a correct scientific conception of the real nature of the five ordinary senses, you will be able to intelligently grasp the nature of the higher psychic faculties or senses, and thus be better fitted to use them. So, let us take a few moments time in order to get this fundamental knowledge well fixed in our minds.
What are the five senses, anyway. Your first answer will be: "Feeling, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling." But that is merely a recital of the different forms of sensing. What is a "sense," when you get right down to it? Well, you will find that the dictionary tells us that a sense is a "faculty, possessed by animals, of perceiving external objects by means of impressions made upon certain organs of the body." Getting right down to the roots of the matter, we find that the five senses of man are the channels through which he becomes aware or conscious of information concerning objects outside of himself. But, these senses are not the sense-organs alone.