Isis Unveiled: chapter III (The mirror of the soul)

“We have to add but a few more words before we drop this unpleasant subject. We have found Positivists particularly happy in the delusion that the greatest scientists of Europe were Comtists.

How far their claims may be just, as regards other savants, we do not know, but Huxley, whom all Europe considers one of her greatest scientists, most decidedly declines that honor, and Dr. Maudsley, of London, follows suit.

In a lecture delivered by the former gentleman in 1868, in Edinburgh, on The Physical Basis of Life, he even appears to be very much shocked at the liberty taken by the Archbishop of York, in identifying him with Comte’s philosophy.

“So far as I am concerned”, says Mr. Huxley, “the most reverend prelate might dialectically hew Mr. Comte in pieces, as a modern Agag, and I would not attempt to stay his hand.

In so far as my study of what specially characterizes the positive philosophy has led me, I find, therein, little or nothing of any scientific value, and a great deal which is as thoroughly antagonistic to the very essence of science as anything in ultramontane Catholicism.

In fact, Comte’s philosophy in practice might be compendiously described as Catholicism minus Christianity.”

Further, Huxley even becomes wrathful, and falls to accusing Scotchmen of ingratitude for having allowed the Bishop to mistake Comte for the founder of a philosophy which belonged by right to Hume.

“It was enough”, exclaims the professor, “to make David Hume turn in his grave, that here, almost within earshot of his house, an interested audience should have listened, without a murmur, whilst his most characteristic doctrines were attributed to a French writer of fifty years later date, in whose dreary and verbose pages we miss alike the vigor of thought and the clearness of style….”

Poor Comte! It appears that the highest representatives of his philosophy are now reduced, at least in this country, to “one physicist, one physician who has made a specialty of nervous diseases, and one lawyer.”

A very witty critic nicknamed this desperate trio, “anomalistic triad, which, amid its arduous labors, finds no time to acquaint itself with the principles and laws of their language.””

H. P. Blavatsky

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