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We may now turn to speculate a little on some conceivable application of the general principle we have been considering.  It seems to me that, as a result of the generic creation of which I have just spoken, there is in everything what, for want of a better name, I may call “The soul of the subject.”

Creation being by type, everything must have a generic basis of being in the Cosmic Law, not peculiar to that individual thing, but peculiar to the class to which it belongs, an adaptation of the Cosmic Soul for the production of all things belonging to that particular order, in fact, what makes them what they are and not something else.  Now just because this basis is generic and common to the whole genus that is built upon it, it is not specific, but it acquires localization through Form; the form being that of the class to which it belongs, thus producing the individual of that class, whether a cat or a cabbage.  It is this underlying generic being of the thing, that I want the student to understand by “the soul of the subject.”  In fact we may call it the Noumenon or essential being of the class, as distinguished from the specific characteristics that differentiate the individual from others of the same class.  It follows from this that this generic soul has no individuality of its own, and consequently is open to receive impressions from any source that can penetrate the sheath of outward form and specific characteristic that envelopes it.  At the same time it is a manifestation of Cosmic Law, and so cannot depart from its own class-nature, and therefore any influence that may be impressed upon it from some other source will always show itself in terms of the sort of generic soul that is thus impressed; for instance, it would be impossible so to impress a dog as to make it write a book; and we may therefore generalize the statement, and lay down the rule, that “Every impress receives expression in terms of the medium through which it is expressed.”  This becomes almost a self-obvious truism when put into plain language like this; thus, if I paint a picture in oils, my impression is conveyed in terms of this medium, and if I paint one in water-colours my conception will be conveyed in terms of that medium, and the methods of handling will be perfectly different in the two pictures.

This applies all round; and if we keep this generalization in mind, it will render many things clear, especially in psychic matters, which would otherwise seem puzzling.

Now we ourselves are included in the general creation, and consequently we have in us a generic or type basis of personality, which is entirely impersonal.  This is not a contradiction in terms, though it may look like one.  We belong to the class Genus Homo, the distinctive quality of which is Personality, that is to say, the possession of certain faculties which constitute us persons, and not things or animals; but at the same time this merely generic personality is common to all mankind, and is not that which distinguishes one individual from another, and in this sense it is impersonal; so we may call it our Cosmic or Impersonal Personality.

Now it is upon this cosmic element, inherent in all things from mineral to man, that Thought-Power acts, because, being impersonal, it has no private purpose of its own with which to oppose the suggestion that is being impressed upon it.  The only thing is, that according to the rule just laid down, the response will always be in terms of the cosmic element which we have thus set in motion.  Therefore on the human plane it will always be in terms of Personality.

The whole thing comes to this, that we impart to this impersonal element the reflection of our own personality, and thereby create in it a certain personality of its own, which will express itself in terms of the inherent nature of the impersonal factor, which we have thus temporarily invested with a personal quality; we are continually doing this unconsciously, either for good or ill; but when we come to understand the law of it, we must try so to regulate the habitual current of our thoughts, that even when we are not using this power intentionally, they may only exercise a beneficial influence.

In our normal state this cosmic element in ourselves is so closely united with our more conscious powers of volition and reasoning, that they constitute a single unity; and this is how it should be, only, as we shall see later on, with a difference.  But there are certain abnormal states which are worth considering, because they make clearer the existence in us of this impersonal self, which in academical language is called the subliminal consciousness.  The work of the subliminal consciousness exhibits itself in various ways, such as clairvoyance, clair-audience, and conditions of trance; all of which either occur spontaneously, or are induced by experimental means, such as hypnotism; but the similarity of the phenomena in either case shows, that it is the same faculty that is in evidence.

In those hypnotic experiments in which the operator merely makes the subject do some external act, we get no further than the fact that the person’s individual will has been temporarily put to sleep, and that of the hypnotist has taken its place; still even this shows a power of impressing upon the subliminal consciousness a personal quality of its own, but it does not enable it to exhibit its own powers.  The object of such experiments is, to exhibit the powers of the hypnotist, not to investigate the powers of the subliminal personality, which is of more importance in the present connection.  But where the hypnotist employs his power of command to tell the subliminal self of the patient to exercise its own powers, merely directing it as to the subject upon which it is to be exercised, very wonderful powers indeed are exhibited.  Places unknown to the percipient are accurately described; correct accounts are given of what people are doing elsewhere; the contents of sealed letters are read; the symptoms of disease are diagnosed and suitable remedies sometimes prescribed; and so on.  Distance appears to make no difference.  In many cases time also does not count, and historical events of long ago, with the details of which the seer had no acquaintance, are accurately described in all their minutiae, which have afterwards been corroborated by contemporary documents.  Nor are cases wanting in which events still future have been correctly predicted, as, for example, in Cazotte’s celebrated prediction of the French Revolution, and of the fate that awaited each member of a large dinner-party when it should occur though this was a spontaneous case, and not under hypnotism, which perhaps gives it the greater value.

The same powers are shown in spontaneous cases also, of which my own experiences related in a previous chapter may serve as a small example; but as there are many books exclusively devoted to the subject I need not go into further details here.  If the reader be curious for further information, I would recommend him to read Gregory’s “Letters on Animal Magnetism.”  It was published some fifty years ago, and, for all I know, may be out of print, but if the reader can procure it, he will find that it is a book to be relied upon, the work of a Professor of Chemistry in the University of Edinburgh, who investigated the matter calmly with a thoroughly trained scientific mind.  But what I want the reader to lay hold of is the fact, that whether the action occur spontaneously or be induced by experimental means, these powers actually exist in us, and therefore in reckoning up the faculties at our disposal they must not be omitted.

In our more usual condition however, these faculties are subordinate to those which put us in touch with the every-day world, and I cannot help thinking, that at our present stage this is the best place for them.  In this place they have a special function to perform, which I will speak of in another chapter, and in the meanwhile for my own part I should prefer to leave their development to the ordinary course of Nature, neither stimulating them by hypnotic influence, or auto-suggestion, nor repressing them if they manifest themselves of their own accord.  However, every one must follow his or her own discretion in this matter; the only thing is, do not deny the existence of these faculties in yourself because you may not consciously exercise them, for they hold a very important place in our complex personality.

All such evidence on the subject as has come my way, appears to me to point to the fact, that it is through this impersonal or cosmic portion of our mind that Thought-Power operates upon us, whether in the form of telepathy, or of healing treatment, or in any other way; and it is through this channel also that thought currents, not specially directed towards ourselves, nevertheless affect us, just as the first wireless telephone message sent on September 29, 1915, from the office of the American Telephone Company in New York, and directed to San Francisco, was simultaneously heard at San Diego, at Darien in Panama, and even as far away as Pearl Island, Honolulu, in the Pacific Ocean.

We sometimes pick up messages which are not intended for us; so we must keep our receiver in perfect syntony of reciprocal vibration with the stations from which we require to receive messages, to the exclusion of others which would produce confusion.

But I have strayed a little from our present point, which is rather that of giving out influence than of receiving it.  Through the instrumentality of this impersonal cosmic soul we can send out our Thought for the healing of disease, for the suggestion of good and happy ideas, and for many other beneficial purposes; though the extent of the result will of course be considerably influenced by the mental attitude of the recipient, which is therefore a factor to be reckoned with.

But this power of sending out a subtle influence, call it magnetism or what you will, is not confined to operations upon the human subject.  Two ladies of my acquaintance experimented on two rose-trees, which, to all appearances, were both in equally good condition.  They daily blessed one and cursed the other, with the result that at the end of a month the anathematized plant had withered up from the roots, while the other was in an abnormally flourishing condition.  Nor are we entirely without scientific backing even in such a case as this; for Professor Bose tells us in his work on the “Response of Metals,” that not only can they be poisoned by certain chemicals, so as to deprive them of their normal qualities, but that they can be mesmerized into a similar condition.  Such facts as these therefore give considerable support to the theory of the existence in everything of a “soul of the subject,” which responds after its own manner to the power of human thought.

In what manner, then, is this influence conveyed?  It is here that our study of etheric waves comes to our assistance, by carrying the same principle further, and picturing the working of the known Law under unknown conditions.  It will at least enable us to form a working hypothesis.  I have stated that our actual commercial application of the etheric waves extends from the ultra-violet waves used in photography, and measuring only 1/254,000 of an inch, to those measuring many miles employed in wireless telegraphy; but this practical application by no means exhausts the conceivable possibilities of etheric vibrations; for not only do we find a gap of five octaves of as yet unknown waves between the dark heat group and the Hertzian group, but mathematically there is no limit to the greatness or smallness of the waves, and the scale may be prolonged indefinitely in either direction.  Nor is this to be wondered at; for if we consider that vibration is not a progress of individual particles from one place to another, but the alternate rising and falling of the substance at the same point, and that the ether is a homogeneous and universally present substance, it is obvious that there is nothing to limit the minuteness or the greatness of the intervals at which the rising and falling will occur.  Therefore we have an unlimited field for our imagination to play about in.  Then, if we further reflect that all forms are built up of denser or finer aggregations of ether, and that what determines the generic form of anything is its cosmic soul, or the generating principle of the class to which it belongs, it follows that this soul must have a corresponding form, however inconceivably fine may be the etheric condensation which thus differentiates it from other souls, and prevents it from all being mixed up together in an indistinguishable mass.  If now, we combine these two facts, that the soul of anything must have a form, however fine, and that there is no limit either to the greatness or the minuteness of etheric vibrations, we can draw certain deductions from these premises.

It is an established fact of ordinary science that, however closely particles of any substance may seem to cohere, they are in reality separated by interstices through which etheric waves can penetrate.

The principle may be illustrated by the power of the X-rays to penetrate apparently solid bodies, such as iron.  Then, if we combine with this the fact, that there is no limit to the minuteness of etheric waves, we see that however fine may be the particles constituting any form, it is always possible to have etheric waves still finer and thus able to penetrate that form and set up vibrations in it.  It is our familiarity with the denser modes of matter that makes it difficult for us to grasp the idea of these finer activities; but there is nothing in what we know of the denser modes to contradict the conception; on the contrary, it is just by what we have learned of these denser modes that we reach the principles on which these further conceptions are founded.  Looking at this, therefore, in the light of a mathematical proposition, there is absolutely no limit to the fineness of any form, or to its susceptibilities to etheric vibrations.

Finally, to this add the power of the Word to start trains of etheric vibration, and you get the following series:  The Word starts the etheric waves; these waves produce corresponding vibration in the soul of the subject; and the soul of the subject in turn communicates corresponding vibration to its body.  We may thus explain the Creative Power of Thought on the basis of recognizable Law, and so we believe, because we know why we believe, not because somebody else has told us so.  Doubt is still the creative action of Thought, only it is creating negatively; so it is helpful to feel that we have some reason for confidence in the Power of the Word.  There are a great many “Thomases” among us, and as one of the number I shall be glad if I can help my “Brother Tommies” to get a grip of the why and wherefore of the things which appear at first sight so fantastic and improbable.

But the conception we are considering is not limited to concrete entities, whether persons or things.  It applies to abstractions also, and it is for this reason that I have called it the “Soul of the Subject.”  We often speak of the “Soul of Music,” or the “Soul of Poetry,” and so on.  Thus our ordinary talk stands on the threshold of a great mystery, which, however, is simple enough in practice.  If you want to get a clearer view of any subject than you have at present, address yourself mentally to the abstract soul of that subject, and ask it to tell you about itself, and you will find that it will do so.  I do not say that it will do this in any miraculous manner, but what you already know of the subject will range itself into a clearer order, and you will see connections that have not previously occurred to you.  Then again, you will find that information of the class required will begin to flow towards you through quite ordinary channels, books, newspapers, or conversation, without your especially laying yourself out to hunt for it; and again, at other times, ideas will come into your mind, you do not know how, but illuminating the subject with a fresh light.  I cannot explain how all this takes place.  I can only say from personal experience that it happens.  But of course we must not throw aside ordinary common-sense.  We must sort out the information that comes to us, and compare it with our previous knowledge; in fact we must work at it:  there is no premium for laziness.  Nor must we expect to receive by a sudden afflatus a complete acquaintance with some subject of which we are entirely ignorant.  I do not say that such a thing is altogether impossible, for I cannot venture to limit the possibilities of the Universe; but it is certainly not to be looked for in the ordinary course.  I have sometimes been shown specimens of “inspirational painting” done by persons said to be entirely ignorant of art, and the ignorance is very apparent on the face of the work.  I dare say an artist may be inspired in the production of a picture, but the technical training comes first, and the inspiration afterwards.  The same I believe to be true of all other subjects, so that we come back to the maxim of the power always expressing itself in terms of the instrument through which it works.  With this reservation, however, it appears to me, that every class of subject has a sort of soul of its own with which we can put ourselves en rapport by, so to say, mentally unifying our own personality with its abstract principle.

We are told by some teachers, that we can in the same way even construct entities in the nature of our Thought, and possessing a personality of their own with which we have endowed them.  Whether this be the case I cannot say I do not know all the secrets of the invisible.  But if our thoughts do not create personal entities able to hang “on their own hook,” they create forces which come to much the same thing.  They start waves in the Universal etheric medium, which, like the electro-magnetic waves of telegraphy, spread all round from the point of initial impulse, and are picked up whenever a centre happens to be attuned to a similar rate of vibration, and each new centre energizes these vibrations again with a fresh impulse of its own; so in this way thought-currents become very real things.

Such, then, is the power of our Word, whether spoken or only dwelt upon in Thought, to impress itself upon the impersonal element around us, whether in persons or things.  We cannot divest it of the power, though we may intensify its action by deliberate use of it, with knowledge of the principle involved, and therefore, whether consciously or unconsciously, we are sending out the influence of our personality all the time.

Now the more we know of these things the greater becomes our responsibility, and I would therefore solemnly warn the reader against any attempt to use the powers now indicated to the injury of any other person, or for the purpose of depriving any one else of that liberty of action which he would wish to enjoy himself.  Such use of our mental powers is in direct opposition to the Law of Unity which I have spoken of; and since that Law is the basic principle of the whole Universe, any opposition to it places us in antagonism with a force immeasurably greater than ourselves.

Our Thought always continues to be creative; but in destructive use it becomes creative for destructive forces, and, since it has its origin in our own personality, we are certain sooner or later to feel its effects, on the principle that every action always produces a corresponding reaction.  As we have seen, the Law knows nothing of persons, but acts automatically in strict accord with the nature of the power which has set it in motion.  Under negative conditions the great Law of the Universe becomes your adversary, and must continue to be so, until by your altered mode of Thought you put yourself in line with it.

But on the other hand, if our intention be to co-operate with the Great Law, we shall find that in it also exists a mysterious “Soul of the Subject,” which will respond to us, however imperfectly we may understand its modus operandi.  It is the intention that counts, not the theoretical knowledge.  The knowledge will grow by experience and meditation, and its value is measured entirely by the intention that is at the back of it.