Empirical Psychology Introduction
Up to this point we have been treading on the consecrated ground of Kantian philosophy.
But who will accompany us further if we choose to burst open the gates that bar our entrance into the “realm of darkness”?
Is it not maddening when Kant himself says:
“Experience cannot possibly teach us that there exist beings which possess only an inner sense”? (The Psychology)
Or in another passage: “We can say nothing more about these spirits, such as what a spirit can achieve separated from the body. They do not constitute objects perceptible to the external senses, and thus they do not exist in space. We can say nothing beyond this; if we did we would only be spinning idle fancies.” (The Psychology)
Or in another passage: “I dare say that this observation (of mine) … represents all that philosophical insight can reveal about beings of this kind, and that although in the future we may continue to have all sorts of notions about them, we can never know more than we do now.”
Kant could not help but speak as he did, and from his own standpoint he was absolutely right.
More than one hundred years have passed since he said these things.
In this time a lot has happened to confirm his words, and to amplify their meaning in unlooked for ways.
Kant’s epistemology endures unaltered, but his dogmatic teachings have undergone changes as must occur with every dogmatic system.
No fresh genius has appeared to supplant Kant’s ideas. What have supplanted his ideas are facts whose validity is beyond all doubt.
Today, as Wallace accurately notes, we can simply smile and pass by those persons whom laziness or rabid skepticism cause to deny certain extrasensory data.
It was impossible for Kant to have known the facts in question, and that is why he could not have spoken otherwise than he did.
Baron DePrel says-quite rightly-that if Kant were alive today, he would undoubtedly be a spiritualist.
Kant spared neither time nor effort to get in touch with Swedenborg.
Insofar as it lay in his power, he tested the validity of Swedenborg’s claims and gavethem a thorough and unbiased reading.
What a contrast lies between this greatest of all sages ever born on German soil, and his puerile epigones, who do themselves the honor of citing Kant and yet do all they can to suppress and ridicule something that can only confirm Kant’s profound ideas!
And people do show what fools they are when they use Kant’s ideas to attack the spiritualists, when Kant himself said:
“It will be demonstrated in the future, I know not where or when-that even in this life the human soul dwells in an indissoluble communion with all the immaterial natures of the spirit world, alternately affecting these natures and receiving impressions from them …. “!
Kant said this more than one hundred years ago, when he could have had no inkling of the facts relating to modern spiritualism.
Almost sixty years ago Schopenhauer raised his voice against “the skepticism of ignorance.”
Even he, the pessimist par excellence, was an optimist to the extent that he could describe skepticism as daily coming “into increasing disrepute.”
In the mid-1879’s William Crookes, the English chemist and physicist who had been challenged by the entire body of the English press to investigate spiritualism, submitted to the Royal Society his classical report on the subject, containing the most comprehensive confirmation of the validity of spiritualistic phenomena.
Around the same time Russel Wallace, famed for his role in the history of Darwinism, likewise wrote a variety of texts in which he fought for justice and truth.
In 1877 the noble Zollner published his scientific tracts in Germany, and fought for the spiritualist cause in a series of seven volumes.
But his was “a voice crying in the wilderness.”
Mortally wounded in his struggle against the Judaization of science and society, this high-minded man died in 1882, broken in body and spirit.
To be sure, his friends, the renowned physicist Wilhelm Weber, the philosopher Fechner, the mathematician Schubner, and Ulrici, continued to promote Zollner’s cause, while the stubborn Wundt, the slippery Carl Ludwig, and the spiteful DuBois Reymond defamed this cause throughout a Germany in moral decline.
All in vain-the Berlin Jew came out on top.
The little group of the faithful melted away.
The only educated champion of spiritualism in Germany is Baron Carl DuPrel, who, however, is being doggedly ignored.
In Russia there are two men with scientific training who defend the cause of spiritualism: the aged privy councilor Alexander Aksakov in St. Petersburg and Wagner, professor of zoology at the University of St. Petersburg.
In 1892 two Italians, the astronomer Schiaparelli, noted for his study of Mars and director of the Osservatorio di Brera, and Lombroso, the renowned anthropologist and psychiatrist, declared their belief in spiritualism.
The latter did so with the classical confession: “I pride myself on being the slave of facts.”
An index to the more liberated thinking of the English was the founding of the Dialektische Gesellschaft, composed exclusively of professional scholars, which I believe was an offshoot of the British Association.
In Germany-and Switzerland-there seems to be no sign that men like Kant, Schopenhauer or Zollner have ever lived.
Gone and forgotten! People will not even listen to Eduard von Hartmann, a philosopher who is now very much a la mode, and his theory of the unconscious, much less to DuPrel, who deserves closer study.
What we hear from the rostrums of science is the thousand-fold echo of materialism.
This loathsome, stinking plant is being grown in all the scientific institutions in the land and well-nourished with the dung of the career men.
A professor drowned in mechanistic psychology and nerve-and-muscle physics is sowing the poisonous seed that fecundates confused minds-minds that then bear splendid fruit, incomparable rubbish, some thirty-, some sixty-, some one hundredfold.
Gradually the mud is seeping down from the heights of the university.
The natural consequence is the moral instability of the upper echelons of society and the total brutalization of the working man.
The results: anarchists, anti-socialist laws, and so on.
Naturally the clergy make a great to-do about the steady progress the devil of unbelief is making in the hearts of men, but this does not prevent them from mounting the pulpit and inveighing against the sin of spiritualism and stuffing people full of all sorts of old wives’ tales about the spiritualists.
Thus without realizing it the clergy are encouraging the general moral debacle, and the police, the guardians of the law, are contributing to the same end by prohibiting spiritualistic fraud.
Every rational man, who believes that everything in life is purely “natural”-for example, the schoolmaster-rages and campaigns against this medieval nonsense which is threatening to extinguish the lamp of his enlightenment.
The worthy educated philistine who believes in nothing he cannot see, blindly places his faith in every anti-spiritualist canard, every wretched lie the journalists tell him, and voluptuously wallows in the quagmire of literature on the subject published by the “progressive” press.
Radiating bliss, he reads Ludwig Buechner’s Kraft und Stoff, a work to which the remark of the old Gottingen professor Lichtenberg aptly applies: “If a head bumps into a book and the result is a hollow sound, is that always the fault of the head?”
If anyone ever writes the natural history of the educated philistine, the chapter on laziness would have to take up half the book.
Kant says at one point: “Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why, long after nature has emancipated them from the governance of others, such a large proportion of people are quite content never to grow up all their lives.”
It is unnecessary for me to comment further on this quotation, for it expresses my view to a tee.
Thus there is no better course than to add my endorsement.
In the second part of my talk, which deals with empirical psychology, I will supply documentary evidence which should satisfy those many people who were not entirely happy with the theoretical reflections in the first part.
On the other hand, this same factual evidence will put off many who were, in principle, satisfied with the theoretical exposition in Part One.
In research we are completely dependent on the empirical method, just as we are in our practical everyday lives.
Intuition does not have the power to convince the critical mind, any more than theoretical considerations can show us how to deal with practical situations.
And yet, strangely enough, any number of people who are in perfect agreement with the findings of rational psychology, refuse, for various reasons, to admit that psychology possesses an empirical side.
In plain language, in Basel there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of people with adamant faith in the miracles of the Old and New Testaments, but who would not for anything in the world admit that identical or similar events are still taking place today.
Again, there are people who, on the theoretical plane, accept the existence of the soul and its possession of any number of possible attributes, but who refuse to admit that anyone can have practical experience of such things.
As for those people who don’t care about anything and who only exist to mark the dark shadings in the picture of life, we need not speak of them at all.
The primary concern of empirical psychology is to supply factual documentation supporting the theories of rational psychology.
The first principle of rational psychology, concerning the existence of the soul, does not require factual documentation.
If we make correct use of the “category of causality,” we must necessarily affirm the existence of the soul.
Naturally people who do not employ the category of causality, or rather who feel no need for it, are not competent to voice an opinion in this matter.
The number of facts supporting the existence of the soul is legion.
If the soul did not exist, it would be impossible for these facts to exist.
But because there is no such thing as an impossible fact, the soul must exist.
One of the principal tasks of empirical psychology is to provide detailed authentication of the definition of the soul laid down by rational psychology.
We have already noted that the soul is an intelligence independent of space and time.
- The soul is intelligent.
- The principal proof in support of this principle is the purposeful activity of the soul, its power of organization. Its organizational activity is manifested in the phenomenon of materialization.
I cannot assume that everyone in my audience knows the meaning of the term materialization, and so I must beg those who do to pardon me if I interrupt my remarks for a moment to explain.
The soul is imperceptible to the senses because it exists outside space.
It would have to assume a spatial, i.e., a material form in order to become perceptible to the senses.
Every representation of the soul that is perceptible to the senses is a materialization.
The most wondrous and incredible materialization which has ever occurred is man himself.
But most people are incapable of marveling at their own existence and thus cannot properly appreciate the notion of man as a materialization of soul, and thus we must look about for other phenomena whose spontaneous and instantaneous manifestation compels us to deduce an intelligent being as their spiritus rector.
The phenomena we seek are the wondrous materializations observed by Crookes, Zollner, Wilhelm Weber, Fechner, Wagner, Wallace, and many others.
In 1873 Crookes and Varley, a member of the Royal Society, succeeded, with the aid of the medium Florence Cook, in producing a manifestation in their London laboratory and in repeatedly photographing it, under electric light, together with the medium.
After countless failures Professor Wagner, with the assistance of Frau von Probation, succeeded in photographing a hand above the medium’s head in a room at the University of St. Petersburg.
As far as I know, Zollner, Wilhelm Weber, and Fechner, who from 1877-1879 conducted joint experiments with the medium Dr. Stack, did not take any photographs, but did obtain a series of hand prints and footprints on soot-blackened paper laid between two pieces of slate.
In 1875, for the first time, paraffin molds were taken of hands that spontaneously materialized in space.
This feat was achieved by William Denton, a geology professor at Wellesley College in Massachusetts (t 1883), while he was on a geological expedition in New Guinea.
Since that time these experiments have been repeated, with great success, in England and on the continent.
I myself have in my possession photographs of such phenomena, and anyone who would like to see them may do so at any time.
It would be easy to go on and on citing pieces of evidence that substantiate the idea of the intelligent organizational activity of the soul.
But given the limited scope of my talk, the examples I have already cited must suffice.
If anyone is interested in pursuing these topics, I recommend that he study Zollner’s Wissenschaftliche Abhandlungen and Alexander Aksakov’s Animismus und Spiritismus, as well as the treatises of Crookes and Wallace in Mutze’s Spiritualism Library in Leipzig.
We have yet to document the second element in our definition of the soul: The soul is independent of space and time.
Everything that lies beyond our conceptual categories, i.e., beyond space and time, is transcendental.
Everything transcendental, that is, everything nonspatial and nontemporal, will always be incomprehensible to us, and in this sense the claim “Ignorabimus” is entirely justified.
Our confrontation with the transcendental is not confined to the psychical realm of sensory experience.
Instead, people have been able to experience it in their everyday lives ever since 1687, the year which saw the publication of Isaac Newton’s Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica.
Universal gravitation, representing as it does a long-range effect (actio in distans), is the direct manifestation of a transcendental principle, as I explained last semester in my critique of the law of gravity.
Gravitation is purely transcendental.
Its successful emancipation from space and time is achieved, above all, by virtue of the fact that it does not conform to the law of the conservation of energy as an elementary force; secondly, because by virtue of gravitation, corpus ibi agere non potest, ubi non est (a body does not exert effects in a place where the body itself is not); and thirdly, because it does not require time for its deployment, for it is absolutely constant.
This is the characteristic of the long-range effect, the actio in distans.
The soul, as the metaphysical presupposition of the phenomenon of organic life, likewise transcends space and time, and for this reason its emancipation from sensory manifestation must be expressed in the fact that the soul appears as the basic force of actiones in distans.
Thus to substantiate the second clause of our definition of the soul, we must present evidence substantiating the actio in distans.
The best course, to present our evidence in the most lucid and intelligible form, is to divide the discussion into two parts treating long-range effects in space, and 2) long-range effects in time.
The topic of long-range effects in space will be divided into telekinetic and telepathic phenomena.
Hypnotism should be classed among the telekinetic phenomena.
There is no need for me, in this context, to go into further detail concerning hypnotic phenomena, as a first-rate talk has already been devoted to this subject.
I will merely recapitulate briefly what has already been said.
Hypnotism involves the establishment of a so-called rapport, an intimate bond, between the agent and the percipient.
We know that the means for establishing such a rapport include causing the percipient to gaze at a fixed point, and in general, stimuli of a monotonous nature.
If the agent or percipient possesses a special aptitude, phenomena can be intensified.
The agent can move three, four, or five steps away from the percipient.
In tne case the famous mesmerist Hansen succeeded in withdrawing eighty steps.
An even higher level is achieved if the agent remains in a separate room.
With a particularly sensitive percipient, the agent can remain twenty, thirty, or more kilometers away and still achieve a rapport.
When a high degree of psychic excitation is present-for example, in cases involving dying persons—distance in no way limits the phenomenon.
I assume that there is no need for me to furnish documentary evidence, as doubtless everyone · has experienced, or heard of, such cases in his own family.
Intimately related to these phenomena is that of the Doppelgiinger or double. On occasion a dying person who, from a distance, communicates to a friend the knowledge of his impending death, can intensify hypnotic perception to the point of inducing a hallucination, and indeed may often create an actual, objective manifestation capable of producing material effects.
During the appearance of an authentic Doppelgiinger (eidolon), the agent is generally in a deep, self-induced somnambulistic trance.
However, this is not always the case.
There are cogent reasons to believe that the degree of awareness characterizing the Doppelgiinger is inversely proportional to that of the living agent.
Also to be classed among telekinetic phenomena are all those material effects produced, for example, by dying people in order to communicate to faraway relatives or friends the knowledge of their death.
Telepathic phenomena include clairvoyance, which occurs in space.
In certain cases the sensitivity of the percipient to telekinetic effects might also be designated as telepathy.
However, this sensitivity represents telepathy only to the extent that it outweighs the active psychic power of the agent.
In this case we see genuine clairvoyance on the part of the percipient.
All the obstacles presented by space have vanished.
It is as if the soul were wandering about free of all fetters, having escaped the body’s onerous husk.
A classic example of clairvoyance, which has been authenticated by reliable historical sources, is cited by Kant in his letter about Swedenborg, to Fraulein Charlotte von Knobloch.
In a letter Kant describes how Swedenborg, while he was in Gothenburg, had a clairvoyant vision of the great fire which took place in Stockholm in 1756, and how hour after hour he reported to the horrified public the progress of the fire.
All this happened on a Saturday evening, and it was not until the evening of the following Monday that a messenger arrived in Gothenburg on horseback bringing the news from Stockholm.
A number of skeptics, in order to come up with a natural explanation of this extraordinary event, actually went so far as to accuse Swedenborg of having set the fire himself!
We can content ourselves with this one example of clairvoyance, for it would be virtually a waste of time to cite additional cases.
Anyone who has ever taken a look at the relevant literature can easily discover any number of cases substantiating this phenomenon.
Recommended reading for anyone interested in this subject is DuPrel’s Fernsehen und Fernwirken, Volume II of his Entdeckung der Seele.
The theory of long-range effects in time is among the most obscure and complex topics in the realm of occult phenomena.
Under this heading we classify premonitions, prophecies, second sight, and clairvoyance in the strict sense.
I have not gone into any explanation of the phenomena previously discussed because any such explanation would lie far beyond the scope of my talk.
For the same reason I will refrain from any attempt to explain longrange effects in time, despite the fact that the problem is vitally interesting and virtually begs for commentary.
However, I cannot resist the urge to at least hint at the direction that an explanation might take.
To this purpose I cite Schopenhauer’s statement in the Parerga und Paralipomena:
“Consequent upon Kant’s doctrine of the ideality of space and time we understand that the Ding an sick, in other words the only reality in all phenomena, being free from these two forms of the intellect (intellectual categories), knows nothing of the distinction between near and far, between present, past and future.
Accordingly the divisions based on these modes of viewing the world show themselves not to be absolute, but instead, in terms of the mode of cognition we speak of, which is substantially altered by the modification of the organ [of cognition], no longer present any insuperable barriers.”
There seems no need for any extensive treatment of examples.
I will merely recall the famous tale of the Cossack who predicted the downfall of Poland many years beforehand, and the case of Cazotte, who in the year 1788, according to the account of a witness, Francois de la Harpe of the Academy, prophesied the terrors of the French Revolution, telling each person present the manner of his death in every detail.
I would also remind you of a case close
to home: I learned from a thoroughly reliable source, namely the attending physician, that a female patient suffering from hysteria prophesied, in obscure words, the disaster of Miinchenstein, several months before it occurred.
When the disaster ensued, the woman was in upper Switzerland, whence she clairvoyantly perceived the catastrophe at the same moment that it took place.
An inquiry dispatched immediately by telegram confirmed the accuracy of this clairvoyant vision.
Prophetic dreams, which represent a lower level of conscious clairvoyance, also belong in this category.
One special form is the “second sight” of the Scots, a gift that actually afflicts vast numbers of people on the solitary isles of northern Scotland.
The Old Testament prophets may also be described as clairvoyants, despite the fact that in recent times strenuous efforts have been made to reduce to a minimum all the miraculous elements of the Bible, and to divest its mystical protagonists of their characteristic nimbus.
This has been done with apparent disregard for the fact that it turns the prophets into caricatures, hack journalists who mystify the public with their prophecies after the prophesied events have already taken place.
Quite apart from the insipidity of such an interpretation, it would never have occurred to any Jew to follow the behests of such straw men. ~Carl Jung, Zofingia Lectures, Pages 33-43