EVERY school-boy is aware that there is a mysterious power in certain numbers like the seven and the nine, and that in permutations to which such numbers may be subjected the most carious result are continually brought to light. The school-boy, however, is not likely, from such phenomena, to draw the conclusion that pure mathematics and exact geometry underlie every process in nature, and determine also every fact and function of what we call life.
It is not the object of the present essay to discover a new or to formulate an old hypothesis, but rather to all attention to certain well-known facts and to show that the logical and inevitable deductions that lie very near the surface of all phenomena whatsoever point our a law of nature hitherto overlooked by the western world but well known to the ancients. The apprehension of this law becomes, in the hands of the intelligent and unbiased student, a key to psychology.
I shall assume nothing that is not demonstrable either by scientific research in the realm of physics or by logical reasoning in the realm of metaphysics. These are the two realms in which man’s being exists, and the two methods by which we derive what we call knowledge. Exact observation and correct reasoning are the agencies in all our investigations. As the base and the capital stand to the perfect column, so stand observation and reason to exact knowledge.
The physicist resolves the universe into matter force, or mass and motion; the metaphysician into law and order; the physiologist into structure and function; the psychologist into consciousness and intelligence; while the philosopher, through his apprehension of universal order and harmony-diversity in unity and unity in diversity-sees behind a boundless and eternal nature, an intelligence that works by law and determines evolution.
Knowledge is the combined result of all these forces and processes. Nature, in order to be apprehended, must be viewed and studied from every point of observation. Hence the knower must be at once the physicist, the metaphysician, the physiologist, psychologist, and philosopher. All fragmentary or one-sided views are not only incomplete, they are generally misleading.
Nature exists as an eternal unity, without beginning or end in time; creation and duration are aspects of eternity. What we call “beginning” and “end” are but the succeeding changes when endless duration is broken into fragments called time. Every beginning has been preceded by what we call an ending, or the close of a previous cycle. Every so-called end will be followed by a new beginning, or the dawn of a new cycle.
The first postulate in the last analysis attainable thus far by man is the idea of space. The idea of abstract space is not emptiness but a conditioned fulness. It is the boundless and external potency, continually evolving into universal actuality, and again receding into its source. This appearance and disappearance is periodical and rhythmical, and time is but the measure of its pace. Evolution is the wave of its ebb and flow; the ceaseless impulse that differentiates the one into the many, the universal into the particular, and, in this differentiation, the individual epitomizes the universal.
Every atom, like a mirror, reflects the face of the universe. Space is, therefore, full of substance, and this substance is the root of all matter. Space is full of energy, and this energy is the parent of all force and determines all motion. We have thus a trinity of concepts flowing from out first unity-space-and this trinity is space, substance, and energy. Behind all matter and motion we discern rhythm, order and proportion, or intelligence, and the form of this manifestation, that is, its persistency, recurrence, periodicity, and harmony, we call law. As the whole must necessarily include all of its parts, every essence and phenomenon, manifesting in a part, must be latent in the whole, and this includes life an consciousness.
Starting thus with our concept of boundless and eternal nature, we have universal substance endowed with universal energy, governed by universal law, and manifesting universal life, universal intelligence, and universal consciousness. The terms, ‘living” and “dead,” whether applied to atom or sun, to microbe or to man, are relative only. Back of all apparent death lies the eternal potency that we call life, that has made has made it possible to die.
Back of all apparent unconsciousness lies the universal consciousness from which individual consciousness springs, into which it returns periodically only to again emerge from the latent to the actual or manifesting. Hence are derived the cycles of time, as the cycles of life; the whirling of suns and the circulation of the blood. It is but the motion, the periodicity, the rhythm and harmony of the universal manifesting in the individual.
Here, then, lies the basis of psychology, psyche-logos: a knowledge of the soul. But where is the key to its knowledge and interpretation?.
I us take two functions in man with which we are quite familiar, sight and hearing. With all the diversity and multiplicity of the phenomena of sight and hearing, we find an underlying harmony. If we were never conscious of but one color and one sound, if monochrome and monotone took the place of the endless diversity in these two realms, we would be unconscious of either sound or color. These functions exist only be virtue of diversity in harmony.
To illustrate this, we may imagine ourselves living i a world of absolute light, where no object ever cast a shadow, and from which all gradations of light and darkness had disappeared. The result would be that we could have no knowledge or experience of light at all. Absolute light is thus synonymous with absolute darkness. This concept is the basis of what, in the oldest philosophies, is called the “pairs of opposites.” The same reasoning and the same conclusions are applicable to sound, color, taste, and, finally, to the very basis of mind no less than of sensation. What we call thought is but the changes occurring in our state of consciousness.
To return to our analysis of sight and hearing, we thus see that perception and sensation depend on change and diversity. The basis of all this change is number and harmony. Not only have we primary colors and primary tones, but every color and sound is related to every other in nature by concrete degree, just as every chemical substance has its combining number, and is related to every other substance by a fixed and inherent law of proportion by which it enters into combination. Number also determines form, so that the saying of Plato, that “God geomatrizes” expresses a universal law.
The key-note of all this rhythm and harmony of relation and combination is the septenary, called in music or harmony the “octave.” Every octave is simply a series of septenaries, the last tone of one octave being the first of the succeeding to the human ear and raise the pitch octave after octave until the tone again becomes inaudible to the average ear, science has estimated that about thirty-four octaves would intervene between the vanishing point of sound before reaching those ethereal vibrations which give us the color red of the solar spectrum. What becomes of the vibrations of these intervening octaves?
There are certainly vibrations below these audible to us as above, and colors that our eyes cannot see. The colors of the spectrum from red to violet are as definitely related to each other and to their primaries as are the vibrating notes of a musical scale.
If we discern the underlying principle of medium vibrating rhythmically, according to mathematical proportion, and each sense-perception of a definite sound or color as a response or repetition in consciousness of that particular vibration, we shall discover that every audible sound, and the basis of consciousness of both sound and color a common coefficient of both. In other words, consciousness holds the ground where sound and color merge in one, and sense-perception corresponds to the varying scales of colors and tones.
Thus the perceptions and sensations bear the same relation to consciousness as dose thought, viz., each and all represent changes-orderly and harmonious-in our states of consciousness. The measure of this rhythm, then pattern upon which it rests and builds, is the septenary. That this key-note and octave exist, and are fundamental in nature no less than in man, Professor Crookes has shown in his lecture on the “Origin of the Elements” where elements unite in groups of seven.
Equally remarkable was Deslandre’s account of his discovery of fourteen lines in hydrogen rendered possible by spectral observations of the sun and stars, resulting in the detection of a striking analogy between these lines and certain harmonies of sound. When we remember that hydrogen is the lightest of known gases, and has long been theoretically regarded as the possible basis of all other elements, and believed to be the nearest approach to Professor Crooke’s protyl, we find how closely modern science is trading on the borders of ancient philosophy.
It may be further illustrated with an AEolian harp where a number of strings tuned in unison, and giving forth a key-note, will successively give forth the octave, the third fifth, etc., according as the air gives a forcible or weak impulse to the strings. The number seven as a unit of measure, and as the universal factor in all common multiples in nature and in life, is everywhere apparent. The functions of respiration and circulation in man show very clearly this same principle, having the octave as a basis. In round numbers, in a perfectly healthy individual, respiration is related to circulation as one to four.
If the respiration is eighteen per minute, the pulse-wave will be seventy-two per minute. The impulse derived from the auricular contraction is related to that derived from the ventricles as an octave. If a single impulse of the heart be divided into our parts, one-half of said impulse, that is two parts, are assigned to the ventricular contraction and the first sound, one part to the second sound, and one to an interval of rest. The direct wave arising from the ventricular contraction is followed by another of just one-half its force, though of uniform recurrence. Now illustrate this diagramatically, and it will be seen that the second wave is related to the first as an octave.
The lunar month of twenty-eight days or four weeks of seven days is well known as the basis of the menstrual function. The quickening of the foetus occurs in eighteen weeks, the period of viability consists of thirty times seven days. The monuments of antiquity, the symbolism of ancient mythologies and religions, including the Christian, are all based on this septenary division of time. The evidence is overwhelming that this factor is basic and universal in nature and in man, and it would not be profitable to elaborate it here, as any one can examine the evidence for himself. I hasten, therefore, to the special illustrations as furnishing the basis of sight and hearing, and finally of all sensation, thought and consciousness.
The phenomena of light and color, and of sound, occurring in space through the agency of the universal ether, may be apprehended as definite vibrations. Short vibratory undulations produce light and color, while long ones produce sound. Thus, upon the length, amplitude and intensity of the vibratory wave depend the quality of color and sound. Mixed, pure, concordant and dissonant tones depend on the combination of waves, according to the septenary basis, and the same way be said of the laws of harmony in color.
Now the apprehension of all these varying phenomena and their transmission to human consciousness imply the same ethereal vibrating medium within the body as without, and instruments capable of cognizing, repeating, or duplicating each specific vibration. The soul of man has been aptly compared to a “harp of a thousand strings,” and this is far more fact than fancy. In order to cognize the phenomena of nature in those two realms of sight and hearing, the ethereal basis and organic development must be an epitome of the whole.
Whatsoever nature is in magnitude, in substance, form, or energy, that, potentially at least, man is in magnitude, in substance, form or energy, that, potentially at least, man is in miniature. The eye is essentially a space-organ, and the ear a time-organ. Time is the phenomenal aspect of duration. Infinity, itself forever concealed, yet manifests as rest and motion, or space and time. The phenomena of space and time, all that the eye can see of space and color and all that the ear can sense of sound and harmony through the organs of sense, are made apprehensible as changes in our states of consciousness.
What space is to the phenomena of visible nature, the all-pervading and all-containing, that consciousness is to the sense-motor and intellectual life of man. The consciousness of the individual is one; his organs, senses, feeling, and mental states are many. The consciousness of man, therefore, corresponds to abstract space, the noumenon of all phenomena.
As space in the outer world is the all-containing, so consciousness in man is the all-container. As cosmic intelligence in the outer world manifests as law, determining order and harmony, even so the intelligence or mind of man relates him to the outer world, and presents it to his consciousness in miniature. We thus see how man in every part of his being is involved with and evolved form universal nature, so that when fully evolved he will be its perfect epitome.
If, now, we realize how large a part of man’s conscious life is apprehended through the phenomena and organs of space and time, and if we find, as representing these, in, light and color, and in sound, the rhythm of al vibrations and the harmony of all combinations determined by the octave or septenary basis; and, furthermore, the interval between the highest audible sound and the lowest vibration as visible color already defined by science, approximately, at least, as thirty-four octaves, thus taking the whole range of etheric waves from the lowest note of the grand organ to the violet ray of the solar spectrum, we are forced to one of two conclusions, either the analogy breaks, and the basis of harmony fails, or we are forced to the conclusion that the septenary division as the basis of harmony in light and sound so completely demonstrated in the functions of sight and hearing, is basic in the whole organism of man, and thus affords the key to psychology.
A still further conclusion remain to be drawn. The basic or permanent factor in the life of man is consciousness. All mental states, like all perceptions, sensations, and emotions, occur as changes in our states of consciousness. Helmholzt has shown that the difference between consonant and dissonant intervals is not merely arbitrary, but is the result of the nature of the intervals is not merely arbitrary, but is the result of the nature of the intervals themselves.
The effect of discordant intervals or tones is expectancy, discomfort, unrest, while the effect of concordant intervals is just the opposite, thus showing the intimate relation existing between the conscious life of man and universal nature. Aside from all changes occurring in our states of consciousness, consciousness itself may exist on different planes. That is, while still subject to constant change in momentary experience of phenomena, it may change its entire relation as to planes in space.
The reason why comparatively little progress has been made in psychology, is because the true relation of thought or mind to consciousness has been overlooked. This true relation is best discerned from the basis of synthesis evolved to a complete system of philosophy. Such a philosophy is concealed in the Rig Veda and furnishes the key to the Upanishads. It is, therefore, among the oldest of literatures. Pythagoras and Plato derived for this source their entire philosophy, while Descarte, Leibnitz, Spinoza, and Schopenhauer, each gained lasting fame from a few of its fragments.
The consciousness of man displays itself on seven planes, each plane divided into seven sub-planes; and all these planes and sub-planes are derived from and correspond with like planes in universal and eternal nature. It is true that it would be difficult to demonstrate this in the present stage of man’s evolution, and that it would require a good sized volume to outline and illustrate it. But it may be easily grasped as a philosophical concept, and we shall then find that al that we know of sound and color justifies this concept, and that if the law of analogy holds, the law that underlies sensation and perception here is common to the whole range of man’s sensation and intellectual life.
The idea regarding the physical universe is of one substratum, universal and eternal, differentiating into seven planes; and each plane is to be regarded as related to the next by definite wave-lengths or rates of vibration of the one universal substance. This inherent and definite relation enables substance from one plane to be converted into that of another by a change of vibration, and as a tone in music may sweep throughout the entire range of the octave and pass on to the next, so any substance in nature may be transferred from plane to plane by a change of vibration of its atoms or molecules. This is what actually occurs, when water is converted into stamp, and is the principle by which the “radiant matter” of Crookes and the “inter-etheric force” of Keeley are derived.
Now, if man be regarded as an epitome of nature, and as Dryden expressed it, “The diapason closing full in man,” then every principle in nature, either potentially or actually, must be represented in him. It is the diversity and complexity of man’s nature that bewilder, and in the absence of any key to its comprehension confusion alone reigns. Consciousness is the basis of man’s sensuous and intellectual life.
All avenues of feeling, sensation,a nd perception lead to and merge in consciousness; and all mental changes and intellectual operations occur as changes in our states of consciousness. If there are really seven planes in the differentiation of matter in nature, then corresponding therewith there are seven planes of consciousness in man. It may be impossible to demonstrate this empirically at present, but it may be justified by analogy and sound philosophy.
We speak of persons in syncope and under the influence of anaesthetics as unconscious, when this is really not the case. They have, it is true, lost for the time ordinary consciousness of sensation in the tissues, and of outward things, but they are still conscious on other planes, of which perhaps only a glimpse remains in memory.
Consciousness is regarded as the changing, evanescent factor, and mind as the real substratum, when the fact is precisely the opposite. Now, in the ordinary affairs of life, we are more or less familiar with three planes of consciousness, viz., the ordinary waking state, the dream state, and the condition of dreamless sleep. Memory, however, is something as distinct from consciousness as is thought or perception. To say that we are entirely unconscious is one thing, to say that we have no memory of any event is quite another thing. Memory is the principle and the process of association of events and ideas occurring in consciousness. If there are no events, no ideas, no changes, then there are no elements for association, and hence to memory.
We may say, that for the time, the bodily avenues are closed to sensation and perception, and that the brain cases to function, and hence, that for the time there is no thought. We are, then, not sensitive, not perceptive, toward outer nature, and we are unthinking but never unconscious. The missing link is memory, which fails to connect the shifting experiences of outer life with those of dreamless sleep, syncope, hypnotic states, anaesthesia, and the like, while to say that we lose consciousness is to entirely mistake its nature.
In day-dream or revere, we are as unconscious sometimes of the outer world as in dreamless slumber, the difference consisting in the function of memory, and this is often largely absent or in abeyance in reverie. Experiments in hypnotism give many facts in full support of this line of reasoning. No one pretends to say that the subject in hypnotism is unconscious, and the hypnotizer can determine whether the hypnotic consciousness shall be connected with that of ordinary life by the link of memory or not.
If we regard all these varying conditions as a shifting of our planes of consciousness, and in no case as lose of consciousness itself, a great deal of obscurity will disappear from the realm of psychology. In delirium, monomania, hallucination, alcoholism and insanity, the planes of consciousness become disordered, disjointed, or wholly changed.
It is the orderly association of ideas that is disturbed. Undue prominence is given to one idea, and it becomes a hallucination. Its relation to consciousness is therefore abnormal and the whole mental realm “deranged,” while consciousness, per se, remains unaltered. Consciousness is like a double mirror presenting one face to the phenomenal world of change, reflecting the shifting panorama of the mind, and indirectly, through the mind, the sensation derived through the avenues of feeling and emotion from the outer world. The other face of the mirror is turned within towards its original source in the principle of cosmic ideation, or the ideas of eternal nature.