“Spheres unknown below our feet; spheres still more unknown and still more unexplored above us; between the two a handful of moles, blind to God’s great light, and deaf to the whispers of the invisible world, boasting that they lead mankind. Where? Onward, they claim; but we have a right to doubt it. The greatest of our physiologists, when placed side by side with a Hindu fakir, who knows neither how to read nor write, will very soon find himself feeling as foolish as a school-boy who has neglected to learn his lesson.
It is not by vivisecting living animals that a physiologist will assure himself of the existence of man’s soul, nor on the blade of the knife can he extract it from a human body. “What sane man”, inquires Sergeant Cox, the President of the London Psychological Society, “what sane man who knows nothing of magnetism or physiology, who had never witnessed an experiment nor learned its principles, would proclaim himself a fool by denying its facts and denouncing its theory?” The truthful answer to this would be, “two-thirds of our modern-day scientists.”
The impertinence, if truth can ever be impertinent, must be laid at the door of him who uttered it – a scientist of the number of those few who are brave and honest enough to utter wholesome truths, however disagreeable. And there is no mistaking the real meaning of the imputation, for immediately after the irreverent inquiry, the learned lecturer remarks as pointedly:
“The chemist takes his electricity from the electrician; the physiologist looks to the geologist for his geology – each would deem it an impertinence in the other if he were to pronounce judgment in the branch of knowledge not his own. Strange it is, but true as strange, that this rational rule is wholly set at naught in the treatment of psychology. Physical scientists deem themselves competent to pronounce a dogmatic judgment upon psychology and all that appertains to it, without having witnessed any of its phenomena, and in entire ignorance or its principles and practice.”
We sincerely hope that the two eminent biologists, Mr. Mendeleyeff, of St. Petersburg, and Mr. Ray Lankester, of London fame, will bear themselves under the above as unflinchingly as their living victims do when palpitating under the dissecting knives.”
H. P. Blavatsky