Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Deathby Frederick W. H. Myers
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Maior agit deus, atque opera la maiora remittit. --VIRGIL. IN the long story of man's endeavours to understand his own environment and to govern his own fates, there is one gap or omission so singular that, however we may afterwards contrive to explain the fact, its simple statement has the air of a paradox. Yet it is strictly true to say that man has never yet applied to the problems which most profoundly concern him those methods of inquiry which in attacking all other problems he has found the most efficacious.
The question for man most momentous of all is whether or no he has an immortal soul; or--to avoid the word immortal, which belongs to the realm of infinities--whether or no his personality involves any element which can survive bodily death. In this direction have always lain the gravest fears, the farthest-reaching hopes, which could either oppress or stimulate mortal minds.
On the other hand, the method which our race has found most effective in acquiring knowledge is by this time familiar to all men. It is the method of modern Science--that process which consists in an interrogation of Nature entirely dispassionate, patient, systematic; such careful experiment and cumulative record as can often elicit from her slightest indications her deepest truths. That method is now dominant throughout the civilised world; and although in many directions experiments may be difficult and dubious, facts rare and elusive, Science works slowly on and bides her time,--refusing to fall back upon tradition or to launch into speculation, merely because strait is the gate which leads to valid discovery, indisputable truth.
I say, then, that this method has never yet been applied to the all-important problem of the existence, the powers, the destiny of the human soul.
Nor is this strange omission due to any general belief that the problem is in its nature incapable of solution by any observation whatever which mankind could make. That resolutely agnostic view--I may almost say that scientific superstition--"ignoramus et ignorabimus"--is no doubt held at the present date by many learned minds. But it has never been the creed, nor is it now the creed, of the human race generally. In most civilised countries there has been for nearly two thousand years a distinct belief that survival has actually been proved by certain phenomena observed at a given date in Palestine. And beyond the Christian pale--whether through reason, instinct, or superstition--it has ever been commonly held that ghostly phenomena of one kind or another exist to testify to a life beyond the life we know.
But, nevertheless, neither those who believe on vague grounds nor those who believe on definite grounds that the question might possibly be solved, or has actually been solved, by human observation of objective facts, have hitherto made any serious attempt to connect and correlate that belief with the general scheme of belief for which Science already vouches. They have not sought for fresh corroborative instances, for analogies, for explanations; rather they have kept their convictions on these fundamental matters in a separate and sealed compartment of their minds, a compartment consecrated to religion or to superstition, but not to observation or to experiment.
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_In 1903 the Society for Psychical Research published this classic work- and effectively proved to any reasonable reader that man's true essence survives bodily death. However, the world of the early 20th century was obsessed with materialism and effectively ignored this finding. Those few scientists that did review the work came away convinced, more often than not. The problem was that most 'reputable' scientists wouldn't even consider it- a problem that continues to this day. ___The author of this pioneering volume was F.W.H. Myers, the cofounder of the Society of Psychical Research. Myers was not some fringe crank, for he was a recognized classics scholar, platonic philosopher, poet, and son of a clergyman. It was Myers who first translated and introduced Freud to the British public. He was also the originator of the term 'telepathy.' He was a meticulous and conscientious investigator. That is what strikes you about the vast compendium of cases included here- they were painstakingly documented, all witnesses were carefully interviewed, and sworn affidavits were obtained. In no way can this be considered a book of 'heresay.' Myers covered a wide variety of phenomena from hypnotic trance, dreams, possession, mystic ecstasy, telepathy, mediumship, clairvoyance, automatic writing, phantasms of the dead, to actual evidence of the survival of the subliminal elements of personality after death- because he correctly considered them all to be in some way interrelated. ___So, in life, Meyers effectively proved survival of the personality after death. But that was only half of his work. Starting a few years after his death his spirit started communicating with widely separated mediums in England, the United States, and India. The result was a huge body of interconnected messages called the 'Cross Correspondences.' This work consisted of over 3000 messages delivered over 30 years, and of such a complexity- and consistency- that they provide absolute proof of the survival of Meyers and several of his colleagues. ___So you see, the case for survival of the spirit was effectively made over 100 years ago, but it is still effectively ignored by a mainstream materialist society with its own agenda. But that doesn't make it any less true. ___This new edition has an introduction by Jeffrey Mishlove, Ph.D the foreward by Aldous Huxley and the introduction to the 1961 edition by Susy Smith. There is a full index.