A flood of recollections came over me, a vivid remembrance of my earth-learned school philosophy. ” I rebel again,” I said, ” I deny your statements. We can neither be moving, nor can we be out of the atmosphere. Fool that I have been not to have sooner and better used my reasoning faculties, not to have at once rejected your statements concerning the disappearance of the atmosphere.”
” I await your argument.”
” Am I not speaking? Is other argument necessary? Have I not heard your voice, and that, too, since you asserted that we had left the atmosphere?”
” Have not men demonstrated, and is it not accepted beyond the shadow of a doubt, that sound is produced by vibrations of the air?”
” You speak truly; as men converse on surface earth.”
” This medium- the air- in wave vibrations, strikes upon the drum of the ear, and thus impresses the brain,” I continued.
” I agree that such is the teachings of your philosophy; go on.”
” It is unnecessary; you admit the facts, and the facts refute you; there must be an atmosphere to convey sound.”
” Can not you understand that you are not now on the surface of the earth? Will you never learn that the philosophy of your former life is not philosophy here? That earth-bound science is science only with surface-earth men? Here science is a fallacy. All that you have said is true of surface earth, but your argument is invalid where every condition is different from the conditions that prevail thereon. You use the organs of speech in addressing me as you once learned to use them, but such physical efforts are unnecessary to convey sense-impressions in this condition of rest and complacency, and you waste energy in employing them. You assert and believe that the air conveys sound; you have been taught such theories in support of a restricted philosophy; but may I ask you if a bar of iron, a stick of wood, a stream of water, indeed any substance known to you placed against the ear will not do the same, and many substances even better than the atmosphere?”
” This I admit.”
” Will you tell me how the vibration of any of these bodies impresses the seat of hearing?”
” It moves the atmosphere which strikes upon the tympanum of the ear.”
” You have not explained the phenomenon; how does that tympanic membrane communicate with the brain?”
” By vibrations, I understand,” I answered, and then I began to feel that this assertion was a simple statement, and not sufficient to explain how matter acts upon mind, whatever mind may be, and I hesitated.
” Pray do not stop,” he said ; ” how is it that a delicate vibrating film of animal membrane can receive and convey sound to a pulpy organic mass that is destitute of elasticity, and which consists mostly of water, for the brain is such in structure, and vibrations like those you mention, can not, by your own theory, pass through it as vibrations through a sonorous material, or even reach from the tympanum of the ear to the nearest convolution of the brain.”
” I can not explain this, I admit,” was my reply.
” Pass that feature, then, and concede that this tympanic membrane is capable of materially affecting brain tissue by its tiny vibrations, how can that slimy, pulpy formation mostly made up of water, communicate with the soul of man, for you do not claim, I hope, that brain material is either mind, conscience, or soul?”
I confessed my inability to answer or even to theorize on the subject, and recognizing my humiliation, I begged him to open the door to such knowledge.
” The vibration of the atmosphere is necessary to man, as earthy man is situated,” he said. ” The coarser attributes known as matter formations are the crudities of nature, dust swept from space. Man’s organism is made up of the roughest and lowest kind of space materials; he is surrounded by a turbulent medium, the air, and these various conditions obscure or destroy the finer attributes of his ethereal nature, and prevent a higher spiritual evolution. His spiritual self is enveloped in earth, and everywhere thwarted by earthy materials. He is insensible to the finer influences of surrounding media by reason of the overwhelming necessity of a war for existence with the grossly antagonistic materialistic confusion that everywhere confronts, surrounds, and pervades him. Such a conflict with extraneous matter is necessary in order that he may retain his earthy being, for, to remain a mortal, he must work to keep body and soul together. His organs of communication and perception are of earth, earthy; his nature is cast in a mold of clay, and the blood within him gurgles and struggles in his brain, a whirlpool of madly rushing liquid substances, creating disorder in the primal realms of consciousness. He is ignorant of this. inward turmoil because he has never been without it, as ignorant as he is of the rank odors of the gases of the atmosphere that he has always breathed, and can not perceive because of the benumbed olfactory nerves. Thus it is that all his subtler senses are inevitably blunted and perverted, and his vulgar nature preponderates. The rich essential part of his own self is unknown, even to himself. The possibility of delight and pleasure in an acquaintance with the finer attributes of his own soul is clouded by this shrouding materialistic presence that. has, through countless generations, become a part of man, and he even derives most of his mental pleasures from such acts as tend to encourage the animal passions. Thus it follows that the sensitive, highly developed, extremely attenuated part of his inner being has become subservient to the grosser elements. The baser part of his nature has become dominant. He remains insensible to impressions from the highly developed surrounding media which, being incapable of reaching his inner organism other than through mechanical agencies, are powerless to impress. Alas, only the coarser conditions of celestial phenomena can affect him, and the finer expressions of the universe of life and force are lost to his spiritual apprehension.”
Would you have me view the soul of man as I would a material being?”
” Surely,” he answered; ” it exists practically as does the more gross forms of matter, and in exact accord with natural laws. Associated with lower forms of matter, the soul of man is a temporary slave to the enveloping substance. The ear of man as now constituted can hear only by means of vibrations of such media as conduct vibrations in matter- for example, the air; but were man to be deprived of the organs of hearing, and then exist for generations subject to evolutions from within, whereby the acuteness of the spirit would become intensified, or permitted to perform its true function, he would learn to communicate soul to soul, not only with mankind, but with beings celestial that surround, and are now unknown to him. This he would accomplish through a medium of communication that requires neither ear nor tongue. To an extent your present condition is what men call supernatural, although in reality you have been divested of only a part of your former material grossness, which object has been accomplished under perfectly natural conditions; your mind no longer requires the material medium by which to converse with the spiritual. We are conversing now by thought contact, there is no atmosphere here, your tongue moves merely from habit, and not from necessity. I am reading your mind as you in turn are mine, neither of us is speaking as you were accustomed to speak.”
” I can not accept that assertion,” I said; ” it is to me impossible to realize the existence of such conditions.”
” As it is for any man to explain any phenomenon in life,” he said. ” Do you not remember that you ceased to respire, and were not conscious of the fact?”
” That your heart had stopped beating, your blood no longer circulated, while you were in ignorance of the change?”
” That is also true.”
” Now I will prove my last assertion. Close your mouth, and think of a question you wish to propound.”
I did so, and to my perfect understanding and comprehension he answered me with closed mouth.
” What will be the end?” I exclaimed, or thought aloud. ” I am possessed of nearly all the attributes that I once supposed inherent only in a corpse, yet I live, I see clearly, I hear plainly, I have a quickened being, and a mental perception intensified and exquisite. Why and how has this been accomplished? What will be the result of this eventful journey?”
” Restful, you should say,” he remarked; ” the present is restful, the end will be peace. Now I will give you a lesson concerning the words Why and How that you have just used.”