IT hath been said, "All life is a burning," and thou sayest,
"Let the cells of the brain be likened to these burning logs, and their ash to waste tissue, and the flame to consciousness. Then is consciousness nothing more than an unstable product, which, when the logs are all consumed, dieth away with their ash. How then shall we think of Psyche, if she be this flame? Is not all consciousness phenomenon merely, depending for its existence on an organic process; a consensus of vital action in the nervous cells? And the Psyche, what is she but the sum of conscious states,--a complexity, unstable and automatic, making and unmaking herself at each instant, even as the flame?"
What, then, doth cognise these unstable states? These successive and ephemeral objective conditions to what Subject do they manifest themselves, and how are they recognised? If consciousness be phenomenon, to what noumenon is it related?
[paragraph continues] Perceivest thou not that the flame, which is phenomenon, appeareth not to itself, and dependeth for its objectivity on the subjectivity of the observer? The physiologist who telleth thee that memory is a biological processus, and that consciousness is a state dependent on the duration and intensity of molecular nervous vibration, toucheth not the Psyche. For this molecular phenomenon is incapable of cognising itself; it is objective only. Seest thou not that unless there be an inner, subjective ego to perceive and to reflect in itself this succession of phenomenal states, the condition of personality would be impossible? Or, thinkest thou that unless in the true and inner universe the ideal flame subsisted, thou couldst cognise the material flame? Knowest thou not that in the Divine Mind subsist eternally and substantially all those things of which thou beholdest the images and phenomena? It is this inner substantial noumenon which is the Psyche. And as in nature there are infinite gradations from simple to complex, and from coarse to fine, so is Psyche reached by innumerable degrees, and they who have not penetrated to the inner, stop short at the secondary consciousness, which is objective only, and imagine that the subjective, which alone explains all, is undemonstrable. But only Psyche can apprehend the psychical; only reason can reach the ultimate. "By what, or by whom," say the biologists, "are these ephemeral and unstable states which they name consciousness, apprehended? Dependent for their production upon duration and intensity of vibration, they pass away as quickly as they appear." If, then, they appear, it is to something, otherwise their production and apparition, automatic in itself, could not be cognised. A thing or a state doth not appear to itself, but to the observer. For apparition and production are processes affecting a Subject, and this Subject is Psyche.
But the vice of your biologists lieth in their pursuit of the unity in the simple rather than in the complex. By this method they reverse and invert the divine method of evolution, and nullify its end. They refuse unity to the man, in order to claim it for the molecule. For the ultimate element, indivisible and indestructible by thought, for the simplest and lowest monad only, they claim unity, and thereby individuality. Thus they divinise the lowest, and in their method evolution hath no motive or reasonable end.
But, in truth, Psyche is the most complex of essences, and of this complexity is born responsibility. Pure and naked simplicity
of being is the outermost and lowermost, touching negation. And the dignity and excellence of the human soul lieth not in her simplicity, but in her complexity. She is the summit of evolution, and all generation works in order to produce her. The philosophy then, which defies the lowest in place of the highest, ignores the true sense of its own doctrine of evolution. For the occult law which governs evolution brings together, in increasingly complex and manifold entities, innumerable unities, in order that these units may, of their substantial essence, polarise one complex essence;--complex, because evolved from, and by the concurrence of, many simple monads;--essence, because in its nature indivisible and indestructible. The problem of the Ego in man is the problem of God in nature. By the same method which expounds the last, shall the first be expounded likewise. The human ego is, therefore, the synthesis, the divine impersonal personified. And the higher and more excellent this personality, the profounder the consciousness of 'the impersonal. The divine personality is not concrete, but abstract, and the divine consciousness is not objective, but subjective. The phenomenal personality and consciousness are to the noumenal as water reflecting the heavens, the nether completing and returning to the upper its own concrete reflex.
If thou desirest really to study, to comprehend, and to master the heavenly science, thou must learn that interior and subjective method by which only heavenly things are apprehended. Thou must shift the ground of thine observation from the exterior to the interior; and this can be accomplished only by means of regeneration. "I tell thee that unless thou be born again, thou shalt not see the kingdom of God." And this saying meaneth that unless a man be regenerate he shall not be able to see the inner and essential, which are the only true and divine things. The unregenerate man works always from the exterior, and hath experience only of that which is without. But thou, if thou wouldst behold the kingdom of God, learn to live in the essential, and fix the polaric point of thy mind in the central and substantial.
It is necessary before entering on the study of the substantial, that thou shouldst clearly apprehend what difference there is
between the abstract and the concrete. Now the study of the material is the study of the objective, and that of the substantial is the study of the subjective. That, then, which the biologists term the subjective is not truly so, but only the last or interior phases and conditions of phenomena. Thus, for example, the unstable states which constitute consciousness, are in their view subjective states. But they are objective to the true subject, which is Psyche, because they are. perceived by this latter, and whatever is perceived is objective. There are in the microcosm two functions,--that of the revealer, and that of the entity to which revelation is made. The unstable states of the biologist, which accompany certain operations of organic force, are so many modes whereby exterior things are revealed to the interior subject. They are not in themselves the subject to which the revelation is made. Do not think that thou canst attain the subjective by the same method of study which discovers to thee the objective. The last is found by observation from without; the first by intuition from within. The human kosmos is a complexity of many principles, each having its own mode of operation. And it is, therefore, on the rank and order of the principle affected by any special operation that dependeth the nature of the effect produced. When, therefore, for example, the biologist speaketh of "unconscious cerebration," he should ask himself to whom or to what such operation is unconscious, knowing that in all vital processes there is infinite gradation. Questions of duration affect the mind; questions of intensity affect the Psyche. All processes which occur in the objective are relative to something; there is but one thing absolute, and that is the Subject. Unconscious cerebration is, therefore, only relatively unconscious in regard to that mode of perception which is conditioned in and by duration. But inasmuch as any such process of cerebration is intense, it is perceived by that perceptive centre which is conditioned by intensity, and in relation to that centre it is not unconscious. The interior man knoweth all processes, but many processes are not apprehended by the mental man. This truth ought in itself to demonstrate to thee the distinction of the human principles, and their separability even on this plane of life. If, then, the mundane ego and the heavenly ego be so distinct and separable, even when vitally connected, that a nervous process conscious to the latter shall be unconscious to the former, how much more shall separability be possible when the vital bond is broken? If the polarities of all thy kosmos were single and identical in direction, thou wouldst be
conscious of all processes, and nothing would be to thee unknown, because thy central point of perception would be precisely the focus of all convergent radii. But no unregenerate man is in such case. For most, the perceptive point lies in the relative and objective man, and by no means in the absolute and subjective. Thus the convergent radii pass unheeded of their consciousness, because, as yet, they know not their own spirit. They are asleep while they live, and incapable of absolute cognition.
116:1 Paris, February 27, 1883. Received during the night, and written down while in trance. The word Subject, spelt with a capital, is used herein in its metaphysical sense, to denote the thinking and perceiving agent. E. M.
118:1 Received at the same time and in the same manner as the foregoing, but written down on the following day. E. M.