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

“One of the cleverest productions of Professor Tyndall’s pen is his caustic essay upon Martineau and Materialism. At the same time it is one which in future years the author will doubtless be only too ready to trim of certain unpardonable grossnesses of expression.

 
For the moment, however, we will not deal with these, but consider what he has to say of the phenomenon of consciousness. He quotes this question from Mr. Martineau:  “A man can say ‘I feel, I think, I love’; but how does consciousness infuse itself into the problem?”

 
And thus answers:  “The passage from the physics of the brain to the corresponding facts of consciousness is unthinkable. Granted that a definite thought and a molecular action in the brain occur simultaneously; we do not possess the intellectual organ nor apparently any rudiments of the organ, which would enable us to pass by a process of reasoning from one to the other. They appear together, but we do not know why.

 
Were our minds and senses so expanded, strengthened and illuminated, as to enable us to see and feel the very molecules of the brain; were we capable of following all their motions, all their groupings, all their electric discharges, if such there be; and were we intimately acquainted with the corresponding states of thought and feeling, we should be as far as ever from the solution of the problem, ‘How are these physical processes connected with the facts of consciousness?’ The chasm between the two classes of phenomena would still remain intellectually impassable.”

 
This chasm, as impassable to Professor Tyndall as the fire-mist where the scientists is confronted with his unknowable cause, is a barrier only to men without spiritual intuitions.”

 
H. P. Blavatsky

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