isis unveiled : xii (forbidden ground)

“Every day brings new admissions of scientists themselves, and the criticisms of well-informed lay observers. We find the following illustrative paragraph in a daily paper:

“It is curious to note the various opinions which prevail among scientific men in regard to some of the most ordinary natural phenomena. The aurora is a notable case in point. Descartes considered it a meteor falling from the upper regions of the atmosphere. Halley attributed it to the magnetism of the terrestrial globe, and Dalton agreed with this opinion. Coates supposed that the aurora was derived from the fermentation of a matter emanating from the earth. Marion held it to be a consequence of a contact between the bright atmosphere of the sun and the atmosphere of our planet.

Euler thought the aurora proceeded from the vibrations of the ether among the particles of the terrestrial atmosphere. Canton and Franklin regarded it as a purely electrical phenomenon, and Parrot attributed it to the conflagration of hydrogen-carbonide escaping from the earth in consequence of the putrefaction of vegetable substances, and considered the shooting stars as the initial cause of such conflagration.

De la Rive and Oersted concluded it to be an electro-magnetic phenomenon, but purely terrestrial. Olmsted suspected that a certain nebulous body revolved around the sun in a certain time, and that when this body came into the neighborhood of the earth, a part of its gaseous material mixed with our atmosphere, and that this was the origin of the phenomenon of the aurora.”  And so we might say of every branch of science.

Thus it would seem that even as to the most ordinary natural phenomena, scientific opinion is far from being unanimous. There is not an experimentalist or theologian, who, in dealing with the subtile relations between mind and matter, their genesis and ultimate, does not draw a magical circle, the plane of which he calls forbidden ground.

Where faith permits a clergyman to go, he goes; for, as Tyndall says, “they do not lack the positive element – namely, the love of truth; but the negative element, the fear of error, preponderates.”

But the trouble is, that their dogmatic creed weighs down the nimble feet of their intellect, as the ball and chain does the prisoner in the trenches.”

H. P. Blavatsky

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