MYSTERY AND THE INTANGIBLE


The universe is full of mystery and the further physical science penetrates into the unknown the deeper and more insoluble it grows. And as for The Intangible: what is the ultimate object and highest aim of science, philosophy and religion but to reduce everything, theoretically, to the “intangible,” and then from that sure foundation to build up the material and the concrete?


I.

“You homoeopaths need someone to wake you up and tell you what ails you”.

“You hold on too long to your old books, old ideas, old words and phrases and old forms of thought”.

“Nomenclature is perhaps the greatest handicap of science, and we are constantly forced to change nomenclature to meet newly proven and accepted facts”.

“The American Institute of Homoeopathy ought to appoint a committee on nomenclature to modernize and reduce to understandable terms the old things which are now antiquated, intangible and reduce them to terms of the physical”.

“The formula, like cures like, it is a theoretic thought which, as such, appeals to the scientists as pure bunk-fake We must forget this as a mere expression of dogma, which repels and antagonizes, and convert it into the new, scientifically established and accepted, principle of the elective affinity of drugs”.

“Get that spirit-force idea out of your heads. That was all right before we could measure things! Now we can detect and measure the individual molecule-nay, we go further and measure the individual atom, and even its component factors.” (Sentences from the speech of Charles H. Kettering, before the International Hahnemannian Medical Association, 1922.).

II.

Mr. Kettering has provided me with an Embarras de Richesse for the selection of a “taking title” for this months article for THE RECORDER. There are at least ten good titles and as many subjects contained in the sentences which I have quoted from his thought-provocative speech. I considered them all and pondered much before choosing; but his “Mystery and the Intangible” intrigued me until all the others were relegated to the “page below,” without derogation of their individual merits. I may use some of the other later.

Most of us live a mystery and its solution,whether it be in a detective story, the tale of a search for buried treasure or research on a pathological problem. Science owes much if not the greater part of its progress, to the love of mystery ingrained in human nature, I suspect that even Mr. Kettering love a mystery and that he only compelled himself under the influence of a “stern New England conscience” (I havent a “Whos Who” with me in the Catskills where I am writing this and dont know whether he is of New England ancestry or not) to admonish us to put away the seductive thing. At any rate, he is a man of accomplishment, and it is perfectly evident that in his department he has done his share in solving mysteries, which he would not have done if he had not loved them.

By the same taken I suspect that Mr. Kettering loves “The Intangible,”else why should he have exhorted us in good old New England style to put away the evil thing? “Conscience makes cowards of us all.” We flee from the Thing that is too great for us and afterwards tell a thrilling tale of the valorous battle we fought with it, taking from defeat the glory due only to victory.

III.

The universe is full of mystery and the further physical science penetrates into the unknown the deeper and more insoluble it grows. And as for The Intangible: what is the ultimate object and highest aim of science, philosophy and religion but to reduce everything, theoretically, to the “intangible,” and then from that sure foundation to build up the material and the concrete? Energy, power, force, motion, vibration,the ether, in all their forms and modes of manifestation- are not these, or THIS, intangible?.

Mr. Kettering knows this, even if he chooses at times to forget it. He deals with electricity which, next to the hypothetical either, is the supreme and never failing example of intangibility in physical science.

The mining engineer, assisted by the chemist and metallurgist, directs the digging of the mineral from the rock and superintends its treatment through the process of crushing, grinding, pulverizing, floatation and smelting, all leading to an approximate degree of solubility( and to intangibility if carried far enough) in order to extract the pure gold or copper, as the case may be.

The chemist will discourse learnedly and convincingly of solubility and “Infinite Solution,” which is the only, if unattainable, ideally perfect solution, and absolutely intangible.

The homoeopathic pharmacist, by trituration, solution and dilution according to scale, following substantially the rules laid down by Hahnemann, the master chemist and physicist and greatest investigator and inventor of his day, prepares for the therapeutist those marvelous “potencies” and much ridiculed “infinitesimals,” which come nearest to being perfect curative agents medically, under certain conditions, because they are the least material, have the highest rate of vibration, most nearly approach the ideal “infinite solution” of the chemist, and are nearest the state of Life, the absolutely intangible and immaterial, which is Absolute Energy.

IV.

Intangibility is not unreality. It is invisibility, immateriality, incorporeality, impalpability, but not unsubstantially. The only real, lasting, substantial, dependable things in the universe are all intangible-the things of which we predicate Energy-Mind, Life, Spirit, Intelligence, on the highest plane of thought and existence as well as the great so-called “forces of nature,” all of which may be measures by their activities.

Mystery lies in the tangible, not in the intangible. Only as we leave the material and ascend to the realm of immaterial,the ideal and the spiritual, are we able to explain or even perceive the mysteries which surround us. There are there only may all uncertainty and doubt be dispelled. There may we stand as humble recipients from the Infinite Intelligence of so much of the truth as we are prepared and willing to know.

V.

Some of the present-day “scientific men,” especially those who belong to that class which arrogates to itself the right to say what is or what is not “scientific,” would have us believe that there are no mysteries in their science. There exist a few unsolved problems, yes; but these only wait a little period of leisure, when they can devote their undivided attention to them to be removed from the category of the unknown. Then it will all be plain sailing,they assure us. They”point with pride” to the many accomplishments of “modern science”; the dynamo, electric motor, telephone, X-ray, radio, etc.; and complacently ignore the reminder that not much besides the mere mechanics is yet really known of even these things which for them are apparently so simple.

“Wait a little,.”they say in substance: “you will soon see. We know how to measure, weigh, analyze, decompose, combine and recombine all the elements of the material world. We can even measure and resolve the atom into its component electrons,and compute the density and stress of the ether. There is nothing but is only a secretion of the brain. We know energy in all it forms-light, heat, electricity, magnetism, etc. and we know most of its laws. Physical science will soon reduce all things to the terms of the physical and solve all problems. For us there are no mysteries in science- only unsolved problems”.

VI.

We listen to these enthusiastic, competent, critical, conceited, aggressive young men (they may be thirty-five or forty,or even fifty-they all look young nowadays) and are momentarily conscious of a quickened pulse.

It means so much-the possibility of settling some of these weighty matters that have baffled and intrigued us so long. But then, remembering some things they have forgotten, or never knew, we wonder if these young men who are so cock-sure about everything, know the history of science and the lives and conclusions of the greatest scientific minds the world has ever known, and have read their latest messages to their fellows as they neared the close of their long lives of study and research and practical accomplishment?

We wonder if physical science in its present-day materialism, hold the solution of ail the great and increasingly complex problems which confront our age? Do our enthusiastic young scientists and laboratory men really know as much as they think they do? Are they “kidding” us-or themselves? Shall we indeed find the truth in matter and materiality, and solve the problems of the universe by physical menstruation?.

Recall what that giant of physical research, Lord Kelvin said: “One word characterizes the most strenuous efforts for the advancement of science that I have made perseveringly during fifty five years-that word is failure. I know no more of electric and magnetic force, of the relation between ether, electricity, and ponderable matter, or of chemical affinity than I knew and tried to teach my students of natural philosophy in my first session as a professor”.

Prof. S. P. Langley wrote: “The more we know the more we recognize our ignorance and the more we have a sense of the mystery of the universe and the limitations of our knowledge”.

Prof.-Stanley Jevons said: “It might be readily shown that in whatever direction we extend our investigations and successfully harmonize a few facts, the result is only to raise up a host of other unexplained facts”.

New facts are continually being discovered and old facts brought into new relations which cannot at all be accounted for or explained by materialistic theories. New theories are constantly being advanced. Old ideas and concepts are changing. Some of the oldest and most firmly established theories of physical science are tottering on their bases. A great practical chemist recently said:

“The position has been reached before in single sciences, but it is the first time in the known history of the world that all the sciences have come to the same conclusion together-that their old ideas are absolutely wrong”.

Stanley Jevons (Principles of Science,” page 9), says: “Before a vigorous logical scrutiny, the Reign of Law will prove to be an unverified hypothesis, the uniformity of nature an ambiguous expression the certainly of our scientific inferences to a great extent a delusion”.

In view of thee and innumerable similar expressions of great thinker today and the recent past which might be quoted, what are we to think of the cock-sureness of some of the little fellows who call themselves scientists and assume that there are no longer any mysteries in science?.

Of the theories which have been upset or seriously called in question only two or three of the most important need be mentioned:

1. The Theory of Gravitation, which Einsteins Theory of Relativity, if it be verified, as seems probable, will practically mutify.

2.The Ether Theory, which is full of paradoxes and is being abandoned. Is the earth, for example (a solid globe of dense matter) flying, as stated, at the rate of over a thousand miles a minute, through a substance the density of which is estimated to be about four hundred and eighty times greater than that of the densest matter on the earth? Here is a mystery of no small proportions, involving a dozen other theories in equal mystery.

3.The Theory of the Indestructibility of Matter. Among the questions the answers to which will not “stay put” one is so prominent as the question, What is Matter” “Matter, “says W. W. Rouse Ball (and many others), “cannot be defined.” Up to a few years ago the indestructibility of matter, with all its tremendous implications, was accepted as a scientific axiom. To question it was to set ones self down as an ignoramus.

Then Heydweiler, and long experimentation, proved that there is an actual loss of matter in every chemical change. His experiments were later repeated and confirmed by LeBon, who says: “Contrary to the principle laid down as the basis of chemistry by Lavoisier, we do not recover in a chemical combination the total weight of the substances employed to bring about this combination.” (“The Evolution of Matter,” page 161.).

Professor Osborne Reynolds (Owens College, Manchester), proved mathematically, after twenty years work, that matter is a non-reality, and no one has arisen to prove his data or his calculations incorrect. This led to the conclusions of LeBon (“The Evolutions of Forces”) part of which are formulated as follows).

“1.Matter, hitherto deemed indestructible, slowly vanishes by the continuous dissociation of its component atoms”.

5.Force and matter are two different forms of one and the same thing.,” (What is that “thing”? No longer can we confidently say “Ether.”).

“6.Matter, therefore, is continuously transformed into energy. (But-“But we no buts”but look:

“8.Energy is no more indestructible than the matter from which it emanates.” And then this most modern of modern scientists goes on to prove this latter starting proposition. First it was ether, then matter. Now “force” or “energy” is being over thrown!.

Is the material universe doomed, therefore, to destruction? Are matter and force or ether all there is, or is there something else?.

Lord Kelvin said: “Matter is made up of thought forces”.

Carpenter said: “The source of all power is mind”. Huxley said: “If the hypothetical substance of mind is possessed of energy, I for my part am unable to see how it is to be discriminated from the hypothetical substance of matter. The more completely the materialistic is admitted the easier it is to show that the idealistic position is unassailable, if the idealist confines himself within the limits of positive knowledge.” . . . . . “And therefore,” Huxley concludes, “if I am obliged to choose between materialism and absolute idealism, I should feel compelled to accept the latter alternative”.

John Fiske wrote: “It was long ago shown that all the qualities of matter are what the mid makes them,and have no existence as such apart from the mind. In the deepest sense all that we really know is mind, and as Clifford would say, what we call the material universe is simply an imperfect picture in our minds of a real universe of mind-stuff.” (“The Idea of God,” page 15.).

Professors Stuart and Tait said: “There was gradually dawned upon the minds of scientific men the conviction that there is something besides matter of stuff in the physical universe, something which has at least as much claim to recognition as on objective reality, though, of course, afar less obvious to our sense as such, and therefore much later in being detected.

Professor Larkin, the astronomer, says: “Science now imperatively demands a Conscious Power within protoplasm-the only living substance, and Science knows that this power is mental”.

In these passages is seen the sense of mystery which the profoundest thinkers of the age have felt and the glimpses which some of them have had of the solution. What is the answer?.

The primary substance, power or principle which science has glimpsed is Mind-Infinite, Universal or Cosmic Mind-Life_Spirit-a part of which in the process of evolution is individualized and incorporated in every created form in the universe, animate or inanimate.

VIII.

Here, then, it appears, are a few “old words, old ideas, old phrases,” embodying and concentrating the wisdom of the ages, handed down from generation to generation by the deepest thinkers among men,which still lend themselves to new facts, forms and combination as true science reveals new aspects of the universe. They are imperishable and irremovable. No newly invented words can ever supplant or replace them, although new words may help top make their meaning more clear. Let our young men of science invent as many new words as they please to express the new facts which they think they have discovered. In the end they will find that there is “new thing under the sun.” Only the young men are “new” and some of them are “fresh” -very fresh!.

It would be more to the purpose if they devoted less time to inventing new words and acquainted themselves with the real meaning of some of the old words which they deride. A little time seriously spent with a good standard dictionary would solve half the problems that perplex the present-day “scientist”!.

Take the word “spirit,” which seemingly aroused the ire of Mr. Kettering, as it has that of others who do not take the trouble to inform themselves of its origin and scientific meaning; and bear in mind, please,that this word stands for something which is no more mysterious than is energy, force, electricity, magnetism or gravitation, with which in the last analysis, it is synonymous.

Spirit is authoritatively defined as: 1.”The principle of life and vital energy,especially when regarded as separable from the material organism, mysterious in nature, and ascribable to a divine origin . . . In the Bible, soul and spirit are sometimes synonymous; something the latter appears a subordinated to the former; but finally spirit comes to stand for the more truly divine and permanent principle in the complex nature of man.” (Is there not such a principle in man?).

2.”Specifically, the invisible and incorporeal principle in man; the principle of self-consciousness, self-activity, and of rational power in general; that which signifies a likeness in man to the Divine Being, whether as now or formerly associated with a human body; personality”.

For the words as correctly used in Hahnemanns time, we may go back to “Walkers Dictionary” (1732-1807), first published in 1791,and held as an authority for more than fifty years, passing through more than thirty editions.

Walker, following Johnson, defines spirit by derivation as “Breath, wind in motion; an immaterial substance; the soul of man;anything eminently pure and refined; that which hath power or energy.” “Spiritual,” Walker defines as: District from matter, immaterial, incorporeal, mental, intellectual, not grows, refined from external things, relative only to the mind ; not temporal, relating to the things of heaven” (that is, eternal, permanent things).

Will Mr. Kettering please invent a better or more understandable word? Or will he obliterate the truly scientific concept for which it has stood so long?.

Take next the word “principle,” frequently used and misused in scientific and philosophical discussion:

Principle is defined as !.”A source or cause from which a thing proceeds; a power that acts continuously or uniformly; a permanent or fundamental cause that naturally or necessarily produces certain results, as the regulative principle in nature; the vital principle.

2.That which is inherent in anything, determining its nature; essential character; essence; endowment; original faculty.

3.A law of nature as illustrated in the mechanical powers; a law of mechanics under which a given mechanism accomplishes certain results”.

In philosophy the word has been used to mean: “(a) one of the ultimate essential elements that enter into the composition of all being:: (b) a moving cause, force or power, by which being manifests itself” (c) final cause as explaining the purposive phenomena is this manifestation.” (“Standard Dictionary”).

Here is a very old word for a very old concept. Shall we do away with it?.

Unfortunately, many practical scientific men of today- chemists, engineers, electrical experts, many of high standing-are not broadly educated. They have been specially and intensively educated in the practical phases of their particular science historically, nor broadly in its theoretical and philosophical relations to other sciences. They are not familiar with the language of general science and philosophy. In their haste to master the book of knowledge, they have plunged into the last chapter first and so come to imagine that they are the first to confront certain problems, some of which are as old as the mind of man, or offer as new certain solutions which were presented before they were born.

We have an illustration of this in Mr. Ketterings description of the theory and principle of “The Elective Affinity of Drugs” as “the new, scientifically established and accepted principle.” We and gland indeed to have this principle substantiated at this late date by one who stands so high as a practical, hard-headed modern scientist. But why “new”? The words, the phrase and the theory are all old, and hence apparently should have come under the speakers condemnation.

The principle of the elective (or attractive) affinity of drugs was enunciated and ably expounded by Dr. Charles Julius Hempel in his Science of Homoeopathy, as long ago as 1860- sixty- three years ago; and many since his time have resorted to it to explain the phenomena of drug action. It can therefore hardly be called “new” in the sense of the being a recently propounded hypothesis in medicine, nor as being newly established and accepted as Mr. Kettering apparently thought.

Clinical experience as well as experimental research has been demonstrating the truth of this principle continuously ever since Hahnemann began his experiments with drugs upon healthy human subjects more than a century ago. It is recognized logical corollary of the universal law of reciprocal action upon which is founded the Hahnemann method of cure by symptom-similarity.

If Mr. Kettering had known that the formula “Likes cure Likes” is merely a paraphrase in medical jargon of the Law of Reciprocal Action (“Action and reaction are equal and opposite”), as this department has repeatedly explained, would he have presumed to call it “a theoretic thought which appeals to the scientist as pure “bunk”- “fake”?.

In closing let me list just a few more of the many “mysteries” which science has been unable to penetrate because its fundamental materialistic principles and hypotheses are all wrong-for which we have the admissions of some of the greatest scientists themselves (Selected).

Why does the ninth satellite of Saturn revolve in a direction contrary to the other eight, and contrary to the general rotation of our solar system?.

Why does not the Sun get appreciably cooler?.

Why is a comet attracted, and the particles of its tail apparently repelled by the sun?.

Why does chemical affinity work in different ways on different substances?.

What is Electricity? Magnetism,” Attraction? Gravity? Light? Heat?.

Stuart Close
Stuart Close