MAN'S LIFE IN THIS AND OTHER WORLDSby Annie Besant
There are many people who cannot pass through life happily and contentedly unless they possess some definite knowledge, knowledge which is precise, knowledge which enables them to understand themselves as well as the world around them. They cannot remain satisfied to be living in an unintelligible world, to be
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There are many people who cannot pass through life happily and contentedly unless they possess some definite knowledge, knowledge which is precise, knowledge which enables them to understand themselves as well as the world around them. They cannot remain satisfied to be living in an unintelligible world, to be constantly seeing the passage of events which appear to them to be without reason, without explanation. They cannot be content to see the great differences of happiness between human beings without asking: "Why are some men born to such misery? why are others born to happy and prosperous lives?" Constantly these questions arise; they torment the minds and the hearts of the thoughtful; and I want, if I can, to-day and on the two succeeding Sundays, to put before you a theory of life, a theory of man, which perhaps may make your own nature and the world which surrounds you more intelligible, thereby making yourself more useful. That is the aim of three lectures on a big subject. I do not want to convince you that I am right in what I put to you; all that I want to do is to stimulate you to think: not to ask you to accept a theory ready-made which I put before you, but only to ask you to consider the data that I submit; thus to form your own judgment, thus to use your own intelligence, and thus to come to a conclusion which shall satisfy you because you have made it, which shall prove to you a guide in life because you have come to the conclusion by your own thought.
Now, first, as regards the value of definite knowledge. To use this knowledge is to be able to steer the ship of your life, instead of drifting—as so many of us do. It is to be able to see your goal, to choose your path. It is gradually to acquire such a mastery alike over body and over mind that you will be a self-conscious being not only in the physical world, but also in the worlds connected with it, those into which you will pass when death strikes away the body. In three worlds you all are living. In one consciously, in the other two, as modern psychology would say, subconsciously. One you know—the physical world around you; in that you act, in that your emotions play, in that your thoughts are ever busy. I shall want to show you that there is a sphere, or world, corresponding to your emotions, from which those emotions assert themselves in your physical life; that there is a world, a sphere, of thought from which come impulses which show themselves in the physical brain. Subconsciously to-day you live in the world of the emotions, in the world of the intellect. As you develop by ordinary evolution, the subconscious will become conscious; that which now you dimly sense will become clear, definite, precise. That is not a mere theory ; for there are some amongst us who have deliberately quickened their evolution and have turned their subconscious into conscious knowledge.
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