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Introduction:

In 1901 AD, Richard Maurice Bucke, psychiatrist, published "Cosmic Consciousness" a year before he died and revealed in great detail his etiology of insanity as purely evolutionary biology and viewed the insane and "mentally ill" as incurable evolutionary misfits, failures in "natural selection" with weak, deformed minds operating at mere animal level: "We know that in some men the intellectual functions are so unstable that as soon as they are established they crumble down-crushed (as it were) by their own weight - like a badly built house ... cases of so-called developmental insanity ... in which the mind falls into ruins as soon as it comes into existence or even before it is fully formed ... running down at once back into chaos. The hopelessness of this class of cases (as regards recovery) is well understood by all alienists [psychiatrists], and it is not difficult to see why such insanities should and must be practically incurable, since their very existence denotes the absence of the elements necessary to form and maintain a normal human mind in the subjects in question.... inevitable that we should meet with constant lapses, omissions, defects, breakdowns. Clinical observation teaches day by day that the above reasoning is solidly grounded." Being deceived by Charles Darwin, he was also deceived by the Haeckel fraud of embryonic recapitulation, practiced eugenics by sterilizing over 109 women Canadian in his last ten years in order to prevent further pollution of the human race with their obviously defective genes. Of course he justified his dark inward "survival of the fittest" motives of cutting out female ovaries with the recently discovered endocrine treatments for hypothyroidism and the current view that insanity was caused by secretions of the sex organs and masturbation. He justified his practice of putting a wire cage over the penis or sewing a suture (stitch) directly onto the prepuce, to prevent further insanity caused by masturbation, but it was more likely that it was a method of birth control within the London Asylum. Like Haeckel, Bucke falsified his "clinical trials" as proof he had discovered the best treatment for insanity. He was a racist who believed African Negroes and Australian Aboriginals operated on the animal level of mere "simple consciousness" which accounted for their much lower rate of insanity that Aryan nations who had developed the higher levels of "Self and Cosmic Consciousness". "members of low races, such as the Bushmen of South Africa and native Australians, who never attain to this faculty [of self-consciousness]... It seems impossible to believe that as a race these creatures are self conscious." White people had evolved their "higher executive faculties" at a fast rate and this made them more susceptible to insanity. Bucke felt that Negros and Aboriginals couldn't go insane, because insanity involved the loss of higher thinking which they did not possess. For Bucke there were three stages of intellectual evolution within humans on earth: 1. low: animal men with mere "simple consciousness". 2. average men with "self-consciousness". 3. the 14 god's with "Cosmic Consciousness" which represented what all men would "evolve into", in the "utopian socialist future". "This new race is in fact of being born from us, and in the near future it will occupy and possess the earth". His book, Cosmic Consciousness was his personal inventory his 14 guru's who represented this future race: Buddha, Jesus, Paul, Plotinus, Mohammed, Dante, Casas, Yepes, Bacon, Behmen, Blake, Balzac, Walt Whitman, Carpenter. (He obviously viewed himself as the 15th) When his idol, mentor and fellow humanist, Walt Whitman died, he proclaimed, "The Christ is dead!" and dedicated his book to Whitman as possessing "The Most Exalted Moral Nature". He was also communist who looked forward to the classic Marxist "utopia" where religion would vanish when in the future every man will be his own god: "all religions known and named today will be melted down ... Each soul will feel and know itself to be immortal". Although the son of a church minister, he had very confused religious views that were a mix of atheism, humanism, Bahai, Buddhism, John Lennon, Shirley Maclaine while firmly parroting (but disbelieving) the Christian doctrine of conscious life after death. Speaking to his deceased son in 1899, he echoes what his father taught him: "Only a little while now and we shall be again together and with us those other noble and well-beloved souls gone before. I am sure I shall meet you and them". The material part of his dichotomous view of man, was that the intellect was physically located in cerebral-spinal nervous system and that the moral nature and emotions are physically located in the sympathetic nervous system. He was the first chief psychiatrist at the Hamilton Asylum for the Insane (later the Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital [HPH] and today St Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, West 5th Campus) in Ontario Canada for a year, then moved and spent the last 25 years of his life as head of the "London Asylum" in Ontario. He was co-founder of the University of Western Ontario's medical school. Being widely respected and very influential, he is responsible for setting the type of care all Canadians have experienced including insulin shock injections up to 1960 and ECT to the present. In Canada, chemical psychiatry has been the dominant view ever since. Bucke lobbied 350 doctors in Ontario for support of his sterilization treatment for insanity. For the amount of actual influence he had, there wasn't much science he had right, being trained as a humoral doctor and adopting the view of William Battie (1758 AD) and Nicholas Robinson (1729 AD) that insanity was caused by defective nerves and body secretions. His evolutionary view and biologic etiology of the human mind led him to view most cases of insanity as incurable. Just as Darwin conceived his theory of biologic evolution on an incorrect understanding of the geology he observed at Tierra del Fuego, so too Bucke conceived his theory evolution of the mind upon Darwin. As a philosopher, Bucke's views are widely accepted among today's chemical psychiatrists, who are restrained from harming people like Bucke did, only by law. His hostile views against Christianity endure to this very day in the Canadian Mental health industry. Clarence B. Farrar, the first head of the Toronto Psychiatric Hospital (TPH) when it opened in 1925 AD, was a strong advocate of sterilizing the insane and a member of Eugenics Society of Canada (ESC)." (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD)

B. Quotations:

"To make the matter clear it must be understood that there are three forms or grades of consciousness. (1) Simple Consciousness, which is possessed by say the upper half of the animal kingdom. By means of this faculty a dog or a horse is just as conscious of the things about him as a man is ; he is also conscious of his own limbs and body and he knows that these are a part of himself. (2) Over and above this Simple Consciousness, which is possessed by man as by animals, man has another which is called Self Consciousness. By virtue of this faculty man is not only conscious of trees, rocks, waters, his own limbs and body, but he becomes conscious of himself as a distinct entity apart from all the rest of the universe. It is as good as certain that no animal can realize himself in that way. Further, by means of self consciousness, man (who knows as the animal knows) becomes capable of treating his own mental states as objects of conscious-ness. The animal is, as it were, immersed in his consciousness as a fish in the sea ; he cannot, even in imagination, get outside of it for one moment so as to realize it. But man by virtue of self consciousness can step aside, as it were, from himself and think : "Yes, that thought that I had about that matter is true ; I know it is true and I know that I know it is true." ... Cosmic Consciousness is a third form which is as far above Self Consciousness as is that above Simple Consciousness. With this form, of course, both simple and self consciousness persist (as simple consciousness persists when self consciousness is acquired), but added to them is the new faculty so often named and to be named in this volume. The prime characteristic of cosmic consciousness is, as its name implies, a consciousness of the cosmos, that is, of the life and order of the universe." (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, p 1)

"The immediate future of our race, the writer thinks, is indescribably hopeful. There are at the present moment impending over us three revolutions, the least of which would dwarf the ordinary historic upheaval called by that name into absolute insignificance. They are : (1) The material, economic and social revolution which will depend upon and result from the establishment of aerial navigation. (2) The economic and social revolution which will abolish individual ownership and rid the earth at once of two immense evils-riches and poverty. And (3) The psychical revolution of which there is here question." (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, p 4)

"Before Socialism [arrived] crushing toil, cruel anxiety, insulting and demoralizing riches, poverty and its ills will become subjects for historical novels. In contact with the flux of cosmic consciousness all religions known and named today will be melted down. The human soul will be revolutionized. Religion will absolutely dominate the race. It will not depend on tradition. It will not be believed and disbelieved. It will not be a part of life, belonging to certain hours, times, occasions. It will not be in sacred books nor in the mouths of priests. It will not dwell in churches and meetings and forms and days. Its life will not be in prayers, hymns nor discourses. It will not depend on special revelations, on the words of gods who came down to teach, nor on any bible or bibles. It will have no mission to save men from their sins or to secure them entrance to heaven. It will not teach a future immortality nor future glories, for immortality and all glory will exist in the here and now. The evidence of immortality will live in every heart as sight in every eye. Doubt of God and of eternal life will be as impossible as is now doubt of existence; the evidence of each will be the same. Religion will govern every minute of every day of all life. Churches, priests, forms, creeds, prayers, all agents, all intermediaries between the individual man and God will be permanently replaced by direct unmistakable intercourse. Sin will no longer exist nor will salvation be desired. Men will not worry about death or a future, about the kingdom of heaven, about what may come with and after the cessation of the life of the present body. Each soul will feel and know itself to be immortal, will feel and know that the entire universe with all its good and with all its beauty is for it and belongs to it forever. The world peopled by men possessing cosmic consciousness will be as far re-moved from the world of today as this is from the world as it was before the advent of self consciousness." (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, p 5)

"Man's progenitor was a creature (an animal) walking erect but with simple consciousness merely. He was (as are to-day the animals) incapable of sin or of the feeling of sin and equally in-capable of shame (at least in the human sense). He had no feeling or knowledge of good and evil. He as yet knew nothing of what we call work and had never labored. From this state he fell (or rose) into self consciousness, his eyes were opened, he knew that he was naked, he felt shame, acquired the sense of sin (became in fact what is called a sinner), and learned to do certain things in order to encompass certain ends-that is, he learned to labor. For weary eons this condition has lasted-the sense of sin still haunts his pathway-by the sweat of his brow he still eats bread- he is still ashamed. Where is the deliverer, the Saviour? Who or what? The Saviour of man is Cosmic Consciousness." (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, p 6)

"Although in the birth of Cosmic Consciousness the moral nature plays an important part, it will be better for many reasons to confine our attention at present to the evolution of the intellect. In this evolution there are four distinct steps. The first of them was taken when upon the primary quality of excitability sensation was established. At this point began the acquisition and more or less perfect registration of sense impressions-that is, of, percepts." (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, p 12)

"Self Consciousness having appeared in an individual, is only lost in great and rare crises-as in the delirium of fever and in some forms of insanity, notably mania" (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, p 39)

He was a evolutionist influenced by Darwin, was deceived by the Haeckel fraud of embryonic recapitulation: "To sum up: as ontogeny is nothing else but philogeny in petto -that is, as the evolution of the individual is necessarily the evolution of the race in an abridged form, simply because it cannot in the nature of things be anything else-cannot follow any other lines, there being no other lines for it to follow-it is plain that organs and faculties (speaking broadly and generally) must appear in the individual in the same order in which they appeared in the race, and the one being known, the other may with confidence be assumed." (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, p 52)

He was a evolutionist influenced by Darwin, was deceived by the Haeckel fraud of embryonic recapitulation: "For, as in his intrauterine evolution the individual man retraces and summarizes in a few brief months the evolution of the human race, physically considered, from the initial unicellular form in which individual life began through all intervening phases between that and the human form, resuming in each day the slow evolution of millions of years" (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, p 40)

"There are of course other differences than these between the lower mind and the higher-differences in intellect, and even in sense perceptions ; but these, though great in themselves, have not the supreme significance of the basic, fundamental, moral differences just mentioned. The lower mind then lacks faith, lacks courage, lacks personal force, lacks sympathy, lacks affection-that is (to sum up), it lacks peace, content, happiness. It is prone to the fear of things known, and still more to vague terror of things unknown ; it is prone to anger, rage, hatred-that is (to again sum up), to unrest, discontent, unhappiness. On the other hand, the higher mind (as compared with the lower) possesses faith, courage, personal force, sympathy, affection; that is, it possesses (relatively) happiness; is less prone to fear of things known and unknown and to anger and hatred-that is, to unhappiness." (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, p 40)

"So of purely human faculties, self consciousness, which appears in the individual at the average age of about three years, made its appearance in the race certainly more than a thousand centuries ago, while the musical sense, which does not appear in the individual before adolescence or puberty, cannot (to judge by the records) have existed in the race more than a very few thousand years." (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, p 45)

"Self consciousness makes its appearance in the child at the average age of three years; it is not present in any species but the human; it is, in fact, that faculty, the possession of which by an individual constitutes him a man. It is not universal in our race, being absent in all true idiots ; that is, it is permanently absent in about one in each thousand human beings in Europe and America. There must, however, be many members of low races, such as. the Bushmen of South Africa and native Australians, who never attain to this faculty." (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, p 46)

"It seems impossible to believe that as a race [African Bushmen] these creatures are self conscious." (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, p 47)

"This faculty [self consciousness] is lost much more easily than is simple consciousness. We lose it in coma and also often in the delirium of fever; in certain forms of insanity, as in mania, it is often lost for weeks and months at a time; lastly, it is never present in dreams." (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, p 48)

"As in the evolution of an individual tree some branches flourish while others fail; as in a forest some trees grow tall and stretch out wide branches while others are stunted and die out ; as in the onward and upward progress of any species some individuals are in advance of the main body while others lag behind" (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, p 53

"But it is notorious that in civilized man, especially in the Aryan race, the functions which have undergone most change in the last few thousand years are those called mental-that great group of functions (sensuous, intellectual, moral) which depend upon, spring from, the two great nervous systems-the cerebro-spinal and the great sympathetic. This great group of functions has grown, expanded, put forth new shoots and twigs, and is still in the act of producing new faculties, at a rate immeasurably greater than any other part of the human organism. If this is so then within this great congeries of faculties it is inevitable that we should meet with constant lapses, omissions, defects, breakdowns. Clinical observation teaches day by day that the above reasoning is solidly grounded. It presents lapses of all degrees and in unlimited varieties; lapses in sense function, such as color-blind-ness and music deafness; lapses in the moral nature, of the whole or a part; in the intellect, of one or several faculties ; or lapses, more or less complete, of the whole intellect, as in imbecility and idiocy. But over and above all these lapses, and as a necessary accompaniment of them, we have that inevitable breaking down of function, once established in the individual, which we call insanity, as distinguished from the various forms and degrees of idiocy." (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, p 55)

"We know that in some men the intellectual functions are so unstable that as soon as they are established they crumble down-crushed (as it were) by their own weight-like a badly built house, the walls of which are not strong enough to sustain the roof. Such are extreme cases of so-called develop-mental insanity-cases in which the mind falls into ruins as soon as it comes into existence or even before it is fully formed; cases of insanity of puberty and adolescence, in which nature is barely able to form or half form a normal mind and totally unable to sustain it, the mind, consequently, running down at once back into chaos. The hopelessness of this class of cases (as regards recovery) is well understood by all alienists, and it is not difficult to see why such insanities should and must be practically incurable, since their very existence denotes the absence of the elements necessary to form and maintain a normal human mind in the subjects in question. In the realm of insanity, properly so called-that is, excluding the idiocies-these cases occupy the extreme position at one end of the scale, while those persons who only become maniacal or melancholic under the most powerful exciting causes, such as child-birth and old age, occupy the other end. That is, we have a class in whom the mind, without a touch, crumbles into ruin as soon as formed or even before it is fully formed. Then we have another class in which the balance of the mental faculties is only over-turned by the rudest shocks, and then only temporarily, since the cases to which I refer recover in a few weeks or months if placed under favorable conditions. But between these extremes the whole wide intermediate space is filled with an infinite variety of phases of insanity, exhibiting every possible condition of mental stability and instability between the two extremes noticed. But throughout the whole range of mental alienation this law holds, namely: that the latest evolved of the mental functions, whether intellectual or moral, suffer first and suffer most, while the earliest evolved of the mental and moral functions suffer (if at all) the latest and the least." (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, p 56)

"And in all this process of destruction the older formed faculties, such as perception and memory, desire for food and drink, shrinking from injury, and the more basic sense functions, endure the longest ; while, as has been said, the latest evolved functions crumble down first, then the next latest, and so on. A fact that well illustrates the contention that insanity is essentially the breaking down of mental faculties which are unstable chiefly because they are recent, and that it rests therefore upon an evolution which is modern and still in progress, is the comparative absence of insanity among negroes. It has been said that the large percentage of insanity in America and Europe depends directly upon the rapid evolution in late millenniums of the mind of the Aryan people. Very few would claim that the negro mind is advancing at anything like the same rate. As a consequence of these different rates of progression we have in the Aryan people of America a much higher percentage of insanity than is found in the negro race." (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, p 58)

"In conclusion the results arrived at in this chapter may be summed up as follows : (1) The stability of a faculty in the individual depends upon its age in the race. The older the faculty the more stable it is, and the less old the less stable. (2) The race whose evolution is most rapid will be the most subject to breakdown. (3) Those functions in any given race whose evolutions are the most rapid will be the most subject to breakdown. (4) In the more progressive families of the Aryan race the mental faculties have for some millenniums last past developed with great rapidity. (5) In this race the large number of mental breakdowns, commonly called insanity, are due to the rapid and recent evolution of those faculties in that race." (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, p 59)

"The writer of this book, since it was first conceived some few years ago, has sought diligently for cases of Cosmic Consciousness, and his whole list, so far, including some imperfect and doubtful cases, totals up nearly fifty." (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, p 383)

"The simple truth is, that there has lived on the earth, "appearing at intervals," for thousands of years among ordinary men, the first faint beginnings of another race ; walking the earth and breathing the air with us, but at the same time walking another earth and breathing another air of which we know little or nothing, but which is, all the same, our spiritual life, as its absence would be our spiritual death. This new race is in act of being born from us, and in the near future it will occupy and possess the earth." (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, p 383)

"Richard Maurice Bucke was born on 18 March 1837 at Methwold, County of Norfolk, England.' His father, the Reverend Horatio Walpole Bucke, was a great-grandson of Sir Robert Walpole and a grand-nephew of Horace Walpole. ... His religious beliefs were always unorthodox. He claimed that 'He never, even as a child, accepted the doctrines of the Christian church; but, as soon as old enough to dwell at all on such themes, conceived that Jesus was a man-great and good no doubt, but a man. That no one would ever be condemned to everlasting pain. That if a conscious God existed he was the supreme master and meant well in the end to all; but that, this visible life here being ended, it was doubtful, or more than doubtful, whether conscious identity would be preserved." (Richard Maurice Bucke, medical mystic, Artem Lozynsky, 1977 AD p 21)

"Bucke eventually adopted the latter plan, and his ideas appeared in two articles, 'The Functions of the Great Sympathetic Nervous System' and 'The Moral Nature and the Great Sympathetic', in the American Journal of Insanity in 1877 and 1878.23 Although Bucke returned to the practice of medicine in 1874, after his venture into land speculation, he did not intend to stay in Sarnia. He hoped to be appointed head of a new asylum for the insane in Hamilton, Ontario, did receive the appointment, and moved to Hamilton in March 1876.24 He remained in Hamilton, however, only for a few months. On the death in February 1877 of the medical superintendent of the Asylum for the Insane in London, Ontario, Bucke was promoted to this position. He remained in London for the rest of his professional life." (Richard Maurice Bucke, medical mystic, Artem Lozynsky, 1977 AD p 31)

On the death of vulgar humanist Walt Whitman: "To J. W. Wallace and John Johnston 10 April [18]92 Dear Wallace and Johnston Many thanks for your good kind letters. [-] I cannot write to you yet-my heart is as heavy as lead.' But it will pass off and please God we will work for dear Walt harder than ever. [-] Over and over again I keep saying to myself: The Christ is dead! Again we have buried the Christ! And for the time there seems to be an end of every thing. But I know he is not dead and I know that this pain will pass. Give my love to all the dear College fellows-now we are really brothers God bless you all R M Bucke 'Whitman died on 26 March 1892" (Richard Maurice Bucke, medical mystic, Artem Lozynsky, 1977 AD p 184)

"Letter written to his deceased son Andrew in 1899: "... Only a little while now and we shall be again together and with us those other noble and well-beloved souls gone before. I am sure I shall meet you and them; that you and I shall talk of a thousand things and of that unforgettable day and of all that followed it; and that we shall clearly see that all were parts of an infinite plan which was wholly wise and good. Do you see and approve as I write these words ? It may well be. ... So long; dear boy. Your father" (Proceedings of the first annual conference on personality change and religious experience, Richard Maurice Bucks, M.D. 1837-1902 Psychiatrist, Author, Mystic, Cyril Greenland, 1965 AD, p 16)

"A similar pattern was followed in 1894, when Dr. Bucke presented a paper on "Cosmic Consciousness" to the American Medico-Psychological Association meeting in Philadelphia in May of that year. In this, Dr. Bucke presented his theory of the development of consciousness in man. He also provided the basis for his view that a higher form of consciousness than that possessed by ordinary man is historically appearing in the human race. By 1899, he had completed the manuscript for his magnum opus Cosmic Consciousness - A Study of The Evolution of the Human Mind. After a great struggle to find a publisher, it appeared in 1901 under the imprint of Innes & Sons, Philadelphia. Since then, it has never been out of print. In Cosmic Consciousness, Bucke explores fourteen instances of illumination. He begins with Buddha and the Christ and continues with Mohammed, Paul, Dante, Bacon, Jacob Behmen, Blake and concludes with Walt Whitman and Edward Carpenter. He also provides thirty-six case studies of less than perfect examples of illuminative experiences. His thesis is that there exist three grades of consciousness: Simple Consciousness, which is possessed by the upper half of the animal kingdom. Self Consciousness. This is a distinctively human attribute. By virtue of this men and women are able to step aside from themselves as it were, and say: "Yes that thought I had about the matter is true; I know it is true and I know that I know it is true." Finally there is (3) Cosmic Consciousness. This is, as the name implies, an intuitive awareness of the Cosmos and of the life and order of the Universe. The experience comes usually at about the age of 35, often in the spring or summer. It can be readily identified in the life history of the individual because of significant changes in the quality of work done. There is also a range of new qualities, a sense of re-birth, a joy, an enhanced moral nature and improved intellectual powers. This higher form of consciousness occurs only to a few men, but the incidence of its occurrence is increasing. Because of this, Bucke felt that the future of mankind was indescribably hopeful. There was, he presaged, three impending revolutions: The material, economic and social, which will depend upon and result from the establishment of aerial navigation. The economic and social revolution will abolish individual ownership and rid the earth of two immense evils: riches and poverty. And (3) The psychical revolution. With this all religions will be 'melted down'. Religion will still dominate society when all creeds, priests and rituals would be superseded by man's direct intercourse with God." (Proceedings of the first annual conference on personality change and religious experience, Richard Maurice Bucks, M.D. 1837-1902 Psychiatrist, Author, Mystic, Cyril Greenland, 1965 AD, p 13)

According to Bucke, the intellectual nature of man is located in the cerebral- spinal nervous system. On the other hand, he claims that man's moral nature, or emotions are centered in the sympathetic nervous system. The cerebral system enables us to express intellectual ideas and concepts, but the sympathetic, being responsible for the emotional states, has no vocal organs [like the brain]. ... Dr. Bucke postulates that well-being and even longevity are ultimately dependent on the proper function of the sympathetic nervous system. He also expresses for the first time, the Darwinian idea that the evolution of consciousness in mankind operates on a basis similar to natural selection. Something of this is expressed in the dedication of the book, Man's Moral Natures" (Proceedings of the first annual conference on personality change and religious experience, Richard Maurice Bucks, M.D. 1837-1902 Psychiatrist, Author, Mystic, Cyril Greenland, 1965 AD, p 9)

"I Dedicate This Book To The Man Who Inspired It - To The Man Who Of All Men Past And Present That I Have Known Has The Most Exalted Moral Nature - To Walt Whitman" (Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD, dedication page)

"Bucke has been credited with being the first to abolish the use of restraint in the treatment of the mentally disturbed, but this was not so. When he arrived at the asylum he made no objection to its use and, as Mitchinson has pointed out, he ordered six more restraint chairs.3 Within a few years, however, Bucke; like other superintendents, was criticizing the use of restraint, and eventually abandoned it. Bucke did initiate an open-door policy, to give patients a sense of freedom. He also introduced the use of female attendants in male wards, and found that "a greater tidiness in person, a greater activity in employment, and a general brightening of the condition of those in the male wards is perceptible." Bucke also developed occupational therapy by encouraging but not forcing patients to work constructively at the hospital. But the treatment of the insane remained basically custodial, while the cause of insanity was unknown. Bucke attempted to develop a theory and a classification of the causes of insanity, and in this he was much influenced by societal attitudes of the time. He introduced two radical forms of treatment; one, which was short-lived, at the beginning of his career in London; the other, in the last six years of his life, although successful in Bucke's eyes, was criticized at the time and discontinued after his death." (R.M. Bucke, Journey to Cosmic Consciousness, Peter A. Rechnitzer, 1994 AD, p 187)

"The first was a procedure which involved wiring of the penis to prevent masturbation. Bucke believed, like others of that time, that masturbation was a contributing factor to mental illness. The Victorians were hostile to excessive sexual activity, which they defined as any sexual activity outside of marriage including masturbation. Bucke got the idea of partially closing the prepuce with a suture from an article by a Scottish physician, Dr. Yellowlees .5 The intention was to inhibit erection by the pain of the suture. In his first year as superintendent Bucke wired fifteen male patients.6 In most of them masturbation continued and the procedure was discontinued; but in every instance in which the habit stopped Bucke claimed that mental improvement occurred. Mitchinson compared the medical records of these cases with Bucke's public report on the subject and discovered several discrepancies: For example, Bucke claims that patient J.Z. had been prevented from masturbating and had mentally improved whereas the records show that there was an improvement in bodily health but nothing else. In patients J.D. and M.M., Bucke claimed the wiring prevented self-abuse and improved mental health but the records show that no change occurred at all.' In spite of his claims, Bucke abandoned wiring altogether, and between 1877 and 1895 treatment at the London Insane Asylum was largely custodial and devoid of any specific therapeutic attempts. The few drugs which were used included opium, potassium bromide and chloral hydrate for sedation, and magnesium sulphate for seizures. The expenditure on drugs in 1887 was 0.6% of the annual cost of patient maintenance. Although medicine in general had gone through a phase of therapeutic nihilism, both medicine and surgery in the 1880s were beginning to emerge into the modern era. The stimulus in general medicine was the new understanding of bacterial diseases, and in surgery the introduction of antiseptic techniques. No comparable innovations affected psychiatry. The therapeutic ethos at Bucke's asylum revolved around three types of activity: work, play and religion. The great majority of the patients contributed to the maintenance of the institution: the men worked on the farm, in the laundry or kitchen, and the women were engaged in sewing or helped in the kitchen and dining room.' Industrious, productive activity was seen as the cornerstone of treatment and reflected the Victorian concept of work as a virtue. This view was echoed in a lecture given to the graduating class at the University of Toronto by William Osler. Osier, in eloquent prose, enjoined the young graduates to find and cherish "The Master Word in Medicine", which was the simple four letter word - WORK. But the Victorian ethos also admonished that "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Bucke was fortunate in having as his bursar Charles Sippi, a musician, who directed the asylum orchestra at weekly concerts and helped with productions by the Asylum Dramatic Club, which induded citizens of London and the families of the medical officers. Constant encouragement backed up by a system of fines was imposed on those who did not come to the concerts.") The third prong of the therapeutic trident was religion. Though Bucke himself was always anti-clerical and, as an adult, had never embraced orthodox Christianity, he had gone to church sporadically, more as a social custom, while practising in Sarnia. He recognized the need for an orthodox religious focus at the asylum, and Sunday morning services were held by rotation of Protestant clergymen of various denominations." (R.M. Bucke, Journey to Cosmic Consciousness, Peter A. Rechnitzer, 1994 AD, p 186)

"Although at the 1881 meeting of American asylum superintendents, which Bucke attended, entreaties were made for a more aggressive and scientific approach to institutional treatment of the insane, no real advances were made throughout the decade. At the 1894 meeting Weir Mitchell, a distinguished American neurologist who was known to have a poor opinion of American alienists, was invited to address the asylum superintendents. He refused at first, but then, reluctantly agreed to take on the task of rebuking them." He criticized his audience for stagnating by remaining aloof from the mass of physicians. As administrators, business managers and custodians, it was small wonder they were mediocre physicians. The consequence, he pointed out, was that the treasure house of pathological material at their disposal was little used." (R.M. Bucke, Journey to Cosmic Consciousness, Peter A. Rechnitzer, 1994 AD, p 188)

"It was on 10 May 1898 that Bucke gave his lecture entitled "Surgery Among the Insane in Canada". Thus, eighteen years after his first and abortive attempt at aggressive treatment by "wiring" the penis, in February 1895 he began his second campaign. It was a concatenation of several factors that stimulated Bucke to consider gynecological procedures as a means of treating insane women. The physiological theory that underlay Bucke's enthusiasm for gynecological surgery had its origin in the old belief that pathology in a specific organ might manifest itself as a symptom in another part of the body." (R.M. Bucke, Journey to Cosmic Consciousness, Peter A. Rechnitzer, 1994 AD, p 189)

"I take it for granted that all will agree that insanity is often caused by diseases of the procreative organs, and on the other hand, that mental derangement frequently disturbs the functions of other organs of the body, and modifies diseased action in them. Either may be primary and causative, or secondary and resultant. In the literature of the past, we find the gynecologist pushing his claims so far as to lead a junior in medicine to believe that if the sexual organs of women were preserved in health, insanity would seldom occur among them." (Medical Gynecology, Alexander Skene, 1895 AD)

"Bucke gave his first report on the results of gynecologic surgery in mental patients at the 1896 meeting of the asylum superintendents. He reported that surgery for diseased ovaries or uterus in thirty-four women had produced physical improvement or recovery in twenty-six, and mental improvement or recovery in twenty-one." Many comments on the paper were favourable, a few critical. Dr. James Russell of Hamilton observed that the patients might have improved without the operation, that the improvement might have been due to extra nursing care, and that the follow-up period was brief and that relapse might be common. Bucke replied with caution that, indeed, the follow-up period was brief, but that the procedures had been carried out to improve or cure the diseased ovaries or uterus, and that the improvement in the patient's mental disease was simply an observation he had made." By the time of his presidential address in May 1898, the number of operations had increased to 109. Bucke had been well aware of opposition to the surgical approach to treatment of the insane: he announced that a request for funds for an infirmary to improve his treatment facilities had been turned down because "the government was advised by certain doctors that the work was unnecessary and in fact undesirable." This did not deter him. With political adroitness he had sent out to the 350 practitioners in southwestern Ontario a circular describing his work with Hobbs and a questionnaire asking if they thought the work should go on and whether the government should support the work by providing suitable buildings. He informed his audience that only two respondents actually opposed the work, and went on to say that the favourable responses resulted in a deputation to the government to support his cause. Bucke then proceeded to describe the favourable results in the 109 patients. There was further opposition the following year when Dr. Clarke, the superintendent of the Kingston Asylum and with whom Bucke had acted as expert witness in the Shortis case, wrote to the inspector of hospitals, Mr. Christie, charging that Bucke and Hobbs had been soliciting support from the National Council of Women." Christie replied sympathetically to Clarke but nothing more was done and the operations continued. Clarke's failure to criticize Bucke may have been a reluctance to condemn someone of Bucke's stature in the medical world, especially in view of the results of Bucke's questionnaire which appeared to give him the overwhelming support of rank and file practitioners. By 1900, 228 patients had been operated on, some apparently more than once as a total of 409 operations were performed. The gynecologic diagnoses were: Endometritis 29; Prolapsed uterus 68; Lacerated perineum 33; Lacerated cervix 29; Hypertrophied cervix 6; Retroverted uterus 15; Tumor 31; Unknown 17; TOTAL 228. Bucke reported that 66% of these patients recovered or improved mentally. These good results could be explained through the initial choice of patients with good psychiatric prognoses. For example, among the patients selected were few with delusional symptoms, known to carry a poor prognosis." As the experiment had no controls, the placebo effect may also have been important. Finally, the special care and support surgical patients received might have contributed to the good outcome. "But an examination of the individual case notes reveals a significant discrepancy with the outcome Bucke reported. When the mental status after the post-operative follow-up period is tabulated, only 21% of the patients appear to have recovered or to have improved. ' Bucke was not dishonest but he tended to see what he wanted to see. He wanted to see psychiatric treatment vitalised, keeping pace with recent and dramatic advances in surgery and medicine. He gave evidence of this need in the concluding remarks of his presidential address. He felt that removal of diseased ovaries was the gynecologic procedure most likely to confer psychiatric benefit. He speculated on the reason for benefit, saying: "It seems to me that the recent physiological theory of so-called internal secretion will furnish the clue that we want. According to this theory, there is a "normal and constant contribution of specific material by the reproductive glands to the blood or lymph and thus to the whole body". This contribution may be supplied or produced artificially, as by the daily injection of testicular juice, with very marked effect. But in case of disease of the organ that supplies it, it is not only liable to be changed to a pathological contribution and the internal secretion which was a source of health and energy to the whole economy to become a toxic agent of unknown but probably great virulence. The removal of the diseased ovaries would of course cut short this poisoning process and enable the vis medicatrix to re-establish the health of the individual. Bucke was framing his hypothesis in terms of the new science of endocrinology, which had already demonstrated the successful treatment of hypothyroidism by the administration of an extract of sheep thyroid glands. It all ended abruptly when Dr. Hobbs resigned in 1901 to enter private practice. For reasons unknown, Bucke did not have him replaced and with his own death a year later the brief era of psycho-gynecology came to an end. " (R.M. Bucke, Journey to Cosmic Consciousness, Peter A. Rechnitzer, 1994 AD, p 190)

"During this same period, Bucke had conceived a totally different approach to the treatment of mental illness. It was born of his conviction that the province contained many more mentally ill patients than those who found their way to the asylums, and his concern that the total number would increase inexorably as the population continued to swell, and so impose an unbearable burden on existing facilities. Rather than building additional expensive institutions, he formulated an imaginative plan for what could become a self-sufficient, therapeutic community stressing genuine rehabilitation, an idea decades ahead of its time. In his 1896 Annual Report he included his suggestion for the "Care of a Certain Class of Lunatics". He proposed that the Provincial Government set aside an area of land approximately five to ten miles square and adjacent to a good-sized river like the Severn, having nearby in its course waterfalls and rapids. A portion of the land should be suitable for cultivation, some of it should have large tracts of pasturage for cattle, sheep and horses, and some should have clay for bricks and stone which could be quarried. The land should be within ten miles of a railway station and reasonably near navigable water." (R.M. Bucke, Journey to Cosmic Consciousness, Peter A. Rechnitzer, 1994 AD, p 193)

"Bucke was extremely well regarded at international gatherings, but in Canada he was not always popular with his colleagues. This is clearly seen in the criticism and condemnation directed at him for correcting uterine and ovarian diseases by surgery. Bucke claimed that the increase in the discharge rates of female patients fully justified these procedures. "It comes to this," he said, "that the treatment of the mind resolves itself into an endeavour to place the whole physical system on the best possible basis of health and efficiency." During his twenty-five years as Superintendent, Bucke achieved an international pre-eminence as a leader in mental-health administration." (Richard Maurice Bucke: catalogue to the exhibition, Canadian Psychiatric Association Committee on the History of Psychiatry, Cyril Greenland, 1963 AD)

"To him mental illness was not simply an accidental aberration necessitating skilled and humane treatment, but evidence of a failure of the biological process by which mankind adapts to change." (Richard Maurice Bucke: catalogue to the exhibition, Canadian Psychiatric Association Committee on the History of Psychiatry, Cyril Greenland, 1963 AD)

C. Documents:

Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD

Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, 1901 AD

Walt Whitman

Richard Maurice Bucke

Letters of Dr. Bucke to Walt Whitman and His Friends

-When one is ill, doctors are most depressing.

selected and edited by ARTEM LOZYNSKY Temple University

-B u cke's not that breed: he tends the mad, in Canada- a kind of medical mystic he lets me call him

with a Foreword by Gay Wilson Allen

Richard Howard Wildflowers

Wayne State University Press Detroit 1977

RICHARD

MAURICE

BUCKE,

medical

mystic

1

Introduction

Real appreciation of Richard Maurice Bucke's letters to Walt Whitman requires some understanding of the circumstances under which they were written. After Whitman's series of strokes in June of 1888, he and Bucke both knew that he was dying-indeed, every few months Bucke would prepare to depart for Camden, positive that Whitman's death was at hand. The illness, however, was lingering and protracted, and, as much as anything, Bucke's motive in writing was simply to stay in touch. His letters to Whitman frequently contain nothing more than trivia, but at times their blandness is deceptive.

19

Richard Maurice Bucke, Medical Mystic

Bucke would often write an urgent and anxious letter to Horace Traubel and a leisurely and chatty one to Whitman on the same day. Some of his letters to Traubel indicate that all was not going smoothly within the group of Whitman disciples, but Bucke either avoided discussing these problems in his letters to Whitman or alluded to them only in passing, displaying the smooth bedside manner of the physician.

There is also another and more subtle reason for the general tone and content of the letters of Bucke to Whitman. Whitman did not enjoy writing or receiving 'literary' letters. What he liked were glimpses of commonplace, ordinary life. A comparison of Bucke's letters to his friend Harry Buxton Forman-full of literary and philosophic speculations-with those he wrote to Whitman shows that Bucke suited his style to Whitman's taste.

Bucke's most immediate service to Whitman, however, was that of a physician. He told him that he needed a full-time male nurse, helped Traubel start a fund to pay for one, and even sent Edward Wilkins from London, Ontario, to Camden to serve in that capacity. He arranged for Sir William Osler to examine Whitman and to recommend physicians for him in the Camden-Philadelphia area. From time to time, Bucke would send Whitman a prescription, usually a digestive aid, but what was perhaps most important was that he turned a sympathetic, yet professional, ear to the poet's minute and sustained descriptions of his physical ailments.

Bucke, a book collector, was intensely interested in every aspect of Whitman bibliography, and many letters to Whitman discuss various items which he wished for his collection. Although Whitman was no bibliophile, he gladly supplied Bucke with manuscripts and printed materials, realizing that a comprehensive collection of his work was taking shape.

The greatest value of these letters, however, lies in the indirect narrative they provide of Bucke's attempt to lay the foundations for a new religion. For Bucke, Whitman was

20

Chapter One

far more than a great poet-he was the founder of a new and superior religion. Bucke felt that he was one of the few who appreciated this astounding fact and was concerned with the orderly transfer of authority and doctrine from dying master to living disciples. It was necessary to establish the identity of the true band of believers and to determine the structure of power within that group, and it is especially interesting to note how, in the process of Bucke's efforts, some of Whitman's older disciples, like John Burroughs, were gradually eased out of places of importance in the poet's inner circle. It was also necessary for Bucke to convert the unbelieving, and in some respects his trip to England the year before Whitman died could be called an apostolic journey. However, without some understanding of Bucke's childhood experiences or of the peculiar philosophic system he attempted to work out, much of this devotion to Whitman may appear to be no more than unbridled and flamboyant enthusiasm.

Richard Maurice Bucke was born on 18 March 1837 at Methwold, County of Norfolk, England.' His father, the Reverend Horatio Walpole Bucke, was a great-grandson of Sir Robert Walpole and a grand-nephew of Horace Walpole. When Bucke was a year old, the family emigrated to Upper Canada and settled on a farm near London, Ontario. The Reverend Mr. Bucke, who had a reading knowledge of seven languages, brought his library of several thousand volumes to Canada, and it was among these books that the Bucke children educated themselves. Even as a child Bucke was curious about the after-life and other spiritual matters. He later recalled that 'on one occasion when about ten years old he earnestly longed to die that the secrets of the beyond, if there were any beyond, might be revealed to him'.2 His religious beliefs were always unorthodox. He claimed that 'He never, even as a child, accepted the doctrines of the Christian church; but, as soon as old enough to dwell at all on such themes, conceived that Jesus was a man-great and good no doubt, but a man. That no one would ever be condemned to everlasting pain. That if a conscious God existed he was the supreme master and meant well in the end to all; but that, this visible life here being ended, it was doubtful, or more than doubtful, whether conscious identity would be preserved.'3

p21

At the age of sixteen, Bucke left Ontario and headed for the West, eventually reaching California. In the next five years his adventures included fighting off, with a few companions, a band of Shoshone Indians, marching for 150 miles with only a little flour mixed with water to eat, freezing one foot so badly that he had to have it amputated, and coming close to discovering the fabulous Comstock lode.4 At age twenty-one, in 1858, he returned to Canada and McGill University. He was graduated as a doctor of medicine in 1862. His thesis, 'The Correlation of the Vital and Physical Forces', showing his early interest in the relationship of the spiritual and the physical, won the Governor's Prize and was published.5 He also won the Professor's Prize in Clinical Medicine for his case reporting.

Bucke then left Canada for two years of study in England and France. A portion of his diary, for the years 1862 to 1866, has survived6 and provides a record of his day-to-day reading, which was both systematic and extensive. Along with medical books he read philosophy and literature. He read Auguste Comte almost daily, but his most detailed diary notations concern fiction and poetry. Although he read the classics systematically, he reserved his commentaries for contemporary literature. One of his favorite novels was Charles Kingsley's highly romantic Westward, Ho!. His entry for 5 May 1863 reads:

having been itching to get at it all the morning, went into "Amyas Leigh" [the hero of Westward, Ho!] along with my lunch & smoke, intending like an honest student to give him up as soon as I had done them [some errands]-but this I found impossible and I stuck to him facinated hour after hour till dinner time, and then again till I finished him about 8 or a little after; it is the very God of

22 Chapter One

novels, I was wholey carried away by it, far from the dim east and north once more westward to the most divine land of America, fairly wallowing in the glorious sunshine & rich vegetation of the south and west, the wild grandeur of the western wilderness that I know so well! but must never, never more see except in such visions-Ye mighty scenes of mountains, river, forest, and lovely valley how ye passed before me, almost turning my brain with indescrible feelings of longings, regret, exultation & despair,-to think to have seen such & never more to see, a cripple, a wreck-

Quite regularly Bucke and his English friends Harry Buxton Forman and Alfred Forman met to read aloud Romantic and contemporary Victorian verse-chiefly the works of Shelley and Byron, Tennyson and the Brownings.

When Bucke left England the Forman brothers continued to keep him up to date on the literary news.' Their correspondence continued until Alfred Forman's death and indicates the scope of Bucke's literary interests.

Bucke set up medical practice in Sarnia, Ontario, in January 1864, and matters seemed to be going well at first. Early in March, however, he suddenly received two letters and a telegram from California friends urging him to return because a lawsuit was being brought against a mining company there and he was needed as a witness at the trial. For various reasons the trial was delayed for eight months, and because of this and other complications Bucke remained in California for fourteen months, supported by a stipend of $250 a month, plus a lump sum of $2,500, given him for his contribution to the trial. He practiced a little medicine but, with this income to support him, devoted most of his time to reading and to learning German. From time to time he mused about becoming a writer (he had written some verse as a student) but came to realize that his role was to appreciate rather than to create. On 1 July 1864, he made the following entry:

Music and singing in the parlor in the evening-Someone sang an old song that Fanny P. used to sing when I was in love with her-I was in my room and leaned out of the window to hear it-in the

23

Richard Maurice Bucke, Medical Mystic

mean time looking over the lake-the blending of emotions of the three periods (when I was in California before & saw this lake- when I heard Fanny sing this song, and now) produced a most peculiar state of mind-which could it be well expressed in verse would make a beautifull poem quite in Shelleys style but I am no Shelley and don't think of attempting it-I am feeling myself more & more constrained to give up the notion that there may be possibly some capabilities in me above a fair average of half educated men-the sooner I get entirely rid of such notions, probably the better it will be for me.

Bucke's most notable accomplishment in California was learning to read and to speak German. He hired a German tutor and took a room in the home of a German family to practice the language. In later years, Bucke put his mastery of German in the service of Whitman.

After returning to Sarnia, Bucke revived his medical practice and, in 1865, married. He settled into the routine of the small-town doctor, and the only point of interest in his diary entries in this period is his casual attitude toward Christianity. The following is his entry for Christmas Day of 1865: '-up late-loafed about-George [unidentified] got down between 11 & 12 [I] he and I played poker most of [?] day and evening-greatly as I found to Jessie's disjust and I cannot say I felt proud of my self about it afterwards-I lost a dollar & a half but that is no consequence'. When Bucke attended church, he attended grudgingly. On 15 February 1866, he noted: 'Sunday. To church in morning for first time in four or five weeks and was disjusted at myself for going today but one must give in a little on such points-'.

Bucke stopped making regular diary entries on 4 March 1866: 'it was getting too mechanical. . . . My life also now that I am fairly married and settled down to work is so monotonous that what I said of it one day answers for every other day-and there is therefor [sic] no object in keeping a daily record of my doings,-'. There are only two more entries in the diary, one on 6 March 1866 and the other on 19 October 1868.

24 Chapter One

It was during this period of his life that Bucke first heard of Walt Whitman. In 'Memories of Walt Whitman' he recalls this incident and the profound effect it had on him:

I recall as if it were yesterday the first time I ever heard pronounced the name of the author of 'Leaves of Grass.' It was in mid-winter, 1867-8. A friend of mine, who then lived in Montreal, the Mineralogist to the Geological Survey of Canada, a first-class chemist, geologist and scientist generally, T. Sterry Hunt, was visiting me in Sarnia, where I then lived and practiced. One evening . .. Dr. Hunt . .. asked: 'Did you ever hear of a man named Walt Whitman?' I replied: 'No: who is he?' Dr. Hunt answered: 'He is an American poet who writes in a very peculiar style-something between prose and verse.' And he went on to quote all he could recollect-only a line or two-from the 'Leaves.' But there came to me at that moment, upon that mere mention of the poet's name, how conveyed or whence I have not the least notion, a conviction, which never afterwards left me, that the man so named was a quite exceptional person, and that a knowledge of him and of his writings was of peculiar importance to me.8

In documenting the early stages of Bucke's discipleship, the letters between him and the Forman brothers are extremely useful. The first letter in which he mentions Whitman is written on 19 February 1869 to Harry Buxton Forman:

You will have seen the collection of Walt Whitman's Poems that have been edited by Rossetti & published by John Camden Hotten Son, 1868. You will probably have got a copy and taken it home and looked into it, but have you soaked through the crust into the heart of it? Have you seen that here is the modern poet? Especially the American poet, and the only one so far, the founder of American literature as Goethe was of German literature? that here at last in the doings of man is something 'consummate with the broadcast doing of day and night'? that here in fact is a master mind in literature-A mind too great to be confined in poems & usages- that makes as it goes ways & forms & usages for generations to come. A mind & heart on a large scale in which there is no littleness, no humbug, no pretense, no make believe[,] which receive with themselves the outside world as it is without warp or refraction and which render it back again without warp or refraction. In fact if I am not mistaken we have here correct revelation--For this is A man as he reveals himself-.9

25

Richard Maurice Bucke, Medical Mystic

In his reply, Harry Buxton Forman compares Whitman with Swinburne:

Your mention of Walt Whitman opens up a subject of steadily growing enthusiasm with me. I have read him a little from a friend's copy, and a good deal from my own copy of Rossetti's edition. Almost all you say I seem to agree with. The "crust" does not repel me though it does not attract like the crust of Swinburne's work; but the Man is obviously as noble as the other is ignoble, if we are to judge simply on the heart of each. I think Swinburne has no heart; but is a marvelous agglomeration of sensual and intellectual qualities-a cross between the lesser ape and the greater man with none of the woman element in him which goes to make perfect the tale of every man's endowments; another element which Whitman has largely. He has come upon me with such a sense of greatness that I have not trusted myself to print a word on him, for want of the time to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest as I feel I must do before delivering an opinion on him. Write me some more about him; what you have written touched me the more that it expresses nobly what I have felt without formulation.10

By April Bucke felt that he had arrived at what he believed to be the essence of Whitman and wrote to Harry Buxton Forman:

The secret of the man is the secret of success in all things-litera-

ture and everything else-Truth-Sincerity. . . here is a man who

receives images of spiritual and material things from without and transmits them again without the least thought of what will the world say of this idea and how will the world like this form of expression, or into what form did such a great poet cast his thought. He speaks from his own soul with the most perfect candor, sincerity and truth. There is nothing in modern literature like it. This, according to me, is his claim to praise, a claim that must not be distorted. Praise that will live while the English language is read."

Forman was willing to accept Bucke's claim for Whitman's sincerity but raised the common criticism of his propriety. On 14 July 1869, he wrote Bucke: 'Sincerity is stamped on every page-doubtless, but bad-taste according to our no-

Chapter One

tions is stamped on the surface of many pages, and paradox seems to abound'.12

In the winter of 1869 Bucke was attempting to encourage Harry Buxton Forman to bring out a complete edition of Whitman in England, and began to collect Whitman's work and to collate the various editions of Leaves of Grass. On 12 June 1870, he wrote to Forman: 'I must have all Walt's writings if I can get them.'" In a letter to Forman in April he noted that one of his brothers was helping him with the task of collation: 'Julius helps me emending [i.e., collating] "Walt Whitman" and we have already spent several evenings at it and are not yet half through the poem. The alterations in the 1868 [1867] edition are more numerous and greater than I expected to find them. They are very interesting and often throw light upon the thought.'14

In the early 1870s Bucke became ill. It is difficult to determine the nature of his illness, but from his letters to the Forman brothers it appears to have been the result of the effects of the harsh climate of Ontario and overwork. He visited England for a short time in the winter of 1871, that summer, and again in the spring of 1872. Shortly before leaving for England on his third visit, Bucke wrote to Harry Buxton Forman: 'My health has completely broken down again and as I am now satisfied that this is due to the climate here, or rather to the malaria[,] I have decided to pull stakes and leave Sarnia for good.'15 Although Bucke seemed to hold the climate responsible for his illness, when he returned from his trip he abandoned the practice of medicine for two years to devote himself to land speculation, and in March, after this change of occupation, he was able to write to Forman from Sarnia that his health was

'first-rate'. 16

During this last visit to England Bucke experienced the illumination which was central to his life. It seems to have occurred in late March or early April. A full account of it, is found in Cosmic Consciousness, which he published 29 years later:

26

27

Richard Maurice Bucke, Medical Mystic

It was in the early spring, at the beginning of his thirty-sixth year. He and two friends had spent the evening reading Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Browning, and especially Whitman. They parted at midnight, and he had a long drive in a hansom (it was in an English city [London]). His mind, deeply under the influence of the ideas, images and emotions called up by the reading and talk of the evening, was calm and peaceful. He was in a state of quiet, almost passive enjoyment. All at once, without warning of any kind, he found himself wrapped around as it were by a flame- colored cloud. For an instant he thought of fire, some sudden conflagration in the great city; the next, he knew that the light was within himself. Directly afterwards came upon him a sense of exultation, of immense joyousness accompanied or immediately followed by an intellectual illumination quite impossible to describe. Into his brain streamed one momentary lightning-flash of the same Brahmic Splendor which has ever since lighted his life; upon his heart fell one drop of Brahmic Bliss, leaving thence forward for always an aftertaste of heaven. Among other things he did not come to believe, he saw and knew that the Cosmos is not dead matter but a living Presence, that the soul is immortal, that the universe is so built and ordered that without any peradventure all things work together for the good of each and all, that the foundation principle of the world is what we call love and that the happiness of every one is in the long run absolutely certain. He claims that he learned more within the few seconds during which the illumination lasted than in previous months or even years of study, and that he learned much that no study could ever have taught.

The illumination itself continued not more than a few moments, but its effect proved ineffaceable; it was impossible for him ever to forget what he at that time saw and knew; neither did he, or could he, every doubt the truth of what was then presented to his mind. There was no return, that night or at any time, of the experience. He subsequently wrote a book [Man's Moral Nature] in which he sought to embody the teaching of the illumination."

Bucke later claimed that the thesis of Man's Moral Nature (1879) first came to him in this moment of illumination. From his letters to the Forman brothers, however, it is clear that he had been mulling over moral philosophy as early as the fall of 1871, for in early September of that year he wrote to Harry Buxton Forman: 'I have made a lot of notes on my

28 Chapter One

speculations in moral philosophy or whatever you like to call it, but I shall not be able to do much at it for awhile yet as I have so much else to attend to.'" By December Bucke had begun to realize the vast implications of his theory. As he wrote to Forman:

I am pretty busy with practice and one thing or another and do not get on at all with the development of my philosophical ideas except that some slight mental elaboration is going on pretty much all the time. The thing has occupied my mind a great deal since I saw you and I am more and more impressed with the importance of it, but I almost despair of ever being able to put it into such shape as to make it assimilable for other minds. It is such a confounded big affair I don't feel as if I could handle it. It will be nothing less than a new theory of all art and religion and I am sure a true one. It will furnish a sound basis for poetical and other art criticism, not but that taste and ability will be needed to work on this basis. It will supply a new theory of the universe and of men's relations to the external universe and which being as a religion as positive as positivism and will supply more hope for mankind and will not shut up men's faculties in the known and present in the same way that positivism does."

Bucke's moment of illumination may have served more to confirm than to reveal to him man's moral nature.

Upon his return to Sarnia Bucke was certain that he had original ideas about the moral nature, but was unable to formulate them: 'I find it very difficult to put my ideas into an intelligible shape', he wrote to Harry Buxton Forman. 'The ideas themselves are all on hand and have been for several months. I carry them still entirely in my head because I cannot get them out of it unto paper. I have turned and twisted them into all sorts of lights, and I am as much convinced as ever that they are both original and valuable. But whether I shall ever succeed in getting them in such a shape so as to judge them, I do not know.'2° The next June he wrote to Forman: 'I think I see a truer and deeper explanation of the function of the arts than any that has been propounded yet.'21 But nearly two years later, he had done

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little to develop his thesis. On 17 February 1875, he wrote to Forman: 'No prospect of my book going ahead just at the present, though I have just as much faith in its central idea and the light thrown by it on many things in life and literature, yet I see great difficulty in carrying it out logically to its ultimate conclusion. Still I hope some day to get at least a skeleton of it set down in black and white. I have been thinking of putting a sketch of it in a series of Magazine articles. But I do not know what I shall do. I am a good deal in the dumps lately.'22

Bucke eventually adopted the latter plan, and his ideas appeared in two articles, 'The Functions of the Great Sympathetic Nervous System' and 'The Moral Nature and the Great Sympathetic', in the American Journal of Insanity in 1877 and 1878.23 Although Bucke returned to the practice of medicine in 1874, after his venture into land speculation, he did not intend to stay in Sarnia. He hoped to be appointed head of a new asylum for the insane in Hamilton, Ontario, did receive the appointment, and moved to Hamilton in March 1876.24 He remained in Hamilton, however, only for a few months. On the death in February 1877 of the medical superintendent of the Asylum for the Insane in London, Ontario, Bucke was promoted to this position. He remained in London for the rest of his professional life.

p31

2

'An average man magnified to the dimensions of a god'

Bucke first met Whitman on Thursday, 18 October 1877, while he was on a two-week business trip to Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. In 'Memories of Walt Whitman' of 1894 he recalls that he made the visit uninvited: 'I wrote to Walt Whitman that I had read his books, thought very highly of them, was anxious to see the author, and proposed to call upon him. Of course (I knew afterwards it was "of course," though not by any means at that time)-of course I received no answer. However, I wished to see, and meant to see, the poet, so- without having heard from him-one day about noon I

30 31

Richard Maurice Bucke, Medical Mystic

stand still in fact-time for that is gone. [-] I expect to spend next Sunday with Carpenter in Milthorpe. then go Monday to Bolton & stay there till wednesday morning- run to L'pool after breakfast and get aboard "Majestic" before noon.[-] She sails abt. noon. [-] I ought to reach N. Y. 1St or 2d & see you 2d or 3c1-4th, I think, at latest. Shall be very glad to see you again. I enjoy it over here but "there is no place like home." [-] My visit here has been a great success-I have been well received and treated on all hands, I shall feel richer for it for the rest of my life.

Keep good heart, dear Walt, till I get back-but in any case be easy about "L. of G." and the good cause-they are all right

Your loving friend

R M Bucke

1Traubel wrote two articles for the Camden Post based on the news from Bucke and the disciples at Bolton: 'Over-Sea Greeting; Walt Whitman's Fame Abroad' (1 August 1891) and 'Walt Whitman Abroad' (7 August 1891).

'The Christ is dead! Again we have buried the Christ!'

Bucke's most ambitious project during the 1890s was an examination of the human faculty he called 'cosmic consciousness'. Although the term only comes into prominence in this period, the ideas it describes are largely based on the psychological phenomena he first explored in Man's Moral Nature, where he sketched the structure of the moral nature, composed of the negative faculties of hate and fear and the positive ones of love and faith. In the concluding chapter of that book he expressed his belief that through the process of evolution the positive faculties were growing in scope and

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intensity and the negative ones were declining. In the new book, Cosmic Consciousness, he now examined fourteen extraordinary and thirty-six ordinary instances of this new faculty.

On 18 May 1894 Bucke spoke on 'cosmic consciousness' in Philadelphia before the American Medico-Psychological Association, and the lecture was published in the proceedings of the association and also as a pamphlet. He completed the manuscript of the book four years later but had difficulties in finding a publisher, in part, he believed, because of the upset caused by the Spanish- American War. In a letter to H. B. Forman of 5 August he commented:

The whole book trade of the States is suspended until the war is ended-which it will be I trust almost immediately-in fact there can hardly be any more fighting-when the war is ended and business resumed I am in hopes my book will be published and you will have a chance to see just how crazy (?) it is. I am well aware that the book is not based on learning-in fact I shall probably be held up by the smart journals as a first class ignoramus- nevertheless I hope to tell some things not heretofore realized and which are worth knowing.'

Man's Moral Nature concluded with Bucke's assurance that 'everything is really good and beautiful, and . . . an all-powerful and infinitely beneficent providence holds us safe through life and death in its keeping forever . . . ' (p. 191). This claim rested on no more than an emotional conviction; but in the opening section of Cosmic Consciousness he outlines in specific terms his reasons for this belief. We are on the brink of three revolutions, he says, which will radically and permanently alter human existence- aerial navigation, socialism, and cosmic consciousness:

Before aerial navigation national boundaries, tariffs, and perhaps distinctions of language will fade out. Great cities will no longer have reasons for being and will melt away. The men who now dwell in cities will inhabit in summer the mountains and the sea

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shores; building often in airy and beautiful spots, now almost or quite inaccessible, commanding the most extensive and magnificent views. In the winter they will probably dwell in communities of moderate size.

Before Socialism crushing toil, cruel anxiety, insulting and demoralizing riches, poverty and its ills will become subjects for historical novels.

In contact with the flux of cosmic consciousness all religions known and named to-day will be melted down. The human soul will be revolutionized. Religion will absolutely dominate the race. . . . Religion will govern every minute of every day of all life. . . . The world peopled by men possessing cosmic consciousness will be as far removed from the world of to-day as this is from the world as it was before the advent of self consciousness (pp. 4-5).

According to Bucke, the evolution of consciousness accounts for the transformation from 'brute to man, from man to demigod' (p. 7). In this evolutionary process there are four distinct stages:

first, the perceptual mind-the mind made up of percepts or sense impressions; second, the mind made up of these and recepts-the so called receptual mind, or in other words the mind of simple consciousness; third, we have the mind made up of percepts, recepts and concepts, called sometimes the conceptual mind or otherwise the self conscious mind-the mind of self consciousness; and, fourth, and last, we have the intuitional mind-the mind whose highest element is not a recept or a concept but an intuition. This is the mind in which sensation, simple consciousness and self consciousness are supplemented and crowned with cosmic consciousness (p. 16).

Of the fourteen extraordinary instances of cosmic consciousness Bucke examines-including Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ, Paul, Mohammed, and Francis Bacon-Walt Whitman is the most remarkable. Although the terminology has changed from 'moral nature' to 'cosmic consciousness', the psychological phenomena Bucke is describing remain the same: the components of the moral nature are either positive or negative states of feeling, and not, as might be expected from traditional ethics, a matter of rea-

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son controlling the will. In Cosmic Consciousness, Bucke states that he is concerned with 'the evolution of the intellect' (p. 12), but it is clear that in dealing with what he calls the 'intuitions' (p. 16) of cosmic consciousness he is once again dealing with states of feeling.

In several ways Cosmic Consciousness is the book Bucke intended to present as Whitman's biography before Whitman began his revisions of the manuscript, deleting Bucke's discussions of the moral nature. Here again Whitman's life and work became both the illustration and the proof of Bucke's theories. Bucke's procedure in rewriting the biography is quite simple. He introduces the biographical section of Cosmic Consciousness thus: 'The following brief description is taken from the writer's "Life of Whitman", written in the summer of 1880, while he was visiting the author' (p. 215). The biographical sketch which follows is actually a composite of quotations from Walt Whitman:

Bucke begins his analysis by elevating the poet to a supreme position:

Walt Whitman is the best, most perfect, example the world so far has had of the Cosmic Sense, first because he is the man in whom the new faculty has been, probably, most perfectly developed, and especially because he is, par excellence, the man who in modern times has written distinctly and at large from the point of view of Cosmic Consciousness, and who also has referred to its facts and phenomena more plainly and fully than any other writer either ancient or modern (p. 225).

It was the onset of the faculty of 'cosmic consciousness,' he says, which transformed Whitman from a mere hack into one of the most important writers in the history of the world: 'in the case of Whitman . . . writings of absolutely no value were immediately followed . . . by pages across each of which in letters of ethereal fire are written the words of ETERNAL LIFE. . . . It is upon this instantaneous evolution of the Titan from the Man, this profound mystery of the attainment of the splendor and power of the king-

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dom of heaven, that this present volume seeks to throw light' (p. 226).

For biographical evidence of this phenomenon, Bucke selects passages from Whitman's poetry and prose. According to Bucke, Whitman describes his first experience of 'cosmic consciousness' in lines 73-86 of 'Song of Myself' in the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass, which Bucke uses because it brings the reader 'as near the man at the time of writing the words as possible' (p. 227). As in Walt Whitman, Bucke quotes a few lines and then presents a commentary and paraphrase in which, ostensibly, the underlying meaning of the text is made clear. Here, however, the text and gloss are presented in parallel columns. The effect, whether intended or not, is that of an annotated edition of the Bible. In the exegesis of the lines he mentions, Bucke finds the following significance: 'The new experience came in June, probably in 1853, when he had just entered upon his thirty-fifth year. It would seem that he was at first in doubt what it meant, then became satisfied and said: I believe in its teaching. Although, however, it is so divine, the other I am (the old self) must not be abased to it, neither must it (the new self) ever be overridden by the more basic organs and faculties' (p. 227).

Bucke's reading of the verse is relentlessly literal, allowing no scope for ambiguity or the complexities of figurative language. For example, Whitman's image of sexual possession (lines 79-81) is reduced to a metaphor of simple dominance:

You settled your head athwart my hips and gently turned over upon me,

And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged your tongue to my bare-stript heart.

And reached till you felt my beard, and reached till you held my feet.

Bucke comments: 'His outward life, also, became subject to the dictation of the new self-it held his feet' (p. 228). Whitman differed from all others who experienced 'cos-

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mic consciousness' not only because of the intensity and duration of his intuition, but, most important, because of his ability to integrate this new faculty with the old ones. Whitman 'saw, what neither Guatama nor Paul saw, what Jesus saw, though not so clearly as he, that though this faculty is truly Godlike, yet it is no more supernatural or preternatural than sight, hearing, taste, feeling. . . . He believes in it, but he says the other self, the old self, must not abase itself to the new . . . he will see that they live as friendly co-workers together. And it may here be said that whoever does not realize this last clause will never fully understand the "Leaves" ' (p. 232).

In his analysis of the 'Prayer of Columbus' Bucke feels that Whitman, in the persona of Columbus, finds himself in the situation of a man who, living twenty years under the guidance of 'this (seeming) supernatural illumination' (p. 273), discovers himself to be 'poor, sick, paralyzed, despised, neglected, dying' (p. 233). Yet he continues to trust 'the ray of light, steady, ineffable, with which God has lighted his life; and says it is rare, untellable, beyond all signs, descriptions, languages' (p. 234).

Bucke concludes his examination of Whitman's poetry with a brief commentary on 'To the Sunset Breeze'. In this poem, says Bucke, Whitman bids goodbye to 'cosmic consciousness': 'Doubtless the vision grew more dim and the voice less distinct as time passed and the feebleness of age and sickness advanced upon him. At last, in 1891, at the age of seventy-two, "Brahmic Splendor" finally departed, and in those mystic lines, "To the Sunset Breeze" . . . he bids it farewell!' (p. 235). (Bucke had long felt that he was one of the few to understand this poem.)

In the concluding chapter of his book Bucke's style and method undergo a radical change. Instead of the investigator of psychological phenomena, we find the prophet of new and loftier races of men: 'may it not well be that in the self conscious human being, as we know him to-day, we have the psychic germ of not one higher race only, but of

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several? . . . As for example: a cosmic conscious race; another race that shall possess seemingly miraculous powers of acting upon what we call objective nature; another with clairvoyant powers far surpassing those possessed by the best specimens so far; another with miraculous healing powers; and so on' (p. 372).

For the mass of men, the keys to these higher states of being are found in the lives and writings of those who have possessed 'cosmic consciousness': 'as one of them [Whitman] says: "I bestow upon any man or woman the entrance to all the gifts of the universe" ' (p. 373). Progress in this direction has been retarded by convention. Rather than accepting the sacred teachings of his particular time and place, each man should seek out what is most meaningful for him: 'And as there are many men in the West who are . . . more benefited by Buddhistic and Mohammedan scriptures than they are by Jewish or Christian, so, doubtless, there are thousands of men in southern Asia who . . . would be . . . more readily and profoundly stirred by the Gospels and Pauline epistles, or "Leaves of Grass" . . . ' (p. 374).

The most remarkable characteristic of this concluding section is the increasingly close identification of Walt Whitman with Christ. However, his achievements as a poet play no essential part in this deification: 'the literary instinct (or expression of any kind) is not necessarily highly developed in the Cosmic Conscious mind, but is a faculty apart. . . . Whitman lived and died vividly conscious of his defects in expression' (p. 375). It is rather his supreme moral development, and other, unnameable qualities, that link Whitman with Gautama and Christ:

The central point, the kernel of the matter, consists in the fact that they possess qualities for which we at present have no names or concepts. Jesus alluded to one of these when he said: 'Whoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life.' And Whitman

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points in the same direction when he declares that his book is not linked with the rest nor felt by the intellect, 'but has to do with untold latencies' in writer and reader, and also when he states that he does not give lectures and charity-that is, either intellectual or moral gifts-but that when he gives he gives himself (pp. 375-76).

In his letters to the other disciples, Bucke was even more explicit in his identification of Whitman with Christ.

Cosmic Consciousness concludes with a millenial vision of a new world peopled by a 'new race': 'The simple truth is, that there has lived on earth, appearing at intervals, for thousands of years among ordinary men, the first faint beginnings of another race; walking the earth and breathing the air with us, but at the same time walking another earth and breathing another air of which we know little or nothing, but which is, all the same, our spiritual life, as its absence would be our spiritual death. This new race is in an act of being born from us, and in the near future it will occupy and possess the earth' (pp. 383-84). No specific details as to how this change will occur are given, but in correspondence with Whitman's other disciples he often mentions this vision.

A few months after the publication of Cosmic Consciousness, on 19 February 1902, Bucke died as a. result of an accidental fall. He had spent the evening with friends discussing the Bacon-Shakespeare controversy and, upon returning home, 'could not resist the desire to go out once more to look at the night and stars. On the verandah, he slipped, struck his head against a pillar, and dropped lifeless to the floor.'2

(103)

To Horace Traubel

2 Jan [18192

My dear Horace

There was a mail yesterday morning but nothing came

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from you-no mail yesterday afternoon-in this mornings mail were three letter (M. & E. of 30th & M. of 31st)-It looks as tho' the dear old man would sink silently into death- but do not feel too sure of this-watch him as closely as you can-it might be that he will brighten up and speak towards the last.-You ought to be in his room when he dies if possible-I wish I could be-if he lives over next week I shall make a strong effort to be there and to keep the doctors on the alert and keep your own eyes open so that I may get such notice of the end as will enable me to be there if possible

If you speak to Walt tell him he is never out of my mind a moment

All good wishes to you

R M Bucke

(104)

To Horace Traubel

11 Jan [18192

My dear Horace

This morning came to hand yr. letters of thursday eve- ning & 2 written friday-also a bundle of papers con'g pieces re W. W. Many thanks for these last and I do not see why you should not continue to send me such when found in W's mail as it is hardly likely he will ever want them. My idea now abt. W. is that he will adjust himself to life on a still lower plane than ever heretofore and go on indefinitely-i. e. untill some new attack supervenes- it is really wonderfull-seems as if he cannot die-he has been thro' enough to kill several ordinary men. [-1 Tell him that I am here and that I never cease to think of him and that he can count on me for this world and the next Love to you R M Bucke

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To Horace Traubel

15 Jan [18]92

My dear Horace

I have yours of ev'g 12 & m'g 13. I fear W. is suffering a great deal-and I suffer to think of it and because I cannot be with him-I envy you that you at least see him every day and yet I know that you only suffer the more for that. These are terrible days but they cannot surely be much prolonged-but I fear W's almost superhuman strength- there is no telling what he may have to pass thro' before the very end. Tell him that I think of him day and night- that he is never out of my thoughts-that he may count on me for this world and all the worlds

Kind & best wishes to Anne & yourself

R M Bucke

To Horace Traubel

19 Jan [18]92

Dear Horace

I have yours of Saturday evening-also a long letter from Mrs Kellerl of 17 (Sunday). It seems that a crisis has arisen very different from that which we looked for. Mrs K. writes that W. is so much better that we must look to having him with us "an indefinite time" [I] then she goes on: "It would be impossible to properly clean up the room he is in without removing him to another. The walls are too dusty to touch near his bed. The room is crowded with articles incompatible with a sick room. The bed is infested with bugs and the carpet with moths. Not only the bed but other articles in the room have nits that will next summer produce an army of fresh bugs. The bedstead is an old one, no amount of care would make it fit for an invalid (or any other person) to lie in. His old shirts have been patched

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untill they are all in tatters, and there is a general lack of every thing. [-] He uses the bedpan usually but at times the bed has to be changed quickly and occasionally the sheets are used much faster than they can be washed and dried. [-] There are no towels, napkins or tray cloths to speak of-neither dishes usually provided for invalids. He needs a bed rest and some other things. [-] Every thing in the house is old and fast falling to pieces. The room Mrs Davis and Warren use (one by night and one by day) is unfit (as it is at present) for human beings. The whole house is unwholesome in the extreme. [-] Insanitary and thoroughly inconvenient. [-] Mr. W. is so wedded to his way of living that I have only made such changes as seemed absolutely necessary that he might be cared for. I have feared to annoy him or put him out. I am now at a loss how to proceed. A complete renovating of the house and a restoring of household effects seems so essential to me.

"Mr. W. is very pleasant and nice to get along with. I feel he is not averse to me or my care. He prefers Warren as a matter of course but I am confident he is as well suited with me as he would be with any outsider. He is comfortable just at present but something must soon be done to give him needed attention-things cannot go on very long as they are-the paper is deserting the walls, the plaster is ready to fall-the water closet is in a miserable state.- [-] Mr Harned is ill today, had he been here I would have said to him what I have written to you."

Now Horace something will have to be done. If a couple of hundred dollars can be raised (over & above Mrs K.'s salary) I would propse to move W. (I do not know that I would even ask his leave-just say it was necessary to move him for a day or so while the room was being fixed up a little) to the next room-then thoroughly clean up and new paper his present room-put a new (iron) bedstead into it and a good set of linen and all necessaries. [-] Put him back into it and renovate the same way Warren's room

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and the bathroom-for the latter you would have to have the plumbers-plasterer & painter. In this way W's surroundings might be made comfortable and at the same time presentable.2 Consult H. on this matter as soon as convenient and let me know the result. [-] I have the "American" & "Poet Lore" thanks. [-] I shall read your piece with more care and write about it-Am up to my eyes (and over) in work

Love to Anne Yours R M Bucke

'Mrs. Elizabeth Leavitt Keller, a professional nurse hired by Bucke to attend to Whitman, tells of her experiences with the poet in Walt Whitman in Mickle Street (New York, 1921).

2Bucke soon realized that the extensive renovations proposed by Mrs. Keller were not practicable. In a letter to Traubel of 28 January 1892, he proposed more modest arrangements: 'A few dollars for extra bedding and utensils for immediate use such as are needed in /every/ sick room but are not in that sick room (where a divine man lies dying) this seems all that we need think about just now' (Feinberg: LC). At this time Bucke himself had no money to spare. On 1 March 1892, he wrote to Traubel: 'About money matters here-I am infernally hard up-3 boys studing in Toronto and the meter absorbing money as a sandbank absorbs water. Have a little patience with me-I may be good for something (in that line) yet. But at present I am a mere pauper-dead beat. I treat it as a joke but it is getting past a joke. I am in a hole and so mixed up with other people that I cannot stir to get myself out' (Feinberg: LC).

(107)

To Horace Traubel

19 Feb [18]92

My dear Horace

I have your letter of tuesday ev'g. and Wednesday m'g. [-] As to the book ("In re W. W.") I believe our proper course is to seem to be moving but to go slow. To get out a prospectus-scatter it about pretty well-and let McKay (if he will) have the book announced as to appear "immediately" but I believe what we had better really look forward to is a book after Ws death to include /(1)/ most of the stuff we have we have [sic] in sight now- (2) grave side

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pieces & (3) any thing else that may crop up-and if we do it this way I would not limit the ed. to 1000 or any definite n° of copies. What we want at present is to preempt the market. Take possession and keep other "penny a liner" biographies out as much as possible. What I want you to do now is to amend and complete my prospectus, let me have a look at it and a chance to make suggestions-then get it out and issue it-but with the private understanding that we shall go on with the book as we can and as we think best

It is snowing again-we have good sleighing and just the most beautifull winter weather you can imagine

We are all well

Tell Walt I never for one minute forget him (I am writing about him at present every spare 1/2 hour)

Love to Anne Your friend R M Bucke

(108)

To Horace Traubel

14 March [18]92

My dear Horace

I have your letter of thursday e'g. and your two letters of friday. [-] I note what you say abt. W. not being able to lie on his back nor right side more than 5 minutes and the left side being sore to lie on. Had I a patient in such a fix as

this I should put him on a water bed-and on that he could

lie on his back-& so could W. If the case is really as bad as seems from your letter a water bed should be procured at once. /Will you speak to Longaker?/1 Do you think W. would tell you any thing about his own experience of "Cosmic Consciousness"? Would you try him some day if he was in better trim than usual? Do not say that I asked you. Tell him (for instance) that the doctor says that Christ, Paul & Mohamet all had C. C. but that W. W. is the man

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who has had it in most pronounced development-then try and get from /ask/ him something about it [/1 where he was and what doing at the time /it first made its appearance/? Did a luminous haze accompany the onset of C. C.? How many times has the C. C. returned? and how long remained at a time?

If you could quietly induce W. to talk about this experiPr,ce it will be /It would be/ most important to me and interesting to thousands-to many millions in the end, but I fear he will say nothing. If I had known as much a few years ago (abt C. C.) as I do now I would have got some valuable statements from him but now I fear it is too late2

Tell Walt that my heart is with him there in Camden always and always

To Horace Traubel

Chapter Five

About the worst thing in the world is to see a decent man thro' disease or defective heredity break down morally towards the end /&/ leave his memory stained & blurred

Love to Anne-So long!

R M Bucke

'Apparently Whitman had some objections to the water bed. On 22 March 1892, Bucke wrote Traubel: '-of course he will "kick" at the water bed (he does at every thing) but let him lie on one for twenty four hours and I am confident he would acknowledge its virtues' (Feinberg: LC). And on 25 March 1892, when the water bed had been procured, Bucke wrote Traubel: 'If W. does not like the W. bed at first make him stick to it-he will like it-can't help-but it is queer to lie on at first' (Feinberg: LC).

(110)

'Dr. Daniel Longaker attended Whitman in his last illness; his account 'The Last Sickness and the Death of Walt Whitman', is found in In Re Walt Whitman, pp. 393-411.

2It is apparent that Whitman never outlined for Bucke the specific details of his mystical experience-if, indeed, there had ever been one. Realizing that the opportunity to question Whitman was quickly passing, Bucke was anxious not to let it slip by.

(109)

To Horace Traubel

18 March [18]92

My dear Horace

I have yours of e'g. & night 15th & m'g. 16th[.] This is heartbreaking work-to have Walt lying suffering as he is and not able to do the last thing for him. But it is more and more clear to me that he ought at once to have a water bed. He could probably lie on such a bed on his back or left side continuously-and might sleep.'

All well here-I am 55 today-do not feel any the worse for it so far! It is a grand thing to be getting on well towards the end without serious demoralization in any direction!

180 March 20th, 1892

strictly private

My dear Horace:-

As you know I am writing on what I call "Cosmic Consciousness". Of all men who have ever lived I believe Walt Whitman has had this faculty most perfectly developed. I am anxious therefore to obtain from him some confirmation or some correction of my views on the subject and I ask you to read this letter to him and get from him if possible answers (however brief) to the series of questions with which it ends.

1 The human mind is made up of a great many faculties and these are of all ages some dating back millions or many millions of years, other only thousands of years, others like the musical sense just coming into existence.

2 As main trunk and stem of all the faculties are /1/ consciousness and /2/ self consciousness the one many million[s] of years old the other dating back perhaps a few hundred thousand years.

3 What I claim is that a third stage of consciousness is now coming into existence, and that I call "C. C."

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4 Of course when a new faculty comes into existence in any race at first one individual has it, then as the generations succeed one another more and more individuals have it until after say a thousand generations it beomes general in the race.

5 "C. C." dates back at least to the time of Buddha-it was this faculty that came to him under the Bo tree some two thousand five hundred years ago.

6 Christ certainly had the faculty though we have no record of how and when it came to him.

7 St Paul and Mohammed had it and we have pretty full details in both these cases of the time and manner of its onset, and we can plainly trace the effects of their illumination in their writings. P. refers to faculty fully &explicitly[.]

8 The faculty seems to be much commoner now than it used to be. I know six men who have had it in more or less pronounced development. N. B. A man may have it for half a minute or off & on for years & for days continuously[.]

9 Whatever Walt may say to you about it every page of L. of G. proves the possession of the faculty by the writer.

10 Not only so but he describes the onset of the faculty, its results and its passing away, and directly alludes to it over and over again.

11 The faculty always comes suddenly-it came to W. suddenly one June day between the years 1850 and 1855- which year was it?

12 Was the onset of the faculty accompanied by a sensation of physical illumination? As if he were in the midst of a great flame? or as if a bright light shown in his mind?

13 What did he think of the new comer at first? Was he alarmed? Did he think (or fear) he was becoming insane?

14 Here follows /15-16 &c./ a brief description of the onset of "C. C."-is it fairly accurate or will Walt suggest some alterations or additions?

182 Chapter Five

15 The man suddenly, without warning, has a sense of being immersed in a flame or rose colored cloud or haze-or perhaps rather a sense that the mind itself is filled with such a haze.

16 At the same instant or immediately afterwards he is bathed in an emotion of joy, exultation, triumph.

17 Along with this is what must be called for want of better words a sense of immortality and accompanying this:-

18 A clear conception (in outline) of the drift of the universe-a consciousness that the central over-ruling power is infinitely beneficient, also:-

19 An intellectual competency not simply surpassing the old but on a new and higher plane.

Just as science rests on reason, just as society rests on love and friendship, and is high or low according to the presence or absence of these, so religion rests on "C. C."

It may be said indeed in a very true sense that all that is best /in/ modern civilization depends on the light that has /shone/ by means of this faculty on half a dozen men-of these few men W. W. I believe is really chief and on him will rest a higher civilization than we have yet known-but meanwhile (while this is building) "C. C." will become more and more common, and his prophesy of other and greater /bards/ will be fulfilled and by means of the spread of the same faculty an audience will be supplied which will be worthy of its poets.

Tell W. that I beg of him to give me through you a little light to help me forward with my present task.'

With love to W. and to all his friends,

R M Bucke

'From Bucke's subsequent letters to Traubel and from his essays on 'cosmic consciousness', it would appear that Träubel never posed these questions to Whitman; at least, if he did, Whitman did not answer. Whitman's last words, as reported by Mrs. Keller, were practical. Because it was painful for him to lie in one position for any period of time, he had to be turned on his water bed frequently, and his last words, addressed to Warren Fritzinger, were 'Shift, Warry' (Keller, Walt Whitman, p. 175)

183

Richard Maurice Bucke, Medical Mystic

To J. W. Wallace and John Johnston

10 April [18]92

Dear Wallace and Johnston

Many thanks for your good kind letters. [-] I cannot write to you yet-my heart is as heavy as lead.' But it will pass off and please God we will work for dear Walt harder than ever. [-] Over and over again I keep saying to myself: The Christ is dead! Again we have buried the Christ! And for the time there seems to be an end of every thing. But I know he is not dead and I know that this pain will pass. Give my love to all the dear College fellows-now we are really brothers

God bless you all R M Bucke

'Whitman died on 26 March 1892

p184

To J. W. Wallace

24 June [18]93

Dear Wallace

The notes on "Walt Whitman's Birthday" meeting in Bolton last 31st May are just to hand sent to me by kindness of some of the "boys"-probably my good friend Dixon- hearty thanks to him and to all! I never doubted, my dear friend, that you at least realized (as much as is possible at this early date) what Walt's life, work and death means for us-his followers and disciples-none the less I was deeply interested & pleased to read your own words fully setting forth your own appreciation of your (of our) position. [-] You know well that we here (a few at least) feel with you in this matter and that we are working-and (please God) shall work with all the strength and energy that is in us to accomplish the task before us. [-] For my part (I have

184 Chapter Five

said it before) my life has been dedicated for now many years to the "Great Cause" and what remains of it is and shall be also so dedicated. It is the one thing I care for- that I live for and if I could in some way die for it I think my satisfaction would be complete. [-] To all of you, then, -devoted friends of our dear friend recognition, sympathy, love now and always from your lover and fellow laborer

R M Bucke

(113)

To J. W. Wallace

25 March [18]94

Dear Wallace

"Christ ist erstanden!" More correctly he is arising. I should have answered yours of 2 of Dec. before now by rights but I sit here and turn the handle of this mill untill I become a sort of a machine myself. I think I should go quite to sleep (and perhaps a very good thing too!) were it not for my book-an occational hour at it gives me renewed interest in life and the world. I am glad to find that you have tackled the current social problems in ernestthere is unlimited work waiting now to be done. We are entering (have entered?) one of the most tremendous crises in history and, as meterologists say, the "central depression" seems to be over England.' Should I live ten years longer I look to see immense changes-the Lords must go almost at once-the throne will soon follow-the church must be disestablished every where-these changes will introduce the revolution. When this really comes we shall have nationalization of the mines, railways, land-the present useless and worse than useless drones who have too long lived on the labor of others and have rewarded others-their betters-by affecting to look down upon them-these drones must work or die-the rightfull owner (the creator) of English civilization and its products must

185

Richard Maurice Bucke, Medical Mystic

enter into his inheritance. [-] Do not forget that I shall be glad of any hints you may feel to give me on the subject of C. C. as this is (of course) the subject with me now. The few pages in "In Re" are too fragmentary to be of any account one way or the other-I published them as a miner stakes his claim-to notify all and sundry that I had taken up the land.

Do not let the College boys forget me-I shall drop in upon you one of these days and when I do I shall hunt them all up-give my love to Dr and Mrs Johnston

I am, dear Wallace, affectionately yours

R M Bucke The meter is moving forwards-we have begun manufacturing here-we think we have it right this time and if so it will make some money for us.

So long! RMB

Chapter Five

books and never get enough of them. So I read them over again when the interval is too long to wait from one to the other.

I am writing a book now that you will like, I wish it was ready but it will not be for a year or two-it is to be called "Cosmic Consciousness" and will be a good sized volume.

Give my love to Wallace

do do Carpenter

do do Ned Wild and all the College boys.

Love to you, too, my dear boy

R. M. Bucke.

'Edmund Gosse, 'A Note on Walt Whitman', New Review, 10 (April 1894), 447.

'Bucke outlined some of these revolutionary changes in Cosmic Consciousness (see pp. 4-5).

(114)

To C. F. Sixsmith

1St May 1894

My dear Sixsmith

Very many thanks for "New Review" with Gosse's W. W. piece which of course I wanted and did not know where to get when your gift came along and filled up the gap.1 I am very glad that you are with Wallace and that you know enough to appreciate him. Wallace is one of "the coming race" an expression which you will appreciate better when you read a little paper of mine which I hope to send you in a few weeks. Carpenter is another and even better marked specimen of what some American friends of mine call (not Christians but) "Christ-men". You, I hope, too, are there or on the road. Yes I read all Carpenter's

186 187

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

" (Proceedings of the first annual conference on personality change and religious experience, Richard Maurice Bucks, M.D. 1837-1902 Psychiatrist, Author, Mystic, Cyril Greenland, 1965 AD, p)

PERSONALITY CHANGE AND RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE

The R. M. Bucke Memorial Society for the study of religious experience

conference on

PERSONALITY CHANGE AND RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE

Proceedings of the first annual conference, Jan. 15-16, 1965, - at the Quaker Meeting House, Montreal, Canada

price $ 2.50

CONTENTS

Introduction

R. H. Prince

Richard Maurice Bucks, M.D. 1837-1902 Psychiatrist, Author, Mystic

. Cyril Greenland

The Psychology of Religious Experience

D. H. Salman 18

Discussion

W. Clifford M. Scott 30

Mystical States and the Concept of Regression

R. H. Prince & Charles Savage 36

Discussion

Panel Discussion

Walter Houston Clark 56

Chairman: Sidney Katz 64

ZEN Bernard Phillips 64

Discussion 68

Mystical Experience in Islam

Hermann Landolt 70

Mysticism in Christianity *

Paul Dickinson 77

YOGA Brian Robinson 81

Page

1

iiiiii[611

RICHARD MAURICE BUCKE M.D.

1837 - 1902

PSYCHIATRIST, AUTHOR, MYSTIC

Cyril Greenland*

A little more than a hundred years ago1 a remarkable young man graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. From a sketch drawn by a fellow student, we can see that he had a romantic head, deep wide-set eyes, and a resolute mouth and chin. The upper and lower jaws are garlanded by a flocculent moustache and beard. Long hair, waved with studied negligence over his brow, extends to his shirt collar at the back. Apparently this hairstyle was quite fashionable among McGill students even in those days. Following an incredible adventure in the Sierra Nevadas five years earlier, he suffered severe frostbite which necessitated the amputation of his left foot. A conspicuous limp must have accentuated his Byronic appearance. He was twenty-five years old and his name was Richard Maurice Bucke.

His unusual appearance and remarkable experiences were not alone in distinguishing Bucke from his colleagues, He was also a brilliant student and won two2 of the nine prizes awarded in 1862. This was particularly unexpected because up to the time of his admission to the University, Bucke had no formal education. In fact, there is no record of his ever having been to school. The following more detailed account of his background and early history reveals the unfolding career of Dr. Bucke as a Psychiatrist, Author and Mystic.

*Social Work Adviser, Mental Health Branch, Ontario Department of Health, Toronto.

2.

Richard Maurice Bucke was not born in Canada, but at Methwold in Norfolk, England on March 18th, 1837. His father, a Church of England Curate, was a descendant of Sir Robert Walpole, a famous English Prime Minister. The year after his birth, Bucke,s parents emigrated to Upper Canada with their seven young children. They settled in a pioneer homestead on a site "not a hundred rods" from the present Ontario Hospital in London. Here, thirty-nine years later, Dr. Bucke was appointed Superintendent.

The father, Reverend Horace Walpole Bucke, a classical scholar and linguist, brought with him to Canada a library of several thousand books in English, Frenchse Italian, Spanish, Latin, Greek and Hebrew. As the children grew up they were taught

to read in several languages. None of them received any formal education, except what they gleaned from their reading. Three of the six sons became doctors. Another studied law and became a distinguished Civil Servant.

p 1)

As a child, Bucke worked with his brothers in the fields, tended cattle, brought in firewood, drove oxen and horses and ran errands. He was an avid reader of Marryat's novels, Scott's poems and novels and similar books dealing with wi4 life and human behaviour. He was never able to accept the doctrines of the Christian Church and firmly believed that "Jesus was a man - great and good no doubt - but a man".

He was, he described, at times subject to a "sort of ecstacy of curiosity and hope". On one occasion, when he was about ten years old2 Bucke earnestly longed to die so that the secrets of the beyond, if there was a beyond, might be revealed to him.

At the age of sixteen, following the death of his mother, Bucke left home. He wandered and worked as a labourer in the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys and in the Cypress Swamps of Louisiana. He crossed the plains from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean and worked as a miner with Alan and Hosea Grosh, discoverers of the famous Comstock Lode. His adventures were so much like fiction, that in later years, they were published on several occasions as fictional accounts of the opening of

the West.

In the winter of 1857, Bucke and Alan Grosh were on their way to California to register their claim to the Comstock silver deposits, which the Grosh brothers

411Milttill1111,11

3. had discovered. They were lost in a snowstorm in the mountains for five days and

four nights. Eight days after they arrived at a small mining camp, Alan Grosh died of exposure. Here is part of Alan's own account of their ordeal from a letter to his father, the Reverend A. B. Grosh:

Blind Ravine

M. Am. River,

December 12th, 1857

"Morris' feet are worse than mine, as he thawed them out by the fire, while I wrapped mine up in blankets. I had not the energy to rub in snow; for besides being without fire for four nights, we were without food for three days."

He continues: "I think that in three or four days I will start for the Sugar Loaf. If Morris is able to go, he will go with me, - if not, I shall leave him behind at the best place that I can find, and push on in hopes of getting something to do that I can work

at until my feet get well, so as to sustain us both, if it is necessary."

Alan's letter ends with an apology: "The ends of my fingers are slightly touched with frost and my wits end with fever, so that I feel very much ashamed of the confused note I have written you. But it must go, as I cannot write another. Neither of us can walk."

On the back page of this letter, which was copied from the original, is the following note, dated December 20th, 1857:

"Sir, it becomes my painful duty to inform you of the death of your friend (son) E. A. Grosh® He died on yesterday, 20 minutes past 4 o'clock. Mr. Grosh was buried today, very genteely, at 1/2 past 4 o'clock."

(Signed) W. J. Harrison

11111111 11411,11

4.

Alan Grosh died of exhaustion and exposure and Bucke survived after having one foot and part of the other crudely amputated. The wound took forty years to heal. He eventually made his way back to Canada where, having inherited a smAJ1 legacy from his mother, he became a medical student at McGill.

Following his graduation in 1862, Bucke spent two years in England and

France on post-graduate studies. During this period, he kept a journal. In this, he

recorded his daily activities, his emotional experiences and an account of his reading. A typical entry during his stay in London, England is as follows:

"Oct. 3rd, 1863 - Shakespeare 24" (He studied and memorized a sonnet each day.) "Spent morning at U.C.H. Had time for a dinner and a smoke during which I read of Hunt's Byron. A poor sort of book written as well as I can make out by a poor sort of man. Then to King's College Hospital, and saw a lot of operations by Wood and one Watson, a young man. Ferguson, it seems, is out of town. Came home by 5 very tired and read "Life of Chatterton" for a rest 'tit 8, then read Comte 2 hours, and finished the evening with Carlyle's "Heroes and Hero-Worship". I began Comte this time at the beginning of Vol. 11 of his "Politique Positive" and I mean now to keep on from there steadily to the end of the work, which I think I can finish in three months by reading 2 hours a day. We shall see."

Bucke was a born student and a prodigious and systematic reader. His interests included history, science, literature, particularly poetry and biography. At the same time he carried on a life-long correspondence with numerous friends and professional colleagues. Even at that time he probably had a sense of immortality because almost all the letters he received from people, such as Walt Whitman, Horace Traubel0 Buxton Foreman, Edward Carpenter, William Osler and John Burroughs, etc., have been carefully preserved.

In 1864, Dr. Bucke returned to Canada, married and settled down for 12 years to practice medicine in Sarnia. In 1876, he was appointed Superintendent at the newly-opened mental hospital in Hamilton. After a year, he was transferred to the Ontario Hospital, London where he served for 25 years with great distinction until his sudden death in 1902. He was a founder of the Medical School in London and its first Professor of Nervous and Mental Diseases. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, President of the Psychological Section of the British Medical Association and, finally, a distinguished President of the American Medico-Psychological Association now the American Psychiatric Association."

p4

It is not widely known that Bucke, a friend of Alexander Graham Bell, was the first telephone subscriber in London, Ontario. The first public demonstration of the telephone took place in the Asylum which was connected to the City Office

of the Dominion Telegraph Company on Richmond Street, four miles away3.

Although not the first in Canada to introduce "Moral Treatment" into North America, Dr. Bucke carried this concept into practice further than anyone else before him. He abolished the use of alcohol as a sedative, he removed all forms of restraint and devoted himself to providing occupations so that 90% of his patients were healthily employed. Female attendants were successfully introduced on the male wards and some of the patients were even paid for their work.

The "Open Door" policy was initiated in London by Bucke in 1882. Additional doors were built as exits to increase the tense of freedom. There were no unpleasant incidents and Dr. Bucke was able to justify his opinion that "It is restraint that makes restraint necessary". He also claimed that "The object of treatment in the case of insanity is (to my mind) not so much the cure of disease as it is the rehumanization of the patient". In recent times this view has found expression in a variety of remotivation programmes.

Although he was an exceedingly well respected figure at international gatherings, at home Dr. Bucke was not always popular with his medical colleagues.

1111114 1114.1

6,

Towards the end of his distinguished career he was publicly condemned by some of them for "meddlesome Gynecology" and "mutilating helpless lunatics". The cause of this was his reports of the surgical treatment of pelvic diseases discovered in a group of female patients. In 1893, a patient named S. Q. who suffered Iran chronic mania was found to have an ovarian disease. After consultation with specialists, it was decided to operate on her. She made a good physical recovery, but for months her mental condition remained the same. However, within a year after the operation she was much better and within two years she was almost well. Later she was discharged from hospital recovered. Follow-up a year later found her perfectly well.

When first reported to the Annual Meeting of the British Medical Association held in Montreal in 1897, these findings aroused a great deal of heated controversy. The critics argued that the surgery on insane women was both unnecessary and useless. Dr. Bucke replied that the operations were necessary even if no mental improvement took place. "The operations are done," he said, "in every instance to remove actual

physical disease; the mental recovery, when it takes place, is of course of unspeakable importance to the patient and her friends; but is not needed in the least for the purpose of justifying the operation." "It comes to this," he said, "that the treatment of the mind resolves itself into an endeavour to place the whole physical system on the best possible basis of health and efficiency."

This view underlies Bucke's whole philosophy of treatment. To him, mental illness was not simply an accidental aberration. It was, he thought, evidence of a failure of the total biological process by which mankind adapts to change. This he suggested, could only be understood in the perspective of the evolution of consciousness. His whole life, which Bucke described as "one passionate note of interrogation and unappeasable hunger for enlightenment", was devoted to understanding the nature of man's psycho-physical interrelationships with the Cosmos.

p 6)

The turning point in Bucke's life came when he was 30 and first started reading Walt Whitman's, Leaves of Grass. A copy of the Rossetti edition was loaned

HI U EIIt

7

to him by a friend from his McGill days, Dr. Sterry Hunt.

On February 18th, 18689 in a letter to Harry Foreman*, Bucke wrote: "Have you seen that here is the modern poet ? Especially the American poet, the only one so far. The founder of American literature as Goethe was of German literature 9 That here at last in the doings of man is something consummate with the broadest doing of the day and night 9 That here in fact is the master mind of literature - a mind too great to be confined in the poems and usages ® that makes as it goes ways

and forms and usages for generations to come. A mind and heart on

a large scale in which there is no littleness, no humbug, no preterce, no make-believe, which perceive with themselves the outside world

as it is without warp or refraction and which renders it back again without warp or refraction. In fact, if I am not mistaken, we have

here a correct revelation - for this is a man, and he reveals himself." On April 11th, 1869, in another letter to Harry Foreman, Bucke wrote

again about Whitman's, Leaves of Grass:

"And for grandeur of expression, if we want to match this poem, we must go to Milton. I may have gone crazy and lost what little sense I had, or I may have never had any to lose, but if neither of these propositions are true this is the greatest poet this world has seen lately,"

Bucke's long awaited meeting with Whitman is described in another letter, to Foreman, dated October 24th, 1877:

"We were old friends in less than two minutes and I spent a good part of the forenoon with him, We then crossed the river (Delaware) together to Philadelphia as he had an engagement there. I hardly know how to tell you about W. W, If I tried to say how much he impressed me you would probably put it down to exaggeration. I have never seen any man

*Harry Buxton Foreman 1842-1917) British Critic and Editor, ,.:Lefly remembered

for his scholarly works on Keats and Shelley.

MUM at

8.

to compare with him - any man the least like him. He seems more than a man and yet in all his looks and ways entirely commonplace (Do I contradict myself ?). He is an average man magnified to the dimensions of a God - but this does not give you the least idea of what he is like and I despair of giving you any idea at all, however slight -

I may say that I experienced what I have heard so much about, the extraordinary magnetism of his presence. I not only felt deeply in an indescribable way towards him, but I think that the short

interview has altered my attitude of my normal nature to everything - I feel differently, I feel more than I did before - this may be fancy, but I do not think it is."

Whitman's effect on Bucke, as well as on many others who came under his

influence, corresponds in many respects to the experience of religious conversion.

The symptoms were still in evidence when Dr. Bucke was an old man. They were skill-

fully-recorded by Sir William Osler and published in Cushing's biography: "One evening after dinner at the Rittenhouse Club with Dr, Chapin, Dr. Tyson, Dr. J. K. Mitchell and a few others who I knew would appreciate him, I drew Bucke on to tell the story of Whitman's influence. It was an experience to hear an elderly man - looking

a venerable seer - with absolute abandonment tell how Leaves of Grass had meant for him spiritual enlightenment, a new power in life, new joys in a new existence on a plane higher than he had ever hoped to reach. All this with the accompanying physical exaltation expressed by dilated pupils and intensity of utterance that were embarrassing

to uninitiated friends. This incident illustrates the type of influence exercised by Whitman on his disciples - a cult of a type such as no other literary man of our generation has been the object ......"

Bucke's first major publication was Man's Moral Nature published in 1879.

=Mail

9,

In this, Bucke uses the term 'moral' to mean man's emotional' nature, He distinguishes between emotions or 'moral stateq) and concepts of 'intellectual states', Moral states, he reasons are ultimately reducible to four 'simple' states, 'Faith', 'love', 'fear', and 'hate'. Of these, Bucke claims that the role of faith is most frequently misunderstood because it is often confused with 'belief' which is only its correspond-

ing intellectual state.

According to Bucke, the intellectual nature of man is located in the cerebral- spinal nervous system. On the other hand, he claims that man's moral nature, or emotions are centered in the sympathetic nervous system. The cerebral system enables us to express intellectual ideas and concepts, but the sympathetic, being responsible for the emotional states, has no vocal organs.

Psychotherapists will appreciate Dr. Bucke's useful analogy. He writes: "I can tell you that I am afraid, or that I love. This, however, would not be an expression of an emotion. This would be only an issue of intellectual paper intended to represent emotional gold, which never leaves the vault of the bank,"

Of course, this kind of formulation has gained a wide acceptance with the development of psycho-somatic medicine. Less well known, at least in the Western world" is the very much earlier Vedantic teachings on 'chakras' or 'centres' as the seats

of our emotional experience4.

Dr. Bucke postulates that well-being and even longevity are ultimately dependent on the proper function of the sympathetic nervous system. He also expresses for the first time, the Darwinian idea that the evolution of consciousness in mankind operates on a basis similar to natural selection. Something of this is expressed in the dedication of the book, Man's Moral Natures

"I Dedicate This Book To The Man Who Inspired It - To The Man Who Of All Men Past And Present That I Have Known Has The Most Exalted Moral Nature - To Walt Whitman".

p 9

11111111

10,

As my friend, John C6lombo2 pointed out in his brilliant study of tici....____RichardmauriceB15" the influence of Whitman was a decisive factor in Bucke's life, but it was not the only one. Perhaps even more important, was the sudden experience of illumination which occurred in

his 36th year, in London, England, early in the spring of 1872. A detailed account of this is given in Bucke's major work, Cosmic Consciousness. It has been described many times and it is only necessary to summarize it here.

Bucke had spent the evening with friends reading poetry. It was midnight when he left them to drive home in a hansom cab, He was in a state of quiet, almost passive enjoyment. All at once, without warning of any kind, he found himself wrapped around as it were, by a flame coloured cloud. For an instant he thought

of fire, some sudden conflagration in the great city, the next he knew that the light was within himself. Directly afterwards came upon him a sense of exultation, of immense joyousness, accompanied, or immediately followed by an intellectual illumination quite impossible to describe, He claimed that he learned more within the few seconds during which the illumination lasted, than in previous months, or even years, of study and that he learned much that no study could ever have taught.

Bucke was convinced that this was an instance of Cosmic Awareness or Consciousness. He devoted the next thirty years of his life to establishing a scientific framework within which it could be understood as a natural phenomenon quite different from similar morbid experiences.

It has already been suggested that Bucke regarded Walt Whitman as the most perfect example of the development of the Cosmic Sense, He also believed that the poems, Leaves of Grass were a direct result of Whitman's experience.

"The illumination (or whatever it was) came to Walt Whitman or upon

him, one June morning, and took absolute possession of him, at least

for a time. His life received its inspiration from a newcomer, the

new self, whose tongue, as he expresses it, was plunged to his bare

URIRIRU

11. stripped heart. His outward life, also became subject to the dictation

of the new self - 'it held his feet'. Finally in this great poem, Whitman tells how new faculty changed his mind and heart:

"Swiftly arose and spread around me the place and joy and

knowledge that passes all the art and argument of the earth;

And I know that the hand of God is the elder hand of my own;

And I know that the Spirit of God is the eldest brother of my own; And that all the men ever born are also my brothers;

And the women my sisters and lovers;

And that a Kelson of the creation is love."

Emerson and Thoreau, who were among the first in North America to possess translations of Vedantic literature, doubtless recognized the significance of this poet of the New World - especially the striking resemblance between the Bhagavad-Gita and the Song of Myself.

Bucke's interest in Whitman, as another example of the Cosmic Consciousness, resulted in a study of the poet published in 1883. Although this is more hagiographic than biographic, it was the very first formal biography of Walt Whitman ever to be published. It ran through two editions and brought Dr. Bucke into contact with the leading literary figures of his day.

Indirectly, this led to Dr, Bucke's visit to Alfred Lord Tennyson, As far as I knows, this has not been reported before6. Bucke went to England in 1891 with the following letter from Walt Whitman written a year before his death,

Camden, N.J., U.S. America,

June 26, '91

"If you are feeling well enough and in opportune mind, let me introduce my good friend and physician, Dr. Bucke, He is Superintendent (Medical and other) of the big Insane Canadian Asylum at London, Ontario - is an Englishman born, but reared (as we say it) in America. I still stick out here in the land of the living,

[HUME i

12.

but pretty tough pulling most of the time."

Walt Whitman

At 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 9th, 1891, Dr. Bucke called at Lord Tennysonts home. He was received by Hallam Tennyson, who explained that his father was asleep. He was invited to meet Lady Tennyson who, curiously enough, turned the conversation to Canadian politics. Lady Tennyson said that she regarded the death of Sir John A, Maccimald, in June of that year, as a deplorable event. She said that Lord Tennyson had telegraphed Sir John upon the occasion of his victory at the last election, and that he had been rather surprised never to receive a reply. Dr. Bucke tactfully explained that there must have been some strong reason why Sir John had not answered.

Eventually, Dr. Bucke was able to spend an hour with Lord Tennyson who was over 80 years of age at this time, and very frail. The topics of their conversation included a discussion on immortality and the possibility of life being continued independently of our present bodies. Bucke was rather surprised to find that Tennyson seemed doubtful about the possibility of the continuity of life after death. They also talked of thought transference without any of the recognized modes of communication, and agreed that this was not only possible, but that it constantly happened. Incidentally, Tennyson was sharply critical of the Americans. He complained to Dr. Bucke that they had stolen his books and never offered him any renumeration. Although this interview was not entirely satisfactory, Bucke was evidently very pleased with himself. He said:

"I needed no carriage .... wings were good enough to take

MR home that evening."

In fact, he walked home - the best part of four miles.

This interview with Lord Tennyson, which was recorded by Horace Traubel, is not mentioned in Buckets book, Cosmic Consciousness. This is curious, because Bucke quotes Tennyson's mystical experience as one of the examples of less than

111111110 LYULLLEF

134

perfect Cosmic Awareness. Tennyson referred tog

"A kind of waking trance I have frequently had, quite up from boyhood, when I have been all alone. This has often come upon me through repeating my own name to myself silently till, all at once, as it were, out of the intensity of the consciousness of individuality, the individuality itself seemed to dissolve and fade away into boundless being; and this is not a confused state, but the clearest of the clearest, the surest of the

surest, the weirdest of the weirdest, utterly beyond words, where death was an almost laughable impossibility, the loss of personality (if so it were) seeming no extinction, but the only true life,"7

Bucke points out that in repeating his own name, Tennyson, quite unconsciously, was using the means laid down from time immemorial for the attainment of illumination.

It seemed to have been Dr. Buckets practice to present advance notice of his ideas to his professional colleagues before delivering them to the public. He did so in 1877 in a paper to the Association of Medical Superintendents, entitled "The Functions of the Great Sympathetic". This was followed up in 1878,

with another paper, "The Moral Nature and The Great Sympathetic". Man's Moral Nature then appeared as a book in 1879.

A similar pattern was followed in 1894, when Dr. Bucke presented a paper on "Cosmic Consciousness" to the American Medico-Psychological Association meeting in Philadelphia in May of that year. In this, Dr. Bucke presented his theory of the development of consciousness in man. He also provided the basis for his view that a higher form of consciousness than that possessed by ordinary man is historically appearing in the human race. By 1899, he had completed the manuscript for his magnum opus Cosmic Consciousness - A Study of The Evolution of the Human Mind. After a great struggle to find a publisher, it appeared in 1901 under the imprint of Innes & Sons, Philadelphia. Since then, it has never been out of print.

In Cosmic Consciousness, Bucke explores fourteen instances of illumination. He begins with Buddha and the Christ and continues with Mohammed, Paul, Dante, Bacon, Jacob Behmen, Blake and concludes with Walt Whitman and Edward Carpenter. He also provides thirty-six case studies of less than perfect examples of illuminative experiences. His thesis is that there exist three grades of consciousness:

Simple Consciousness, which is possessed by the upper half of the animal kingdom.

Self Consciousness. This is a distinctively human attribute. By virtue of this men and women are able to step aside from themselves as it were, and say: "Yes that thought I had about the matter is true; I know it is true and I know that I know it is true."

Finally there is

(3) Cosmic Consciousness. This is, as the name implies, an intuitive awareness of the Cosmos and of the life and order of the Universe.

The experience comes usually at about the age of 35, often in the spring

or summer. It can be readily identified in the life history of the individual because of significant changes in the quality of work done. There is also a range of new qualities, a sense of re-birth, a joy, an enhanced moral nature and improved intellectual powers. This higher form of consciousness occurs only to a few men, but the incidence of its occurrence is increasing. Because of this, Bucke felt that the future of mankind was indescribably hopeful.

There was, he presaged, three impending revolutions:

The material, economic and social, which will depend upon and result from the establishment of aerial navigation.

The economic and social revolution will abolish individual ownership and rid the earth of two immense evils: riches and poverty. And

(3) The psychical revolution. With this all religions will be 'melted down'. Religion will still dominate society when all creeds, priests and rituals would be superseded by man's direct intercourse with God.

p 13

In the final chapter of this prophetic work, Bucke excuses himself for

not devoting a section of it to the various artificial means used to achieve heightened consciousness. However, he touches briefly on the mental states induced by anesthetics and says: "Just as drinking alcohol induces a kind of artificial and bastard joy, so the inhalation of ether and chloroform sometimes induces a kind of artificial and bastard consciousness." In this way, he anticipates the work of Huxley and others who have experimented with the use of L.S.D. and other socalled Psychedelic, or mind manifesting drugs.

The 22nd edition of Cosmic Consciousness was published last year. Unfort-

unately, it does not include the remarkable letter addressed to Bucke's eldest son,

Maurice Andrew, who died most tragically in 1899 at the age of thirty-one. My

purpose in concluding with a quotation from this deeply moving letter is to give

you some indication of the strength of Bucke's conviction about immortality: "I desire to speak here of my confident hope, not of my pain.

I will say that through the experiences which underlie this volume I have been taught, that in spite of death and the grave, although you are beyond the range of our sight and hearing, notwithstanding that the universe of sense testifies to your absence, you are not dead and not really absent, but alive and well and not far from me this moment. I have been permitted - no, not to enter, but - through the narrow

aperture of a scarcely opened door, to glance one instant into that other divine world, it was surely that I might thereby be enabled to live through the receipt of those lightning-flashed

words from Montana which time burns only deeper and deeper into my brain.

Only a little while now and we shall be again together and with us those other noble and well-beloved souls gone before. I am sure I shall meet you and them; that you and I shall talk of a thousand things and of that unforgettable day and of all that followed it; and that we shall clearly see that all were parts of an infinite plan which was wholly wise and good. Do you

see and approve as I write these words ? It may well be.

Do you read from within what I am now thinking and feeling ? If you do you know how dear to me you were while you yet lived what we call life here and how, much more dear you have become to me since.

Because of the insoluble links of birth and death wrought

by nature and fate between us; because of my love and because of my grief; above all because of the infinite and

inextinguishable confidence there is in my heart, I inscribe to you this book, which, full as it is of imperfections

which render it unworthy of your acceptance, has nevertheless sprung from the divine assurance born of the deepest insight of the noblest members of our race.

So long; dear boy.

Your father"

p16

Almost as if he had wished it, Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke died suddenly on February 19th, 1902. He was in his 65th year and the labours to which his whole life had been dedicated were triumphantly concluded.

16.

1111 ULU Ur

REFERENCES

Richard Maurice Bucke, M.D., graduated from McGill University in 1862.

Bensley" E,M., Associate Dean, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, personal communication, 23-9-1963. Bucke was awarded the Governor's Prize for the best thesis (The Correlation of Vital and Physical Forces) and the Professor's Prize in Clinical Medicine for the best report of cases.

Keyser, Walter, Excerpts from The Introduction of Bell's Telephone in London, Ontario, 1875-1880, Western Ontario Historical Notes, University of Western Ontario, Vol. IX, No. 3, p. 95, Sept. 1951.

Davies, Blodwsn" Richard Maurice Bucke and the Sources of Genius, p. 71-78. Dr. Radhakrishnan Souvenir Volume, The Darshana International, Sept. 5th, 1964, Moradabad, India, In addition to this valuable article I must acknowledge my great debt to Miss Davies for her gracious hospitality and many hours of illuminating conversation.

Colombo, J.R,, A Doctor of Mysticism - Richard Maurice Bucke, The Canadian Theosophist, Vol. 41, No. 6, p. 133-139, Toronto, Jan. 1961.

This was recorded by Horace Traubel at Camden, Sept. 7th, 1891. The original manuscript is in the possession of Mrs. Ina Seaborn, Her permission to quote from it is gratefully acknowledged.

7. Bucke, R.M., Cosmic Consciousness, 1st edition, p. 241, Innes & Sons, Philadelphia, 1901.

170

----------------------------------------------

CANADIAN MEDICAL LIVES

" (R.M. Bucke, Journey to Cosmic Consciousness, Peter A. Rechnitzer, 1994 AD, p

Series Editor: T.P. Morley

Associated Medical Services, Inc. & Fitzhenry & Whiteside

1 QOA.

Copyright © Associated Medical Services Incorporated/The Hannah Institute CANADIAN MEDICAL LIVES SERIES

for the History of Medicine, 1994

Fitzhenry & Whiteside

195 Allstate Parkway

Markham, Ontario L3R 4T8

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, except brief passages for purposes of review, without the prior permission of Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

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Typesetting: Jay Tee Graphics Ltd.

Printing and Binding: Best/ Gagne Book Manufacturers Inc.

Fitzhenry & Whiteside wishes to acknowledge the generous assistance and ongoing support of The Book Publishing Industry Development Programme of the Department of Communications, The Canada Council, and The Ontario Arts Council.

Care has been taken to trace the ownership of copyright material used in the text, including the illustrations. The author and publisher welcome any information enabling them to rectify any reference or credit in subsequent editions.

Canadian Cataloguing in Publication Data

Rechnitzer, Peter R.M. Bucke

(Canadian medical lives : no. 12)

Co-published by the Hannah Institute. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 1-55041-155-1

Bucke, Richard Maurice, 1837-1902.

Psychiatrists - Canada - Biography. I. Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine. II. Title. III. Series.

RC438.6.B8R4 1994 616.89'0092 C94-930503-0 The story of the Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine has been told by John B. Neilson and G.R. Paterson in Associated Medical Services Incorporated: A History (1987). Dr. Donald R. Wilson, President of AMS, and the Board of Directors decided that the Institute should produce this series of biographies as one of its undertakings.

The first ten biographies have now been published and can be obtained through the retail book trade or from Dundurn Press Ltd., 2181 Queen Street East, Suite 301, Toronto, Canada, M4E 1E5, and Dundurn Distribution, 73 Lime Walk, Headington, Oxford, England, OX3 7AD. The second group, of which this is the first volume, can also be obtained through retail book stores or from the publisher, Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

Richard Maurice Bucke (1837-1902) grew up and practised psychiatric medicine in London, Ontario, where he became Superintendent of the London Asylum. As a young man he spent four years wandering the United States picking up whatever work he could find. In the course of his mining adventures he came within an inch of death crossing the Sierra Nevada but survived with frost-bitten feet (which had to be amputated).

Bucke came to international prominence through his unusual friendship with Walt Whitman. Whitman served as an inspiration for Bucke's Cosmic Consciousness. In this work Bucke wrote his prescription for the human millennium, an apocalyptic vision with Leaves of Grass as the Bible of Democracy.

Peter Rechnitzer unravels the complex threads of Bucke's life: his adventures, his denial of his father and his adoration of Whitman who became his Messiah. Bucke was convinced that only mankind itself can shape its future into perfection, and that guilt, penitence and absolution are regressive steps reversing the march to happiness.

Future volumes include William Henry Drummond (J.B. Lyons) and William Beaumont (Julian Smith).

There is no shortage of meritorious subjects. Willing and capable authors are harder to acquire. The Institute is therefore deeply grateful to authors who have committed their time and skill to the series.

T.P. Morley Series Editor 1994

184

edly while riding on a train, he discovered what he believed was the clue to the cipher needed to unlock the mystery of Shakespeare's dedication of the Sonnets.51 Using the cipher, he was able to extract the name of Francis Bacon twice. Bucke interpreted this as meaning that Bacon dedicated the Sonnets to himself. This encoded message would seem like gibberish to the scientific cryptographer, but Bucke, with the biased eye - of the committed, saw with great excitement that it fitted a part of the pn771e and led him to the continued scrutiny of all of Shakespeare's works for further evidence of hidden authorship.

Chapter 16

Bucke's Career as Psychiatrist

IN 1877 Bucke had succeeded Dr. Henry Landor as the second superintendent of the new London asylum which had opened seven years earlier. He remained there until his death, and during those twenty-five years he introduced many changes in the management of the insane, some conventional and adopted concurrently elsewhere, but some highly controversial.

Although Bucke had consumed alcohol as a young man and had even occasionally been intoxicated, he abandoned its use personally and, as superintendent, gradually eliminated it as a mode of treatment for his patients. In this he was adopting current practice. In 1877 the Legislative Assembly of Ontario made it known that it did not approve of the use of alcohol medicinally for mental patients, and by the mid-1880s it was used very little.' In a lecture he gave in May 1888, to the London Young Men's Prohibition Club, Bucke summarized the change in policy over a fifteen-year period.2

186

1872-76

1877-81;1882-87

Cost of alcohol/per patient

$3.50

3-1/2 cents

0

Number of patients treated in hospital

1,068

1,440

1,635

General death rate in hospital

5.5%

4.5%

4.35%

General recovery rate in hospital

37%

41%

45%

Bucke implied that the decline in death rate and the increase in recovery rate were related to the change in policy. Although theoretically this may have been so, we have already seen in Bucke's belief in the Baconian authorship issue his propensity to find what he was looking for and to fashion his rationale around it. This was most flagrant in his approval on the effect of gynecological operations in helping insane women.

Bucke has been credited with being the first to abolish the use of restraint in the treatment of the mentally disturbed, but this was not so. When he arrived at the asylum he made no objection to its use and, as Mitchinson has pointed out, he ordered six more restraint chairs.3 Within a few years, however, Bucke; like other superintendents, was criticizing the use of restraint, and eventually abandoned it.

Bucke did initiate an open-door policy, to give patients a sense of freedom. He also introduced the use of female attendants in male wards, and found that "a greater tidiness in person, a greater activity in employment, and a general brightening of the condition of those in the male

wards is perceptible."4

Bucke also developed occupational therapy by encouraging but not forcing patients to work constructively at the hospital. But the treatment of the insane remained basically custodial, while the cause of insanity was unknown. Bucke attempted to develop a theory and a classification of the causes of insanity, and in this he was much influenced by societal attitudes of the time. He introduced two radical forms of treatment; one, which was short-lived, at the beginning of his career in London; the other, in the last six years of his life, although successful in Bucke's eyes, was criticized at the time and discontinued after his death.

187

The first was a procedure which involved wiring of the penis to prevent masturbation. Bucke believed, like others of that time, that masturbation was a contributing factor to mental illness. The Victorians were hostile to excessive sexual activity, which they defined as any sexual activity outside of marriage including masturbation. Bucke got the idea of partially closing the prepuce with a suture from an article by a Scottish physician, Dr. Yellowlees .5 The intention was to inhibit erection by the pain of the suture. In his first year as superintendent Bucke wired fifteen male patients.6 In most of them masturbation continued and the procedure was discontinued; but in every instance in which the habit stopped Bucke claimed that mental improvement occurred. Mitchinson compared the medical records of these cases with Bucke's public report on the subject and discovered several discrepancies:

For example, Bucke claims that patient J.Z. had been prevented from masturbating and had mentally improved whereas the records show that there was an improvement in bodily health but nothing else. In patients J.D. and M.M., Bucke claimed the wiring prevented self-abuse and improved mental health but the records show that no change occurred at all.'

In spite of his claims, Bucke abandoned wiring altogether, and between 1877 and 1895 treatment at the London Insane Asylum was largely custodial and devoid of any specific therapeutic attempts. The few drugs which were used included opium, potassium bromide and chloral hydrate for sedation, and magnesium sulphate for seizures. The expenditure on drugs in 1887 was 0.6% of the annual cost of patient maintenance. Although medicine in general had gone through a phase of therapeutic nihilism, both medicine and surgery in the 1880s were beginning to emerge into the modern era. The stimulus in general medicine was the new understanding of bacterial diseases, and in surgery the introduction of antiseptic techniques. No comparable innovations affected psychiatry.

The therapeutic ethos at Bucke's asylum revolved around three types of activity: work, play and religion. The great majority of the patients contributed to the maintenance of the institution: the men worked on the farm, in the laundry or kitchen, and the women were engaged in

188

189

sewing or helped in the kitchen and dining room.' Industrious, productive activity was seen as the cornerstone of treatment and reflected the Victorian concept of work as a virtue. This view was echoed in a lecture given to the graduating class at the University of Toronto by William Osler. Osier, in eloquent prose, enjoined the young graduates to find and cherish "The Master Word in Medicine", which was the simple four letter word - woRK.9

But the Victorian ethos also admonished that "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Bucke was fortunate in having as his bursar Charles Sippi, a musician, who directed the asylum orchestra at weekly concerts and helped with productions by the Asylum Dramatic Club, which induded citizens of London and the families of the medical officers. Constant encouragement backed up by a system of fines was imposed on those who did not come to the concerts.")

The third prong of the therapeutic trident was religion. Though Bucke himself was always anti-clerical and, as an adult, had never embraced orthodox Christianity, he had gone to church sporadically, more as a social custom, while practising in Sarnia. He recognized the need for an orthodox religious focus at the asylum, and Sunday morning services were held by rotation of Protestant clergymen of various denominations.

p 186

It was such an occasion that Whitman described in his recollection of his 1880 visit to the London Asylum. Thus, in the absence of specific remedies for the insane, the approach was rational and a reflection of the values held by Victorian society. Although the important role of heredity in the genesis of insanity engendered therapeutic pessimism among alienists, a chink of light was visible. Insanity was associated with both poverty and anti-social behaviour, and the Victorians believed that honest, productive work, alloyed with the correct amount of leisure and coated with a respectable adherence to Christianity, was the key to a sane and happy life. The alienist, understandably, hoped that occupational therapy employing these ingredients might restore sanity and allow the patient to re-join society.

Although at the 1881 meeting of American asylum superintendents, which Bucke attended, entreaties were made for a more aggressive and scientific approach to institutional treatment of the insane, no real advances were made throughout the decade. At the 1894 meeting Weir Mitchell, a distinguished American neurologist who was known to have a poor opinion of American alienists, was invited to address the asylum

superintendents. He refused at first, but then, reluctantly agreed to take on the task of rebuking them." He criticized his audience for stagnating by remaining aloof from the mass of physicians. As administrators, business managers and custodians, it was small wonder they were mediocre physicians. The consequence, he pointed out, was that the treasure house of pathological material at their disposal was little used. '2

p188

Bucke was in the audience, and two days later, at the same meeting, he delivered his first lecture on cosmic consciousness. Though not offered as a mode of therapy for the insane, the concept could certainly not be considered either mediocre or stale. What Bucke thought of Weir Mitchell's scathing address is not known, but we do know that four years later to the day he delivered the presidential address, describing a bold and aggressive new mode of therapy. It was on 10 May 1898 that Bucke gave his lecture entitled "Surgery Among the Insane in Canada". Thus, eighteen years after his first and abortive attempt at aggressive treatment by "wiring" the penis, in February 1895 he began his second campaign. It was a concatenation of several factors that stimulated Bucke to consider gynecological procedures as a means of treating insane women.

The physiological theory that underlay Bucke's enthusiasm for gynecological surgery had its origin in the old belief that pathology in a specific organ might manifest itself as a symptom in another part of the body. Today, a century later, we know this to be true of many endocrine disorders as well as in cases of referred pain. In Bucke's time the connection was believed to be due to reflex nervous action, and Bucke himself had nearly twenty years earlier addressed the same association of asylum superintendents on the relationship of the sympathetic nervous system to man's emotions or moral nature. He had pointed out that the rich sympathetic nerve supply to the uterus was responsible for the female's greater intensity of feeling than the male's. It was only a short step to hypothesize that a diseased uterus could be responsible for aberrations of those intense feelings. This relationship also had the sanction of leading gynecologists. Alexander Skene had written in his Medical Gynecology (1895):

I take it for granted that all will agree that insanity is often caused by diseases of the procreative organs, and on the other hand, that mental derangement frequently disturbs the functions of other organs of the body, and modifies diseased action in them. Either may be primary and causative, or secondary and resultant. In the literature of the past, we find the gynecologist pushing his claims so far as to lead a junior in medicine to believe that if the sexual organs of women were preserved in health, insanity would seldom occur among them." (Medical Gynecology, Alexander Skene, 1895 AD)

p189

Whether Weir Mitchell's critical address spurred Bucke to more aggressive psychiatric treatment is not known; there is little doubt that the arrival at the London Asylum of Dr. A.T. Hobbs as assistant physician in February 1895, determined the timing of the new approach.

Bucke gave his first report on the results of gynecologic surgery in mental patients at the 1896 meeting of the asylum superintendents. He reported that surgery for diseased ovaries or uterus in thirty-four women had produced physical improvement or recovery in twenty-six, and mental improvement or recovery in twenty-one." Many comments on the paper were favourable, a few critical. Dr. James Russell of Hamilton observed that the patients might have improved without the operation, that the improvement might have been due to extra nursing care, and that the follow-up period was brief and that relapse might be common. Bucke replied with caution that, indeed, the follow-up period was brief, but that the procedures had been carried out to improve or cure the diseased ovaries or uterus, and that the improvement in the patient's mental disease was simply an observation he had made."

By the time of his presidential address in May 1898, the number of operations had increased to 109. Bucke had been well aware of opposition to the surgical approach to treatment of the insane: he announced that a request for funds for an infirmary to improve his treatment facilities had been turned down because "the government was advised by certain doctors that the work was unnecessary and in fact undesirable."16

This did not deter him. With political adroitness he had sent out to the 350 practitioners in southwestern Ontario a circular describing his work with Hobbs and a questionnaire asking if they thought the work should go on and whether the government should support the work by providing suitable buildings. He informed his audience that only two respondents actually opposed the work, and went on to say that the favourable responses resulted in a deputation to the government to support his cause. Bucke then proceeded to describe the favourable results in the 109 patients.

There was further opposition the following year when Dr. Clarke, the superintendent of the Kingston Asylum and with whom Bucke had acted as expert witness in the Shortis case, wrote to the inspector of hospitals, Mr. Christie, charging that Bucke and Hobbs had been soliciting support from the National Council of Women." Christie replied sympathetically to Clarke but nothing more was done and the operations continued. Clarke's failure to criticize Bucke may have been a reluctance to condemn someone of Bucke's stature in the medical world, especially in view of the results of Bucke's questionnaire which appeared to give him the overwhelming support of rank and file practitioners.

By 1900, 228 patients had been operated on, some apparently more than once as a total of 409 operations were performed. The gynecologic diagnoses were:

Endometritis 29

Prolapsed uterus 68

Lacerated perineum 33

Lacerated cervix 29

Hypertrophied cervix 6

Retroverted uterus 15

Tumor 31

Unknown 17

TOTAL 228

Bucke reported that 66% of these patients recovered or improved mentally. These good results could be explained through the initial choice of patients with good psychiatric prognoses. For example, among the patients selected were few with delusional symptoms, known to carry a poor prognosis." As the experiment had no controls, the placebo effect may also have been important. Finally, the special care and support surgical patients received might have contributed to the good outcome.

But an examination of the individual case notes reveals a significant discrepancy with the outcome Bucke reported. When the mental status after the post-operative follow-up period is tabulated, only 21% of the patients appear to have recovered or to have improved. '9

Bucke was not dishonest but he tended to see what he wanted to see. He wanted to see psychiatric treatment vitalised, keeping pace with recent and dramatic advances in surgery and medicine. He gave evidence

192

193

of this need in the concluding remarks of his presidential address. He felt that removal of diseased ovaries was the gynecologic procedure most likely to confer psychiatric benefit. He speculated on the reason for benefit,

saying:

It seems to me that the recent physiological theory of so-called internal secretion will furnish the clue that we want. According to this theory, there is a "normal and constant contribution of specific material by the reproductive glands to the blood or lymph and thus to the whole body". This contribution may be supplied or produced artificially, as by the daily injection of testicular juice, with very marked effect. But in case of disease of the organ that supplies it, it is not only liable to be changed to a pathological contribution and the internal secretion which was a source of health and energy to the whole economy to become a toxic agent of unknown but probably great virulence. The removal of the diseased ovaries would of course cut short this poisoning process and enable the vis medicatrix to re-establish the health of the

individual.20

Bucke was framing his hypothesis in terms of the new science of endocrinology, which had already demonstrated the successful treatment of hypothyroidism by the administration of an extract of sheep thyroid

glands.

It all ended abruptly when Dr. Hobbs resigned in 1901 to enter private practice. For reasons unknown, Bucke did not have him replaced and with his own death a year later the brief era of psycho-gynecology came to an end.

During this same period, Bucke had conceived a totally different approach to the treatment of mental illness. It was born of his conviction that the province contained many more mentally ill patients than those who found their way to the asylums, and his concern that the total number would increase inexorably as the population continued to swell, and so impose an unbearable burden on existing facilities. Rather than building additional expensive institutions, he formulated an imaginative plan for what could become a self-sufficient, therapeutic community stressing genuine rehabilitation, an idea decades ahead of its time.

In his 1896 Annual Report he included his suggestion for the "Care

of a Certain Class of Lunatics".21 He proposed that the Provincial Government set aside an area of land approximately five to ten miles square and adjacent to a good-sized river like the Severn, having nearby in its course waterfalls and rapids. A portion of the land should be suitable for cultivation, some of it should have large tracts of pasturage for cattle, sheep and horses, and some should have clay for bricks and stone which could be quarried. The land should be within ten miles of a railway station and reasonably near navigable water.

193

The superintendent should be carefully selected for qualities of vision, courage, stamina and practicality, and, Bucke felt, should be young, no more than 35 or 40, and preferably non-medical. The next step would be to erect a few temporary buildings with lumber from the land. Upon completion, some 200 working patients, 150 men and 50 women, together with hired labour, would dear the land to make farms, gardens and roads.

For the first few years wood could be used for heating and cooking until waterpower could be harnessed to produce electricity. An electric railway could then be built from the executive building in the centre of the community to the nearest railway station. Within several years the community would become not only self-sufficient but might also produce excess for sale. Bucke estimated that the community should consist of 90% working and 10% non-productive patients. The latter would consist of epileptic and severely retarded individuals and patients who had not been successfully rehabilitated and who had become old and less able to work. He advised that the growth of the community should not be rapid, and concluded that it would probably not reach maturity for forty or fifty years.

Bucke saw it as a community without restraints, in which patients whose lives would otherwise be useless and miserable could become productive and fulfilling This farsighted project was buried in government archives, and Bucke does not appear to have referred to it again. Perhaps if he had been twenty-five years younger, he might have pursued it with the determination he had brought to the other convictions that shaped his life. Bucke was an innovative nineteenth century alienist and administrator, but his lasting reputation owes nothing to his medical activities. Pelvic disease as a cause of insanity fell into disrepute, and by the time therapeutic communities, genuine psychiatric rehabilitation with half-way houses, and insight therapy catering to a whole new clientele had arrived, Bucke as a prototype nineteenth century psychiatrist

The Bucke family, December 1893. Left to right: Pardee (b.1875), Will (b.1873), Ina (b.1877), Jessie ck Bue (b.

Robert, in front (b.1881), Maurice (b.1868), Harold (b.1879), Clare (b.1870) and R.M. Bucke (b. 1837)1839),

Chapter 17

Cosmic Consciousness

BucKE's convictions realized their final expression in Cosmic Consciousness published in 1901, a year before his death. Over the preceding twenty- five years he had been building upon the original optimistic view, expressed in his first book, that man's moral nature was evolving and becoming progressively more elevated, that love and faith were increasing at the expense of hate and fear. Other ingredients in the final view included his belief that individual human beings would continue to make the leap into cosmic consciousness in increasing numbers because acquisition of the ability to do so was part of their continuing evolutionary development as a species. An integral part of experiencing cosmic consciousness was the certainty of personal immortality, and belief that in the fullness of time, when the possession of this higher awareness would become common, mankind would finally be happy. It would be the true liberation of man; the human soul would be revolutionized. Religion would have no need for sacred texts, priests, ecclesiastical institutions, or the saving of man from his sins. Mankind would have no fear of death, knowing itself to be immortal, and would therefore live in harmony with itself. Although there would be daily problems and frustrations, a race truly informed by cosmic consciousness would have the capacity to deal with these maturely and without anxiety. The vision was truly apocalyptic.

204 205

The first public expression of the completed theme was Bucke's address to the American Medico-Psychological Association in Philadelphia on 18 May 1894. He was working on the book at the time, and the main difference between the speech and the book is in the amount of detail and in the number of individuals he had discovered who had acquired the new faculty.

The book itself was dedicated to his son Maurice whose unexpected death had nearly killed Bucke with grief. He was sustained in that grief by the knowledge that he had, twenty-eight years earlier, glimpsed the eternal for a few moments and gained his certainty of personal immortality, thereby ensuring that he would be with his son again. It was the same source of strength which enabled him to bear the final parting with Whitman:

If I have been permitted - no, not to enter, but - through the narrow aperture of a scarcely opened door, to glance one instant into that other divine world, it was surely that I might thereby be enabled to live through the receipt of those lightning-flashed words from Montana which time bums only deeper and deeper into my brain.(CC,Foreword)

Bucke saw cosmic consciousness as the next inevitable evolutionary stage in the growth of man, preceded by past stages he called simple consciousness and self consciousness. He used the analogy of a tree to describe the historical relationship: the roots of the tree of life are sunk deep in the organic world; the trunk at earth level is composed of the lowest forms of life which in turn led up to organisms with simple consciousness many millions of years ago. From its dawn, simple consciousness grew in these gradually emerging species until it reached its highest expression in the dog, the ape, the elephant, etc. The transition from simple to self consciousness occurred some 300,000 years ago; self consciousness is the faculty by which a creature is aware of himself as a distinct being, and knows that he knows this. It is the faculty that separates human beings from other forms of life.

From the tree of life, branches emerge from lower down (simple consciousness) and from higher up (self consciousness): examples of the former would be simple limb movement and the instinct of self- preservation, of the latter the qualities of judgement, reason, imagination, etc.

Bucke believed that the various qualities that constitute self consciousness appeared at different times in man's evolutionary development. Some idea of the chronology of appearance of these human characteristics could be gleaned from the average age at which each appears in the individual as he grows up, from the frequency of its appearance in the population, and from the ease with which it may be lost. For example, the sense of colour, according to Bucke, is a relatively recent acquisition. It is not surprising, therefore, that colourblindness is common, occurring in one out of every forty-seven people. Man's moral nature is also relatively recent. Evidence for this is given by its relative or complete absence in savages and, surprisingly, in children. Bucke believed that the human moral nature was still often absent at puberty, and that the average age of its appearance was about fifteen.

Even more surprising were his reasons for believing that man's musical sense is recently acquired. He stated that it had existed for less than 5,000 years and did not appear in the individual before adolescence. Moreover, he contended that the musical sense did not exist in more than half of the human race. He used his experience as a psychiatrist to state that in insanity the musical sense was invariably lost; over a quarter of a century of observing some 5,000 cases of lunacy, he couldn't recall a single case where the musical sense was retained. For a bibliophile, well read in the classics, it seems strange that Bucke apparently did not believe in the existence of the mad lament, the Ophelian dirge.

Using the concept that the more recently a faculty has been acquired, the more frequently it will either be found wanting or become deranged, Bucke reiterated his theory of mental defectiveness and insanity. Thus, in the Aryan race, the faculties that have evolved most in the last few thousand years are the mental ones: the intellectual, arising from the central nervous system, and the moral, arising from the sympathetic nervous system. Because these have evolved so rapidly it is logical, according to Bucke, that defects and disintegration should be common. Thus a mentally defective person is one in whom the intellectual and moral qualities have been omitted to a greater or lesser extent, marking severe or mild mental retardation, with all gradations in between. Similarly, those who seem to develop normally at first but who suffer derangement of the mind as they reach adolescence have a very poor prognosis. These individuals represent the most malignant end of the spectrum of mental illness. Bucke was probably referring here to schizophrenia. People who develop mental

206 207

instability only under exceptional duress are at the benign end. Between these extremes lie all the other more or less severe cases of insanity.

Bucke cited the prevalence of insanity in whites and blacks in the United States as supporting his theory. Because the mind of the white population has had a more rapid evolution than that of the black it is not surprising, according to Bucke, that insanity is so much commoner in the former (one in five hundred, as compared with one in eleven

hundred).

Bucke saw human biology, both physical and mental, in evolutionary terms, and viewed mental deficiency, moral deficiency and insanity as natural and expected. At a time when Freud was fashioning his revolutionary theory of mental illness, Bucke, along with other North American alienists, was committed to an organic approach: mental disease was simply the price the species paid for continuing evolutionary progress.

When a new faculty such as cosmic consciousness appears for the first time, it does not appear by chance. It appears in a person who is exemplary, in someone who has an exceptional physique, exceptional beauty, exceptional health, exceptional sweetness of temper and abundant charisma. That is, it will appear in an individual who has reached the highest plane of the species' development. Bucke, of course, cited Whitman as the perfect example, a man thought by some to be the greatest spiritual force the race had ever produced.

The sense of cosmic consciousness is often perceived as a separate force which fuses with the individual. Paul called it "Christ", Mohammed called it "Gabriel", Dante called it "Beatrice", and Whitman called it "My Soul" as though it were another person, a beloved:

0 soul repressless, I with thee and thou with me .... We too take ship 0 soul ....

With laugh and many a kiss ....

0 soul thou pleasest me, I thee ....(CC,52)

Bucke believed that the sense of cosmic consciousness appeared not only in the best specimens of the race, but at the time when the individual was at the peak of his powers, nearly always in the fourth decade. He believed that self consciousness had appeared in the same way hundreds of thousands of years ago, that is, in superb specimens of examples of simple consciousness at the height of their powers. As the millennia passed and more individuals developed the faculty, it began to appear earlier in life, and is now evident at the age of three; it is so common that an individual without it (severely mentally retarded) is considered abnormal. Similarly, the time will come when most human beings will have the cosmic sense and those who do not will be considered abnormal.

Bucke felt that as the extent of variation in the plane of self consciousness is much greater than in simple consciousness, so the variation in those with cosmic consciousness will be greater still. After a new faculty appears, in time it becomes present in increasing numbers. Bucke calculated that between Gautama and Dante, a period of eighteen hundred years, five cases of celebrated individuals had arisen. From Dante to 1899, a period of six hundred years there were eight cases. Bucke was, of course, aware of a number of lesser cases, some of whom he knew personally, but he argued logically that they could not be included because earlier anonymous possessors of cosmic consciousness had anticipated them but had left no mark of their existence. His total collection, which included himself, came to forty-three.

Bucke pondered the possibility that the attainment of cosmic consciousness was a delusion, as individuals who suffer from a delusion are certain of its reality. But there are important differences. Individuals who attain cosmic consciousness are moral; their sense of morality is further exalted by the experience, whereas the psychotic view of the deluded is often immoral or amoral. Another difference is the quality of self- restraint characteristic of the possessors of cosmic consciousness. Finally, Bucke argued, that since all great civilizations rest on the teachings of such enlightened men as the Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed and Whitman, it follows that if these leaders were deluded, then all our civilizations would be delusions.

From Bucke's reading and his own experience he concluded that the possession of the cosmic sense among individuals would have certain features in common though, naturally, many differences in detail would also exist. Generally, the experience occurs suddenly and unexpectedly; there is a sensation of being immersed in a bright light or flame, or of the mind being filled with an incredibly clear sensation. There is usually a brief period of alarm at what is happening, but then awareness is suffused by an intense feeling of joy. This joyful, orgasmic sensation contains an intellectual illumination imparting a clear conception of the sense and meaning of the universe which no longer seems inert but alive and

208 209

eternal. The individual has the sensation of being an integral part of that eternity; he experiences his own sense of immortality. There is certainty about the whole, an absence of a sense of sin, and all fragmentation, differences and uncertainties are abolished during the trance state.

The transcendental experience is difficult to express in words; Bucke quotes Whitman:

When I undertake to tell the best I find I cannot, My tongue is ineffectual on its pivots,

My breath will not be obedient to its organs, I become a dumb man.(CC,65)

Bucke compared the state of a person who had acquired cosmic consciousness with that of a child who has just become self conscious: he sees life through a new lens. This is a mirror image of Jesus's injunction that the childlike vision is a pre-condition of entering the Kingdom of Heaven. Bucke was careful to point out that attainment of the cosmic sense in no way prevents lapses to the self conscious level of existence, just as the self conscious man will sink at times below the higher animal to simple consciousness. For, after all, it is a new and fragile acquisition historically and, perforce, susceptible to relapses. This new man, imbued with cosmic consciousness, must not be considered infallible or omniscient. Indeed, if mankind should reach an intellectual and moral plane as far above the best man of today as the latter is above the simplest form of organic life, he would still aspire to reach higher. Thus the evolutionary trend would even then continue upward.

The largest sections of the book consist of a catalogue of individuals who have acquired the cosmic sense through illumination, and of those who came close, such as Emerson, Tennyson and, surprisingly, Wordsworth, whom Bucke felt had not actually pierced the veil. The undisputed cases are presented in roughly chronological order beginning with Gautama, the Buddha, and indude Jesus, Paul, Mohammed, Dante, Pascal, Blake, Balzac, Bacon and Whitman, the last two, not unexpectedly, being given the most attention.

In the next section Bucke describes numerous instances of historical figures who came close, but who did not actually break through the cosmic curtain. These include Moses, Socrates and Pushkin, as well as some celebrated contemporaries, such as Thoreau, Wordsworth and Tenny-

son. Finally, Bucke adds a number of less well-known friends and acquaintances of his own, or whose cases had been reliably reported to him. This last group includes his Lancashire friend, Wallace, who had all the features of illumination except the presence of subjective light, and Horace Traubel whose 1889 and subsequent illuminations are described in detail. Of Whitman's inner circle only Traubel and Bucke qualified with the elect who had tasted of the Brahmic splendour.

Bucke's format was to describe briefly the life of the subject and then to quote from his/her writings the passages showing that cosmic consciousness had been achieved. He took passages that expressed the elevated state in other metaphors and translated them into the language of cosmic consciousness, or pointed out what aspect of the cosmic sense the passage illustrated. Often he used a quotation from Whitman as a reference source for the explication. For example, in his case study of Paul, Bucke quoted the celebrated verses from I Corinthians:*

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.(CC,9)

Then, in a rather proprietary fashion, he pointed out that the passage expressed the sense of immortality and thus belongs to cosmic consciousness. He then invited the reader to compare the above with a Whitman passage:

There is that in me - I do not know what it is - but I know that it is in me. Wrenched and sweaty - calm and cool then my body becomes, I sleep, I sleep long. I do not know it - it is without name - it is a word unsaid - it is not in any dictionary, utterance, symbol. Something it swings on more than the

* Bucke made several minor errors in the quotation which have been corrected.

----------------------------------------------------------------

(Richard Maurice Bucke: catalogue to the exhibition, Canadian Psychiatric Association Committee on the History of Psychiatry, 1963 AD)

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RICHARD MAURICE BUCKE PSYCHIATRIST AND PHILOSOPHER

Bucke was not the first asylum superintendent to introduce "moral treatment of the insane" into North America, but he carried the concept into practice further than anyone before him. At the time of his appointment as Superintendent of the London Asylum in 1877, the pioneering work of Pinel, Esquirrol and Tuke was hardly known in Canada. Indeed, in his first year in office, Bucke made no complaint about the degrading and repressive methods of restraint then in use.

The following year, to the consternation of his medical colleagues, Bucke reported that the use of alcohol had no place in the treatment of the insane, and he proceeded to reduce the expenditure on alcohol from $1800 to $600. He improved the hospital grounds and recommended the building of a chapel so religious services could be held under more favourable conditions than in the amusement hall. He wrote, "The sight of a stage is not favourable to the state of mind which ought to accompany the worship of God and without which the form of prayer is a senseless mockery."

During the next five years, between 1878 and 1883, Bucke travelled extensively and visited hospitals and his medical colleagues across the Continent. He continued to develop his three therapeutic interests: reduction in the use of alcoholic beverages; removal of all forms of restraint; providing occupations so that ninety percent of his patients could be healthily employed. Some patients were paid for their work. Female attendants were successfully introduced into male wards.

Bucke was concerned with education and the dissemination of scientific information. In 1881 he provided a library for his medical staff, encouraging them to keep abreast of new developments. He also urged the Provincial Government to appoint a pathologist so that the causes of patients' deaths could be properly ascertained and, if possible, prevented. At the same time he made considerable efforts to have a research department established.

The "open door" policy was initiated in the London Asylum in 1882. Additional doors were built to increase the sense of freedom. There were no unpleasant incidents, and Bucke was able to justify his opinion that "it is restraint that makes restraint necessary." He also claimed, "The object of treatment in the case of insanity is (to my mind) not so much the cure of disease as it is the rehumanization of the patient." Today this philosophy is expressed in a variety of "remotivation" programs.

Bucke was extremely well regarded at international gatherings, but in Canada he was not always popular with his colleagues. This is clearly seen in the criticism and condemnation directed at him for correcting uterine and ovarian diseases by surgery. Bucke claimed that the increase in the discharge rates of female patients fully justified these procedures. "It comes to this," he said, "that the treatment of the mind resolves itself into an endeavour to place the whole physical system on the best possible basis of health and efficiency."

During his twenty-five years as Superintendent, Bucke achieved an international pre-eminence as a leader in mental-health administration. Many of his ideas were far in advance of their time, and some are only now being widely accepted and practised. Far less appreciated and understood is Bucke's contribution to scientific psychiatry. To him mental illness was not simply an accidental aberration necessitating skilled and humane treatment, but evidence of a failure of the biological process by which mankind adapts to change. He suggested this could only be understood in the perspective of man's developing consciousness. This brought Bucke to the threshold of two important concerns: the interaction of the physiological and psychological natures of man (which he explored in Man's Moral Nature), and the somewhat analogous interrelation of man and the universe (which he studied in Cosmic Consciousness). [C. G.]

RICHARD MAURICE BUCKE

FRIEND OF WHITMAN AND MYSTIC

Everywhere in the poetry of Walt Whitman, Bucke found evidence of one man's increased moral awareness of the importance of life. In the person of Whitman, Bucke found his theory of evolutionary consciousness strikingly confirmed. This was many years before Whitman became famous, when he was generally regarded as a pagan, or an incomprehensible poet, or both. Bucke first read Whitman in the Rossetti edition of the Poems, in 1868, while practising medicine in the sleepy little town of Sarnia, Ontario. But it was not until ten years later, when Bucke was a busy Superintendent of the London Asylum, that he was able to visit Whitman in Camden, New Jersey, while en route to the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.

Bucke recorded his first impressions of Whitman, and he called the meeting the turning point in his life. He wrote, "It seemed to me at the time certain that he was either actually a god or in some sense clearly preterhuman." Bucke and Whitman became fast friends. Two years after the meeting, Bucke published his first book Man's Moral Nature which resulted in his election to the Royal Society of Canada. The book bears this dedication:

I DEDICATE THIS BOOK TO THE MAN WHO INSPIRED IT-TO THE MAN WHO OF ALL MEN PAST AND PRESENT THAT I HAVE KNOWN HAS THE MOST EXALTED MORAL NATURE- TO

WALT WHITMAN.

In this study of man's emotional constitution, Bucke reasoned that all human emotions can be resolved into four basic moral elements, faith, love, hate and fear. Of the four, faith is the one that determines man's mental constitution. "The faith which substitutes the higher belief for the lower is the most valuable of all our possessions," he wrote, in

this way giving faith an almost existential role to play in human life.

During the summer of 1880, Bucke persuaded Whitman to visit him in London. The poet was an overseer of everyday activities at the Asylum, and the two men made an excursion on the St. Lawrence, visiting Montreal and Quebec along the way. Such day-by-day contact with the poet stimulated Bucke's interest in Whitman the man, and he determined to write the life of Whitman. In 1883 the first formal biography of the poet was published. Walt Whitman was intended by the poet to be a sequel to a new edition of Leaves of Grass which was shortly to be published but never actually appeared. The biography is not noted for its scholarship, and Whitman is said to have composed parts of it himself to his own liking.

With Whitman's death in 1892, Bucke was an honorary pallbearer and a literary executor of the estate, along with two other personal - friends of the poet, Thomas B. Harned and Horace L. Traubel. Bucke took this honour seriously, and he contributed to In Re Walt Whitman (1893) and edited three volumes of Whitman's papers Calamus (1897), The Wound Dresser (1898) and Notes and Fragments (1899).

During the next ten years, until his own death in 1902, Bucke worked to complete his magnum opus Cosmic Consciousness. In this book, published a year before his death, all of Bucke's interests can be seen converging. Medicine, the moral nature, literature, Whitman and the religious experience all take shape within the outlines of an elaborately worked-out theory. Bucke reasoned that there is enough evidence in world literature to suggest that man sometimes experiences "cosmic consciousness" or "a higher form of consciousness than that possessed by the ordinary man."

The prime characteristic of this new awareness is "a consciousness of the cosmos, that is, of the life and order of the universe." He sought to prove that instances of this consciousness were increasing in a geometric fashion, and that soon the entire human race would be experiencing it. Bucke's own religious experience, which occurred on a trip to England (it is recounted in the third person in Cosmic Consciousness), is actually the background of the book. His entire life and work can be seen as an attempt to find a rational basis for this essentially irrational experience, to prove that mystical experience is the proper development of the mind, and not the aberration of a sick one. [J. R. C.]

===========================================================================

Cosmic Consciousness

A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind

By RICHARD MAURICE BUCKE, M.D.

FORMERLY MEDICAL SUPERINTENDENT OF THE ASYLUM FOR THE INSANE, LONDON, CANADA

NEW INTRODUCTION BY

GEORGE MOREBY ACKLOM

NEW YORK

E. P. DUTTON AND COMPANY, INC.

PUBLISHERS

THE MAN AND THE BOOK

Sometimes it happens that out of the continually coming, continually going, tide of books, some single book fails to disappear along with its contemporaries, and because of something which it contains, or something which it is, lives on into another generation-or even further-answering in some way to some real human need.

Cosmic Consciousness is such a book, for it appeared, quietly and unheralded in 1901, the work of a Canadian doctor, of whom few people outside of the intimate circle of Walt Whitman's friends and of the limited world of the alienist had ever heard.

Even today, to the thousands who have read and who value the book, the writer is hardly more than a name-just Richard Maurice Bucke, author of Cosmic Consciousness.

Yet Bucke, who died less than a year after the publication of the book, was, during his lifetime, a very definite and very strong personality.

Descended of good sturdy English stock on both sides, his father was a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, and a clergyman. His mother, sister to an eminent Q.C., was a granddaughter of Sir Robert Walpole, the famous author and statesman. Bucke was their 7th child, born in 1837, the year before his parents emigrated to Canada and settled down on the remote "Creek Farm," in what is now a suburb of the city of London, Ontario. His father, though he this became a farmer, was a fine scholar ; he knew seven languages, and had brought with him to the farm a library of thousands of volumes.

Young Richard Maurice Bucke had practically no formal schooling. He was taught Latin by his father, and turned loose among the books to educate himself. For the rest, he was a regular farm-boy, knowing and doing all the heavy ceaseless round of hard work which farming called for before the days of the automobile and electricity.

When he was seven years old his mother died, and his father soon married again ; but in his seventeenth year, the stepmother also died, and Richard Maurice Bucke decided the time had conic for him to set out and see more of the world than he could observe from a farm in the backwoods. He went due south and across the border into the States. For three long years he made his way from place to place, doing odd jobs.

COPYRIGHT, 1901 By INNES & SONS

COPYRIGHT, 1922 By EDWARD P. A. CONNAUGHTON

COPYRIGHT, 1923 By E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY

All rights reserved

First edition, 1901 Second edition, 1905 Third edition, 1912

Fourth edition, corrected and entirely re-set, 1923 Fifth edition, 1926 Sixth edition, 1929 Seventh edition, 1931 Eighth edition, 1935 Ninth edition, 1940 Tenth edition, 1943 Eleventh edition, 1945 Tzvelfth edition, 1946 Thirteenth edition, 1947 Fourteenth edition, 1948 Fifteenth edition, 1950 Sixteenth edition, 1951 Seventeenth edition, 1954 Eighteenth edition, 1956 Nineteenth edition, 1959 Twentieth edition, 1960 Twenty-first edition, 1962

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS

PART I.

FIRST WORDS. I.

WHAT is Cosmic Consciousness? The present volume is an attempt to answer this question; but notwithstanding it seems well to make a short prefatory statement in as plain language as possible so as to open the door, as it were, for the more elaborate exposition to be attempted in the body of the work. Cosmic Consciousness, then, is a higher form of consciousness than that possessed by the ordinary man. This last is called Self Consciousness and is that faculty upon which rests all of our life (both subjective and objective) which is not common to us and the higher animals, except that small part of it which is derived from the few individuals who have had the higher consciousness above named To make the matter clear it must be understood that there are three forms or grades of consciousness. (1) Simple Consciousness, which is possessed by say the upper half of the animal kingdom. By means of this faculty a dog or a horse is just as conscious of the things about him as a man is ; he is also conscious of his own limbs and body and he knows that these are a part of himself. (2) Over and above this Simple Consciousness, which is possessed by man as by animals, man has another which is called Self Consciousness. By virtue of this faculty man is not only conscious of trees, rocks, waters, his own limbs and body, but he becomes conscious of himself as a distinct entity apart from all the rest of the universe. It is as good as certain that no animal can realize himself in that way. Further, by means of self consciousness, man (who knows as the animal knows) becomes capable of treating his own mental states as objects of consciousness. The animal is, as it were, immersed in his consciousness as a fish in the sea ; he cannot, even in imagination, get outside of it for one moment so as to realize it. But man by virtue of self consciousness can step aside, as it were, from himself and think : "Yes, that thought that I had about that matter is true ; I know it is true and I know that I know it is true." The writer has been asked: "How do you know that animals cannot think in the same manner l" The answer is simple and conclusive-it is : There is no evidence that any animal can so think, but if they could we should soon know it. Between two creatures living together, as dogs or horses and men, and each self conscious, it would be the simplest matter in the world to open up communication. Even as it is, diverse as is our psychology, we do, by watching his acts, enter into the dog's mind pretty freely-we see what is going on there-we know that the dog sees and hears, smells and tastes- we know that he has intelligence-adapts means to ends-that he reasons. If he was self conscious we must have learned it long ago. We have not learned it and it is as good as certain that no dog, horse, elephant or ape ever was self conscious. Another thing : on man's self consciousness is built everything in and about us distinctively human. Language is the objective of which self consciousness is the subjective. Self consciousness and language (two in one, for they are two halves of the same thing) are the sine qua non of human social life, of manners, of institutions, of industries of all kinds, of all arts useful and fine. If any animal possessed self consciousness it seems certain that it would upon that master faculty build (as man has done) a superstructure of language ; of reasoned out customs, industries, art. But no animal has done this, therefore we infer that no animal has self consciousness.

The possession of self consciousness and language (its other self) by man creates an enormous gap between him and the highest creature possessing simple consciousness merely.

Cosmic Consciousness is a third form which is as far above Self Consciousness as is that above Simple Consciousness. With this form, of course, both simple and self consciousness persist (as simple consciousness persists when self consciousness is acquired), but added to them is the new faculty so often named and to be named in this volume. The prime characteristic of cosmic consciousness is, as its name implies, a consciousness of the cosmos, that is, of the life and order of the universe.

p1

What these words mean cannot be touched upon here; it is the business of this volume to throw some light upon them. There are many elements belonging to the cosmic sense besides the central fact just alluded to. Of these a few may be mentioned. Along with the consciousness of the cosmos there occurs an intellectual enlightenment or illumination which alone would place the individual on a new plane of existence-would make him almost a member of a new species. To this is added a state of moral exaltation, an indescribable feeling of elevation, elation, and joyousness, and a quickening of the moral sense, which is fully as striking and more important both to the individual and to the race than is the enhanced intellectual power. With these come, what may be called a sense of immortality, a consciousness of eternal life, not a conviction that he shall have this, but the consciousness that he has it already.

Only a personal experience of it, or a prolonged study of men who have passed into the new life, will enable us to realize what this actually is; but it has seemed to the present writer that to pass in review, even briefly and imperfectly, instances in which the condition in question has existed would be worth while. He expects his work to be useful in two ways : First, in broadening the general view of human life by comprehending in our mental vision this important phase of it, and by enabling us to realize, in some measure, the true status of certain men who, down to the present, are either exalted, by the average self conscious individual, to the rank of gods, or, adopting the other extreme, are adjudged insane. And in the second place he hopes to furnish aid to his fellow men in a far more practical and important sense. The view he takes is that our descendants will sooner or later reach, as a race, the condition of cosmic consciousness, just as, long ago, our ancestors passed from simple to self consciousness. He believes that this step in evolution is even now being made, since it is clear to him both that men with the faculty in question are becoming more and more common and also that as a race we

Cosmic Consciousness

are approaching nearer and nearer to that stage of the self conscious mind from which the transition to the cosmic conscious is effected. He realizes that, granted the necessary heredity, any individual not already beyond the age may enter cosmic consciousness. He knows that intelligent contact with cosmic conscious minds assists self conscious individuals in the ascent to the higher plane. He therefore hopes, by bringing about, or at least facilitating this contact, to aid men and women in making the almost infinitely important step in question.

II.

The immediate future of our race, the writer thinks, is indescribably hopeful. There are at the present moment impending over us three revolutions, the least of which would dwarf the ordinary historic upheaval called by that name into absolute insignificance. They are : (1) The material, economic and social revolution which will depend upon and result from the establishment of aerial navigation. (2) The economic and social revolution which will abolish individual ownership and rid the earth at once of two immense evils-riches and poverty. And (3) The psychical revolution of which there is here question.

Either of the first two would (and will) radically change the conditions of, and greatly uplift, human life ; but the third will do more for humanity than both of the former, were their importance multiplied by hundreds or even thousands.

The three operating (as they will) together will literally create a new heaven and a new earth. Old things will be done away and

all will become new.

Before aerial navigation national boundaries, tariffs, and perhaps distinctions of language will fade out. Great cities will no longer have reason for being and will melt away. The men who now dwell in cities will inhabit in summer the mountains and the sea shores ; building often in airy and beautiful spots, now almost or quite inaccessible, commanding the most extensive and magnificent views. In the winter they will probably dwell in corn-

First Words 5

munities of moderate size. As the herding together, as now, in great cities, so the isolation of the worker of the soil will become a thing of the past. Space will be practically annihilated, there will be no crowding together and no enforced solitude.

Before Socialism [arrived] crushing toil, cruel anxiety, insulting and demoralizing riches, poverty and its ills will become subjects for historical novels.

In contact with the flux of cosmic consciousness all religions known and named to-day will be melted down. The human soul will be revolutionized. Religion will absolutely dominate the race. It will not depend on tradition. It will not be believed and disbelieved. It will not be a part of life, belonging to certain hours, times, occasions. It will not be in sacred books nor in the mouths of priests. It will not dwell in churches and meetings and forms and days. Its life will not be in prayers, hymns nor discourses. It will not depend on special revelations, on the words of gods who came down to teach, nor on any bible or bibles. It will have no mission to save men from their sins or to secure them entrance to heaven. It will not teach a future immortality nor future glories, for immortality and all glory will exist in the here and now. The evidence of immortality will live in every heart as sight in every eye. Doubt of God and of eternal life will be as impossible as is now doubt of existence; the evidence of each will be the same. Religion will govern every minute of every day of all life. Churches, priests, forms, creeds, prayers, all agents, all intermediaries between the individual man and God will be permanently replaced by direct unmistakable intercourse. Sin will no longer exist nor will salvation be desired. Men will not worry about death or a future, about the kingdom of heaven, about what may come with and after the cessation of the life of the present body. Each soul will feel and know itself to be immortal, will feel and know that the entire universe with all its good and with all its beauty is for it and belongs to it forever. The world peopled by men possessing cosmic consciousness will be as far removed from the world of to-day as this is from the world as it was before the advent of self consciousness.

p 5

6 Cosmic Consciousness

There is a tradition, probably very old, to the effect that the first man was innocent and happy until he ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That having eaten thereof he became aware that he was naked and was ashamed. Further, that then sin was born into the world, the miserable sense whereof replaced man's former feeling of innocency. That then and not till then man began to labor and to cover his body. Stranger than all (so it seems to us), the story runs, that along with this change or immediately following upon it there came into man's mind the remarkable conviction which has never since left it but which has been kept alive by its own inherent vitality and by the teaching of all true seers, prophets and poets that this accursed thing which has bitten man's heel (laming him, hindering his progress and especially making this halting and painful) should eventually be crushed and subjugated by man himself-by the rising up within him of a Saviour-the Christ.

Man's progenitor was a creature (an animal) walking erect but with simple consciousness merely. He was (as are to-day the animals) incapable of sin or of the feeling of sin and equally incapable of shame (at least in the human sense). He had no feeling or knowledge of good and evil. He as yet knew nothing of what we call work and had never labored. From this state he fell (or rose) into self consciousness, his eyes were opened, he knew that he was naked, he felt shame, acquired the sense of sin (became in fact what is called a sinner), and learned to do certain things in order to encompass certain ends-that is, he learned to labor. For weary eons this condition has lasted-the sense of sin still haunts his pathway-by the sweat of his brow he still eats bread- he is still ashamed. Where is the deliverer, the Saviour? Who or what? The Saviour of man is Cosmic Consciousness

p 6

-in Paul's language-the Christ. The cosmic sense (in whatever mind it appears) crushes the serpent's head-destroys sin, shame, the sense

First Words 7

of good and evil as contrasted one with the other, and will annihilate labor, though not human activity.

The fact that there came to man along with or immediately after his acquisition of self consciousness the inchoate premonition of another and higher consciousness which was yet, at that time, many millenniums in the future is surely most noteworthy though not necessarily surprising. We have in biology many analogous facts such as premonition of, and preparation for, by the individual of states and circumstances of which he has had no experience and we see the same thing in the maternal instinct in the very young girl.

The universal scheme is woven in one piece and is permeable to consciousness or (and especially) to sub-consciousness throughout and in every direction. The universe is a vast, grandiose, terrible, multiform yet uniform evolution. The section which especially concerns us is that which extends from brute to man, from man to demigod, and constitutes the imposing drama of humanity-its scene the surface of the planet-its time a million years.

Iv.

The purpose of these preliminary remarks is to throw as much light as possible on the subject of this volume, so as to increase the pleasure and profit of its perusal. A personal exposition of the writer's own introduction to the main fact treated of will perhaps do as much as anything else could to further this end. He will therefore frankly set down here a very brief outline of his early mental life and give a short account of his slight experience of what he calls cosmic consciousness. The reader will readily see therefrom whence came the ideas and convictions presented in the following pages.

He was born of good middle class English stock and grew up almost without education on what was then a backwoods Canadian farm. As a child he assisted in such labor as lay within his power : tended cattle, horses, sheep, pigs ; brought in firewood, worked in the hay field, drove oxen and horses, ran errands. His

8 Cosmic Consciousness

pleasures were as simple as his labors. An occasional visit to a neighboring small town, a game of ball, bathing in the creek that ran through his father's farm, the making and sailing of mimic ships, the search for birds' eggs and flowers in the spring, and for wild fruits in the summer and fall, afforded him, with his skates and handsled in the winter, his homely, much loved recreations. While still a young boy he read with keen appreciation Marryat's novels, Scott's poems and novels, and other similar books dealing with outdoor nature and human life. He never, even as a child, accepted the doctrines of the Christian church; but, as soon as old enough to dwell at all on such themes, conceived that Jesus was a man-great and good no doubt, but a man. That no one would ever be condemned to everlasting pain That if a conscious God existed he was the supreme master and meant well in the end to all; but that, this visible life here being ended, it was doubtful, or more than doubtful, whether conscious identity would be preserved. The boy (even the child) dwelt on these and similar topics far more than anyone would suppose ; but probably not more than many other introspective small fellow mortals. He was subject at times to a sort of ecstasy of curiosity and hope. As on one special occasion when about ten years old he earnestly longed to die that the secrets of the beyond, if there was any beyond, might be revealed to him; also to agonies of anxiety and terror, as for instance, at about the same age he read Reynold's "Faust," and, being near its end one sunny afternoon, he laid it down utterly unable to continue its perusal, and went out into the sunshine to recover from the horror (after more than fifty years he distinctly recalls it) which had seized him. The boy's mother died when he was only a few years old, and his father shortly afterwards. The outward circumstances of his life in some respects became more unhappy than can readily be told. At sixteen the boy left home to live or die as might happen. For five years he wandered over North America from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Upper Ohio to San Francisco. He worked on farms, on railways, on steamboats, and in the placer diggings of Western Nevada. Several times he nearly suffered

First Words 9

shipwreck by sickness, starvation, freezing, and once on the banks of the Humboldt River, in Utah, fought for his life half a day with the Shoshone Indians. After five years' wandering, at the age of twenty-one, he returned to the country where his childhood had been passed. A moderate sum of money from his dead mother enabled him to spend some years in study, and his mind, after lying so long fallow, absorbed ideas with extraordinary facility. He graduated with high honors four years after his return from the Pacific Coast. Outside of the collegiate course he read with avidity many speculative books, such as the "Origin of Species," Tyndall's "Heat" and "Essays," Buckle's "History," "Essays and Reviews," and much poetry, especially such as seemed to him free and fearless. In this species of literature he soon preferred Shelley, and of his poems, "Adonais" and "Prometheus" were his favorites. His life for some years was one passionate note of interrogation, an unappeasable hunger for enlightenment on the basic problems. Leaving college, he continued his search with the same ardor. Taught himself French that he might read Auguste Comte, Hugo and Renan, and German that he might read Goethe, especially "Faust." At the age of thirty he fell in with "Leaves of Grass," and at once saw that it contained, in greater measure than any book so far found, what he had so long been looking for. He read the "Leaves" eagerly, even passionately, but for several years derived little from them. At last light broke and there was revealed to him (as far perhaps as such things can be revealed) at least some of the meanings. Then occurred that to which the foregoing is preface.

It was in the early spring, at the beginning of his thirty-sixth year. He and two friends had spent the evening reading Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Browning, and especially Whitman. They parted at midnight, and he had a long drive in a hansom (it was in an English city). His mind, deeply under the influence of the ideas, images and emotions called up by the reading and talk of the evening, was calm and peaceful. He was in a state of quiet, almost passive enjoyment. All at once, without warning of any kind, he found himself wrapped around as it were by a flame-

10 Cosmic Consciousness First Words 11

colored cloud. For an instant he thought of fire, some sudden conflagration in the great city; the next, he knew that the light was within himself. Directly afterwards came upon him a sense of exultation, of immense joyousness accompanied or immediately followed by an intellectual illumination quite impossible to describe. Into his brain streamed one momentary lightning-flash of the Brahmic Splendor which has ever since lightened his life ; upon his heart fell one drop of Brahmic Bliss, leaving thenceforward for always an aftertaste of heaven. Among other things he did not come to believe, he saw and knew that the Cosmos is not dead matter but a living Presence, that the soul of man is immortal, that the universe is so built and ordered that without any peradventure all things work together for the good of each and all, that the foundation principle of the world is what we call love and that the happiness of every one is in the long run absolutely certain. He claims that he learned more within the few seconds during which the illumination lasted than in previous months or even years of study, and that he learned much that no study could ever have taught.

The illumination itself continued not more than a fein moments, but its effects proved ineffaceable ; it was impossible for him ever to forget what he at that time saw and knew; neither did he, or could he, ever doubt the truth of what was then presented to his mind There was no return, that night or at any other time, of the experience. He subsequently wrote a book (28a.) in which he sought to embody the teaching of the illumination. Some who read it thought very highly of it, but (as was to be expected for many reasons) it had little circulation.

The supreme occurrence of that night was his real and sole initiation to the new and higher order of ideas. But it was only an initiation. He saw the light but had no more idea whence it came and what it meant than had the first creature that saw the light of the sun. Years afterwards he met C. P., of whom he had often heard as having extraordinary spiritual insight. He found that C. P. had entered the higher life of which he had had a glimpse and had had large experience of its phenomena. His con versation with C. P. threw a flood of light upon the true meaning of what he had himself experienced.

Looking round then upon the world of man, he saw the significance of the subjective light in the case of Paul and in that of Mohammed. The secret of Whitman's transcendent greatness was revealed to him Certain conversations with J. H. J. and with J. B. helped him not a little. Personal intercourse with Edward Carpenter, T. S. R., C. M. C. and M. C. L. assisted greatly in the broadening and clearing up of his speculations, in the extension and co-ordination of his thought. But much time and labor were still required before the germinal concept could be satisfactorily elaborated and matured, the idea, namely, that there exists a family sprung from, living among, but scarcely forming a part of ordinary humanity, whose members are spread abroad throughout the advanced races of mankind and throughout the last forty centuries of the world's history.

The trait that distinguishes these people from other men is this: Their spiritual eyes have been opened and they have seen. The better known members of this group who, were they collected together, could be accommodated all at one time in a modern drawing-room, have created all the great modern religions, beginning with Taoism and Buddhism, and speaking generally, have created, through religion and literature, modern civilization. Not that they have contributed any large numerical proportion of the books which have been written, but that they have produced the few books which have inspired the larger number of

all that have been written in modern times. These men dominate the last twenty-five, especially the last five, centuries as stars of the first magnitude dominate the midnight sky.

A man is identified as a member of this family by the fact that at a certain age he has passed through a new birth and risen to a higher spiritual plane. The reality of the new birth is demonstrated by the subjective light and other phenomena. The object of the present volume is to teach others what little the writer himself has been able to learn of the spiritual status of this new race.

12 Cosmic Consciousness First Words 13

V.

It remains to say a few words upon the psychological origin of what is called in this book Cosmic Consciousness, which must not be looked upon as being in any sense supernatural or supranormal -as anything more or less than a natural growth.

Although in the birth of Cosmic Consciousness the moral nature plays an important part, it will be better for many reasons to confine our attention at present to the evolution of the intellect. In this evolution there are four distinct steps. The first of them was taken when upon the primary quality of excitability sensation was established. At this point began the acquisition and more or less perfect registration of sense impressions-that is, of, percepts.

p 12

A percept is of course a sense impression-a sound is heard or an object seen and the impression made is a percept. If we could go back far enough we should find among our ancestors a creature whose whole intellect was made up simply of these percepts. But this creature (whatever name it ought to bear) had in it what may be called an eligibility of growth, and what happened with it was something like this: Individually and from generation to generation it accumulated these percepts, the constant repetition of which, calling for further and further registration, led, in the struggle for existence and, under the law of natural selection, to an accumulation of cells in the central sense ganglia; the multiplication of cells made further registration possible ; that, again, made further growth of the ganglia necessary, and so on. At last a condition was reached in which it became possible for our ancestor to combine groups of these percepts into what we to-day call a recept. This process is very similar to that of composite photography. Similar percepts (as of a tree) are registered one over the other until (the nerve center having become competent to the task) they are generalized into, as it were, one percept; but that compound percept is neither more nor less than a recept-a something that has been received.

Now the work of accumulation begins again on a higher plane : the sensory organs keep steadily at work manufacturing percepts ; the receptual centers keep steadily at work manufacturing more and yet more recepts from the old and the new percepts; the capacities of the central ganglia are constantly taxed to do the necessary registration of percepts, the necessary elaboration of these into recepts and the necessary registration of recepts; then as the ganglia by use and selection are improved they constantly manufacture from percepts and from the initial simple recepts, more and more complex, that is, higher and higher recepts.

At last, after many thousands of generations have lived and died, comes a time when the mind of the animal we are considering has reached the highest possible point of purely receptual intelligence; the accumulation of percepts and of recepts has gone on until no greater stores of impressions can be laid up and no further elaboration of these can be accomplished on the plane of receptual intelligence. Then another break is made and the higher recepts are replaced by concepts. The relation of a concept to a recept is somewhat similar to the relation of algebra to arithmetic. A recept is, as I have said, a composite image of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of percepts; it is itself an image abstracted from many images ; but a concept is that same composite image-that same recept-named, ticketed, and, as it were, dismissed A concept is in fact neither more nor less than a named recept-the name, that is, the sign (as in algebra), standing henceforth for the thing itself, that is, for the recept.

Now it is as clear as day to any one who will give the least thought to the subject, that the revolution by which concepts are substituted for recepts increases the efficiency of the brain for thought as much as the introduction of machinery increased the capacity of the race for work-or as much as the use of algebra increases the power of the mind in mathematical calculations. To replace a great cumbersome recept by a simple sign was almost like replacing actual goods-as wheat, fabrics and hardware-by entries in the ledger.

But, as hinted above, in order that a recept may be replaced by a concept it must be named, or, in other words, marked with a sign

14 Cosmic Consciousness

which stands for it-just as a check stands for a piece of baggage or as an entry in a ledger stands for a piece of goods; in other words, the race that is in possession of concepts is also, and necessarily, in possession of language. Further, it should be noted, as the possession of concepts implies the possession of language, so the possession of concepts and language (which are in reality two aspects of the same thing) implies the possession of self consciousness. All this means that there is a moment in the evolution of mind when the receptual intellect, capable of simple consciousness only, becomes almost or quite instantaneously a conceptual intellect in possession of language and self consciousness.

When we say that an individual, whether an adult individual long ago or a child to-day does not matter, came into possession of concepts, of language and of self consciousness in an instant, we, of course, mean that the individual came into possession of self consciousness and of one or a few concepts and of one or a few true words instantaneously and not that he entered into possession of a whole language in that short time. In the history of the individual man the point in question is reached and passed at about the age of three years; in the history of the race it was reached and passed several hundred thousand years ago.

We have now, in our analysis, reached the point where we each individually stand, the point, namely, of the conceptual, self conscious mind. In acquiring this new and higher form of consciousness it must not for a moment be supposed that we have dropped either our receptual intelligence or our old perceptual mind; as a matter of fact we could not live without these any more than could the animal who has no other mind than them. Our intellect, then, to-day is made up of a very complex mixture of percepts, recepts and concepts.

Let us now for a moment consider the concept. This may be considered as a large and complex recept ; but larger and morn complex than any recept. It is made up of one or more recepts combined with probably several percepts. This extremely complex recept is then marked by a sign ; that is, it is named and in virtue of its name it becomes a concept. The concept, after being

First Words 15

named or marked, is (as it were) laid away, just as a piece of checked baggage is marked by its check and piled in the baggage- room.

By means of this check we can send the trunk to any part of America without ever seeing it or knowing just where it is at a given moment. So by means of their signs we can build concepts into elaborate calculations, into poems and into systems of philosophy, without knowing half the time anything about the thing represented by the individual concepts that we are using.

And here a remark must be made aside from the main argument. It has been noticed thousands of times that the brain of a thinking man does not exceed in size the brain of a non-thinking wild man in anything like the proportion in which the mind of the thinker exceeds the mind of the savage. The reason is that the brain of a Herbert Spencer has very little more work to do than has the brain of a native Australian, for this reason, that Spencer does all his characteristic mental work by signs or counters which stand for concepts, while the savage does all or nearly all his by means of cumbersome recepts. The savage is in a position comparable to that of the astronomer who makes his calculations by arithmetic, while Spencer is in the position of one who makes them by algebra. The first will fill many great sheets of paper with figures and go through immense labor; the other will make the same calculations on an envelope and with comparatively little mental work.

The next chapter in the story is the accumulation of concepts. This is a double process. From the age, we will say, of three years each one accumulates year by year a larger and larger number, while at the same time the individual concepts are becoming constantly more and more complex. Consider for instance the concept science as it exists in the mind of a boy and of a middle aged thinking man; with the former it stood for a few dozen or a few hundred facts ; with the latter for many thousands.

Is there to be any limit to this growth of concepts in number and complexity ? Whoever will seriously consider that question will see that there must be a limit. No such process could go on

16 Cosmic Consciousness First Words 17

to infinity Should nature attempt such a feat the brain would have to grow until it could no longer be fed and a condition of deadlock be reached which would forbid further progress.

\V e have seen that the expansion of the perceptual mind had a necessary limit; that its own continued life led it inevitably up to and into the receptual mind. That the receptual mind by its own growth was inevitably led up to and into the conceptual mind. A priori considerations make it certain that a corresponding outlet will be found for the conceptual mind.

But we do not need to depend on abstract reasoning to demonstrate the necessary existence of the supra conceptual mind, since it exists and can be studied with no more difficulty than other natural phenomena. The supra conceptual intellect, the elements of which instead of being concepts are intuitions, is already (in small numbers it is true) an established fact, and the form of consciousness that belongs to that intellect may be called and has been called-Cosmic Consciousness.

Thus we have four distinct stages of intellect, all abundantly illustrated in the animal and human worlds about us-all equally illustrated in the individual growth of the cosmic conscious mind and all four existing together in that mind as the first three exist together in the ordinary human mind. These four stages are, first, the perceptual mind-the mind made up of percepts or sense impressions ; second, the mind made up of these and receptsthe so called receptual mind, or in other words the mind of simple consciousness ; third, we have the mind made up of percepts, recepts and concepts, called sometimes the conceptual mind or otherwise the self conscious mind-the mind of self consciousness ; and, fourth, and last, we have the intuitional mind-the mind whose highest element is not a recept or a concept but an intuition. This is the mind in which sensation, simple consciousness and self consciousness are supplemented and crowned with cosmic consciousness.

But it is necessary to show more clearly still the nature of these four stages and their relation one to the other. The perceptual or sensational stage of intellect is easy enough to understand, so may be passed by in this place with only one remark, namely, that in a mind made up wholly of percepts there is no consciousness of any sort. When, however, the receptual mind comes into existence simple consciousness is born, which means that animals are conscious (as we know they are) of the things they see about them. But the receptual mind is capable of simple consciousness only- that is, the animal is conscious of the object which he sees, but he does not know he is conscious of it; neither is the animal conscious of itself as a distinct entity or personality. In still other words, the animal cannot stand outside of itself and look at itself as any self conscious creature can. This, then, is simple consciousness : to be conscious of the things about one, but not to be conscious of one's self. But when I have reached self consciousness I am not only conscious of what I see, but I know I am conscious of it. Also I am conscious of myself as a separate entity and personality and I can stand apart from myself and contemplate myself, and can analyze and judge the operations of my own mind as I would analyze and judge anything else. This self consciousness is only possible after the formation of concepts and the consequent birth of language. Upon self consciousness is based all distinctively human life so far, except what has proceeded from the few cosmic conscious minds of the last three thousand years. Finally the basic fact in cosmic consciousness is implied in its name-that fact is consciousness of the cosmos-this is what is called in the East the "Brahmic Splendor," which is in Dante's phrase capable of transhumanizing a man into a god. Whitman, who has an immense deal to say about it, speaks of it in one place as "ineffable light-light rare, untellable, lighting the very light-beyond all signs, descriptions, languages." This consciousness shows the cosmos to consist not of dead matter governed by unconscious, rigid, and unintending law; it shows it on the contrary as entirely immaterial, entirely spiritual and entirely alive ; it shows that death is an absurdity, that everyone and everything has eternal life ; it shows that the universe is God and that God is the universe, and that no evil ever did or ever will enter into it; a great deal of this is, of course, from the point of view of self consciousness, absurd;

18 Cosmic Consciousness

it is nevertheless undoubtedly true. Now all this does not mean that when a man has cosmic consciousness he knows everything about the universe. We all know that when at three years of age we acquired self consciousness we did not at once know all about ourselves; we know, on the contrary, that after a great many thousands of years of experience of himself man still to-day knows comparatively little about himself considered even as a self conscious personality. So neither does a man know all about the cosmos merely because he becomes conscious of it. If it has taken the race several hundred thousand years to learn a smattering of the science of humanity since its aquisition of self consciousness, so it may take it millions of years to acquire a smattering of the science of God after its acquisition of cosmic consciousness.

As on self consciousness is based the human world as we see it with all its works and ways, so on cosmic consciousness is based the higher religions and the higher philosophies and what comes from them, and on it will be based, when it becomes more general, a new world of which it would be idle to try to speak to-day.

The philosophy of the birth of cosmic consciousness in the individual is very similar to that of the birth of self consciousness. The mind becomes overcrowded (as it were) with concepts and these are constantly becoming larger, more numerous and more and more complex; some day (the conditions being all favorable) the fusion, or what might be called the chemical union, of several of them and of certain moral elements takes place ; the result is an intuition and the establishment of the intuitional mind, or, in other words, cosmic consciousness.

The scheme by which the mind is built up is uniform from beginning to end : a recept is made of many percepts ; a concept of many or several recepts and percepts, and an intuition is made of many concepts, recepts and percepts together with other elements belonging to and drawn from the moral nature. The cosmic vision or the cosmic intuition, from which what may be called the new mind takes its name, is thus seen to be simply the complex and union of all prior thought and experience-just as self consciousness is the complex and union of all thought and experience prior to it.

PART II.

EVOLUTION AND DEVOLUTION.

CHAPTER 1. To Self Consciousness.

IT will be necessary, in the first place, for the reader of this book to have before his mind a tolerably complete idea in outline of mental evolution in all its three branches-sensuous, intellectual and emotional-up to and through the status of self consciousness. Without such a mental image as basis for the new conception this last (that is, cosmic consciousness) to most people would seem extravagant and even absurd. With such necessary foundation the new concept will appear to the intelligent reader what it is : A matter of course-an inevitable sequel to what preceded and led up to it. In attempting to give an idea of this vast evolution of mental phenomena from its beginning in far off geologic ages down to the latest phases reached by our own race anything like an exhaustive treatise could not, of course, be thought of here. The method actually adopted is more or less broken and fragmentary, but enough (it is thought) is given for the present purpose, and those who desire more will have no difficulty in finding it in other treatises, such as the admirable work of Romanes [134]. All the present writer aims at is the exposition of cosmic consciousness and a barely sufficient account of the lower mental phenomena to make that subject fully intelligible ; anything further would only burden this book to no good purpose.

The upbuilding or unfolding of the knowable universe presents to our minds a series of gradual ascents each divided from the next by an apparent leap over what seems to be a chasm. For instance, and to begin not at the beginning, but midway: Between the slow and equable development of the inorganic world which

20 Cosmic Consciousness

prepared it for the reception and support of living creatures and the more rapid growth and branching of vital forms, these having once appeared, there occurred what seems like the hiatus between the inorganic and organic worlds and the leap by which it was over-passed; within which hiatus or chasm has heretofore resided either the substance or shadow of a god whose hand has been deemed necessary to lift and pass on the elements from the lower to the higher plane.

Along the level road of the formation of suns and planets, of earth crust, of rocks and soil, we are carried, by evolutionists, smoothly and safely; but when we reach this perilous pit stretching interminably to right and left across our path, we pause, and even so able and daring a pilot-as Lester Ward (190. 300-320) can hardly induce us to attempt the leap with him, so wide and dark frowns the abyss. We feel that nature, who has done all-. and much greater things-was competent to cross and did cross the apparent break, although we may not at present be able to place a finger in each one of her footprints. For the moment, however, this stands the first and greatest of the so-called bars to acceptance of the doctrine of absolute continuity in the evolution of the visible world.

Later in the history of creation comes the beginning of Simple Consciousness. Certain individuals in some one leading species in the slowly unfolding life of the planet, some day-for the first time-become conscious; know that there exists a world, a something, without them. Less dwelt upon, as it has been, this step from the unconscious to the conscious might well impress us as being as immense, as miraculous and as divine as that from the inorganic to the organic.

Again, running parallel with the river of time, we perceive a long, equable and gradual ascent stretching from the dawn of Simple Consciousness to its highest excellence in the best pre- human types-the horse, the dog, the elephant and the ape. At this point confronts us another break comparable to those which in order of time preceded it-the hiatus, namely, or the seeming hiatus between Simple and Self Ccnsciousness: the deep chasm

To Self Consciousness 21

or ravine upon one side of which roams the brute while upon the other dwells man. A chasm into which enough books have been thrown to have sufficed (could they have been converted into stones or pig iron) to dam or bridge a great river. And which has only now been made safely passable by the lamented G. J. Romanes, by means of his valuable treatise on the "Origin of Human Faculty" [134].

Only a very short time ago (and even yet by most) this break in the line of ascent (or descent) was supposed to be impassable by ordinary growth. It may be said to be now known to be so passable, but it still stands out and apart from the even path of Cosmic development before our vision as that broad chasm or gap between the brute and the man.

For some hundreds of thousands of years, upon the general plane of Self Consciousness, an ascent, to the human eye gradual, but from the point of view of cosmic evolution rapid, has been made. In a race, large brained, walking erect, gregarious, brutal, but king of all other brutes, man in appearance but not in fact, the so-called alalus homo, was, from the highest Simple Consciousness born the basic human faculty Self Consciousness and its twin, language. From these and what went with these, through suffering, toil and war; through bestiality, savagery, barbarism; through slavery, greed, effort; through conquests infinite, through defeats overwhelming, through struggle unending; through ages of aimless semi-brutal existence; through subsistence on berries and roots; through the use of the casually found stone or stick; through life in deep forest, with nuts and seeds, and on the shores of waters with mollusks, crustaceans, and fish for food; through that greatest, perhaps, of human victories, the domestication and subjugation of fire; through the invention and art of the bow and arrow; through the taming of animals and the breaking of them to labor; through the long learning which led to the cultivation of the soil; through the adobe brick and the building of houses therefrom; through the smelting of metals and the slow births of the arts which rest upon these; through the slow making of alphabets and the evolution of the

22 Cosmic Consciousness

written word; in short, through thousands of centuries of human life, of human aspiration, of human growth, sprang the world of men and women as it stands before us and within us to-day with all its achievements and possessions [124. 10-13].

Is that all ? Is that the end? No. As life arose in a world without life ; as Simple Consciousness came into existence where before was mere vitality without perception; as Self Conscious ness leaping widewinged from Simple Consciousness soared forth over land and sea, so shall the race of man which has been thus established, continuing its beginningless and endless ascent, make other steps (the next of which it is now in act of climbing) and attain to a yet higher life than any heretofore experienced or even conceived.

And let it be clearly understood that the new step (to explain which this volume is written) is not simply an expansion of self consciousness but as distinct from it as that is from simple consciousness or as is this last from mere vitality without any consciousness at all, or as is the latter from the world of inorganic matter and force which preceded it and from which it proceeded.

CHAPTER 2. On the Plane of Self Consciousness. I.

AND in the first place it would be well to get a firm hold of the meaning of the words "self consciousness," upon the definition of which an excellent writer and most competent thinker [200255] has these remarks: "Self consciousness is often referred to as a distinguishing characteristic of man. Many, however, fail to gain a clear conception of what this faculty is. Dr. Carpenter confounds it with the 'power of reflecting on their own mental states,' while Mr. Darwin associates it with abstraction and other of the derivative faculties. It is certainly something much simpler than introspection, and has an earlier origin than the highly

On the Plane of Self Consciousness 23

derivative speculative faculties. If it could only be seized and clearly understood, self consciousness would doubtless prove to be the primary and fundamental human attribute. Our language seems to lack the proper word to express it in its simplest form. `Think' approaches this most nearly, and man is sometimes described as a 'thinking being.' The German language has a better word, viz., besinnen, and the substantive Besonnenheit seems to touch the kernel of the problem. Schopenhauer says: 'The animal lives without any Besonnenheit. It has consciousness,

e., it knows itself and its weal and woe; also the objects which produce these ; but its knowledge remains constantly subjective, never becomes objective: everything that it embraces appears to exist in and of itself, and can therefore never become an object of representation nor a problem for meditation. Its consciousness is thus wholly immanent. The consciousness of the savage man is similarly constituted in that his perceptions of things and of the world remain preponderantly subjective and immanent. He perceives things in the world, but not the world; his own actions and passion, but not himself.' "

Perhaps the simplest definition (and there are scores of them) would be: self consciousness is the faculty by which we realize. Or again: without self consciousness a sentient creature can know, but its possession is necessary in order that he may know that he knows. The best treatise so far written on this subject is Romanes' book, already several times referred to [134].

The roots of the tree of life being deep sunk in the organic world, its trunk is made up as follows: Beginning at the earth level we have first of all the lowest forms of life unconscious and insensate. These in their turn give birth to forms endowed with sensation and later to forms endowed with Simple Consciousness. From the last, when the right time comes, springs self consciousness and (as already said) in direct ascent from that Cosmic Consciousness. It is only necessary in this place, as clearing the ground for the work to be done, to point out that the doctrine of the unfolding of the human being, regarded from the side of psychology, is strictly in accord with the theory of evolu-

24 Cosmic Consciousness

tion in general as received and taught to-day by the foremost thinkers.

This tree which we call life and its upper part human life and human mind, has simply grown as grows any other tree, and besides its main stem, as above indicated, it has, as in the case of other trees, thrown off many branches. It will be well to consider some of these. It will be seen that some of them are given off from the lower part of the trunk, as, for instance, contractility, from which great limb, and as a part of it, springs all muscular action from the simple movement of the worm to the marvelously co-ordinated motions made, in the exercise of their art, by a Liszt or a Paderewski. Another of these large lower limbs is the instinct of Self-preservation and (twin with it) the instinct of the continuance of the species-the preservation of the race. Higher up the special senses shoot out from the main trunk and as they grow and divide and again divide they become large and vitally important branches of the great tree. From all these main off-shoots spring smaller arms and from these more delicate twigs.

Thus from the human intellect whose central fact is Self Consciousness, a section of the main trunk of our tree, spring judgment, reason, comparison, imagination, abstraction, reflection, generalization. From the moral or emotional nature, one of the largest and most important of the main limbs, spring love (itself a great branch dividing into many smaller branches), reverence, faith, fear, awe, hope, hate, humor and many more. The great branch called the sense of sight, which in its beginning was a perception of the difference between light and darkness, sent out twigs which we call sense of form, of distance, and later the color sense. The limb named sense of hearing has for branches and twigs the apprehension of loudness, of pitch, of distance, of direction and as a delicate twig just coming into being, the musical. sense.

On the Plane of Self Consciousness 25

IL

The important fact to notice at present is that, true to the simile of the tree here adopted, the numerous faculties of which (viewed from the side of dynamics) man is composed are all of different ages. Each one of them came into existence in its own time, i. e., when the psychic organism (the tree) was ready to produce it. For instance : Simple Consciousness many millions of years ago ; Self Consciousness perhaps three hundred thousand years. General vision is enormously old, but the color sense probably only about a thousand generations. Sensibility to sound many millions of years, while the musical sense is now in the act of appearing. Sexual instinct or passion arose far back in geologic ages-the human moral nature of which human sexual love is a young and vigorous branch does not appear to have been in existence many tens of thousands of years.

To make what has been and what remains to be said more readily and more fully intelligible it will be well to go into some little detail as to the time and mode of becoming and developing of a few faculties as a sample of the divine work that has been going on within us and about us since the dawn of life on this planet. The science of human psychology (in order to illustrate the subject of this volume) should give an account of the human intellect, of the human moral nature, and of the senses. Should give a description of these as they exist to-day, of their origin and evolution and should forecast their future course of either decay or further expansion. Only a very few specimen pages of such a work can be here set forth-and first a hasty glance at the intellect.

The intellect is that part of the mind which knows, as the moral nature is the part that feels. Each particular act of the intellect is instantaneous, whereas the acts (or rather states) of the moral nature are more or less continuous. Language corre-

26 Cosmic Consciousness On the Plane of Self Consciousness 27

sponds to the intellect and is therefore capable of expressing it perfectly and directly; on the other hand, the functions of the moral nature (belonging, i. e., deriving, as they do, from the great sympathetic nervous system-while the intellect and speech rest upon and spring from the Cerebro-Spinal) are not connected with language and are only capable of indirect and imperfect expression by its agency. Perhaps music, which certainly has its roots in the moral nature, is, as at present existing, the beginning of a language which will tally and express emotion as words tally and express ideas [28a. 106]. Intellectual acts are complex, and decomposable into many parts; moral states are either absolutely simple (as in the case of love, fear, hate) or nearly so ; that is, are composed of comparatively few elements. All intellectual acts are alike, or nearly alike, in that regard; moral states have a very wide range of degree of intensity.

The human intellect is made up principally of concepts, just as a forest is made up of trees or a city of houses ; these concepts are mental images of things, acts, or relations. The registration of these we call memory, the comparison of them one with another reasoning; for the building of these up into more complex images (as bricks are built into a house) we have in English no good expression; we sometimes call this act imagination (the act of forming a mental copy or likeness)-the Germans have a better name for it-they call it Vorstellung (the act of placing before), Anschauungsgabe (the gift of looking upon) and better still Einbildungskraft (the power of building up). The large intellect is that in which the number of concepts is above the average ; the fine intellect is that in which these are clear cut and well defined; the ready intellect is that in which they are easily and quickly accessible when wanted, and so on.

The growth of the human intellect is the growth of the con- cepts, i. e., the multiplication of the more simple and at the same time the building up of these into others more and more complex. Although this increase in number and complexity is taking place constantly in every active mind during at least the first half of life, from infancy to middle age, and though we each know

that we have concepts now that we had not some time ago, yet probably the wisest of us could not tell from observation made upon his own mind just by what process these new concepts came into existence-where they came from or how they came. But though we cannot perceive this by direct observation either of our own mind or that of another person, still there is another way by which the occult process can be followed and that is by means of language. As said above, language is the exact tally of the intellect: for every concept there is a word or words and for every word there is a concept ; neither can exist apart from the other. So Trench says : "You cannot impart to any man more than the words which he understands either now contain or can be made intelligibly to him to contain." Or as Max Mueller expresses it : "Without speech no reason, without reason no speech." Speech and the intellect do not correspond with one another in this way by accident, the relation between them is inevitably involved in the nature of the two things. Or are they two things ? Or two sides of one thing ? No word can come into being except as the expression of a concept, neither can a new concept be formed without the formation (at the same time) of the new word which is its expression, though this "new word" may be spelled and pronounced as is some old word. But an old word taking on another and a new meaning in reality becomes two words, an old and a new. Intellect and speech fit one another as the hand and the glove, only far more closely; say rather they fit as the skin fits the body, or as the pia mater fits the brain, or as any given species in the organic world is fitted by its environment. As is implied in what has been said, it is to be especially noted that not only does language fit the intellect in the sense of covering it in every part and following all its turnings and windings, but it fits it also in the sense of not going beyond it. Words correspond with concepts, and with concepts only, so that we cannot express directly with them either sense impressions or emotions, but are forced always to convey these (if at all) by expressing, not themselves, but the impression they make upon our intellect, i. e., the concepts formed from the contemplation of them by the intellect-in

28 Cosmic Consciousness On the Plane of Self Consciousness 29

'Nebula of Solar System N.

I Nebula A Astral N.

N.

System of Jupiter Saturn

-Uranus Neptune Mars

Earth

Etc.

{Planet lot Moon 2d Moon 3d Moon 4th Moon

e.

Eohipp us .1 ( Eocene )

Size of Fox

Mesohippus fAnchitherium

(Early MM- ( Miocene) Size of sheep cene) Miohippus

frEquus Caballus .

Asinus

" Hemi onus Quagga

I.Dauw

'Race Horse Carriage Horse Eng. Dray Horse Eng. Hunter

Arab ion

Shetland Pony

Sicilian

{Venetian Calalirian

Spanish Arcolan

3. 1-Aryan .....

{Italian Latin Portuguese Corsican Greek French Sanscrit Wallachian Rhaetian Rend Armenian

Lithuanian

Expecting

Old Sclavonic

Expectation-

Gothic

Expected

Expect

Unexpected

Specimen

Expectable

Respect (noun and verb)

Expectancy

Spectator

Expectant

Respite

-Expector

Spectacle

Despise, Despicable

Respective

Spite, -ful

Spectrum

Speculate, -ation

Suspect, Suspicious

Specious, -1y, -ness

Specific, -ation

Latin, Specio, To see, look .

Inspect, -ion, -or

Greek, Skeptomai, I look

Speculus

" Skeptikos, An enquirer

Species

" Episkopes, An overseer

Circumspect, -ion

I Pre-root-Aryan root, Spac 4

Sanserit, Pas, To see " Spasa,, A spy

Spice, Spicy Prospect, -ive

" Spashta, Manifest

Special, -1y, -ty

" Spas, A guardian

Auspicious, Auspices

0. H. G., Spehan, To look, spy

Spicular

" " Speha, A spy

Respectable

Spy ( noun or verb)

Aspect

Prospectus

Specify

Spectre

other words, their intellectual image. So that before a sense impression or an emotion can be embodied or conveyed in language a concept has to be formed (supposed more or less truly to represent it), which concept can, of course, be conveyed in words. But as a matter of fact ninety-nine out of every hundred of our sense impressions and emotions have never been represented in the intellect by concepts and therefore remain unexpressed and inexpressible except imperfectly by roundabout description and suggestion. There exists in the lower animals a state of matters which serves well to illustrate this proposition. These have acute sense perceptions and strong emotions, such as fear, rage, sexual passion and maternal love, and yet cannot express them because these have no language of their own, and the animals in question have no system of concepts with corresponding articulate sounds. Granted to us our sense perceptions and our human moral natures and we should be as dumb as are the animals had we not along with these an intellect in which they may be mirrored and by which, by means of language, they can be expressed.

As the correspondence of words and concepts is not casual or temporary but resides in the nature of these and continues during all time and under all circumstances absolutely constant, so changes in one of the factors must correspond with changes in the other. So evolution of intellect must (if it exist) be accompanied by evolution of language. An evolution of language (if it exist) will be evidence of evolution of intellect. What then is here proposed is to study (for a few moments) the growth of the intellect by means of an examination of language, i. e., to study the birth, life and growth of concepts which cannot be seen, by means of words which are their co-relatives and which can be seen.

Sir Charles Lye11, in the "Antiquity of Man" [113], pointed out the parallelism which exists between the origin, growth, decline and death of languages and of species in the organic world. In order to illustrate and at the same time broaden the present argument let us extend the parallel backward to the formation of the worlds and forward to the evolution of words and concepts.

30 Cosmic Consciousness

The accompanying table will serve this purpose as well as, or better than, an elaborately reasoned exposition, and will serve at the same time as a summary of the evolution argument which runs through this volume.

A short study of this tabular statement will make plain how orbs, species, languages and words branch, divide and multiply; will make intelligible Max Mueller's estimate that "every thought that has ever passed through the mind of India" may be reduced to one hundred and twenty-one root concepts-that is, to one hundred and twenty-one root words [116. 401] ; will make us agree with him that, probably, that number might be still further reduced. If we consider for a moment that this means that the millions of Indo-European words now in use as well as many times the number long since dead and forgotten, nearly all sprang from about one hundred roots and that these in their turn probably from half a dozen, and at the same time remember that reason and speech are one, we shall obtain a glimpse of what the human intellect once was in comparison with what it is to-day; and likewise it becomes apparent at a glance that the evolution not only of species, languages and words is strictly parallel but that the scheme has probably a still wider, perhaps universal, application. As regards the present thesis the conclusion to be drawn from this comparison is that words, and that therefore the constituent elements of the intellect which they represent and which we call concepts, grow by division and branching, as new species branch off from older, and it seems clear that a normal growth is encouraged and an excessive and useless development checked by the same means in the one case as in the other-that is, by natural selection and the struggle for existence.

New concepts, and words expressing them, which correspond with some external reality (whether this is a thing, an act, a state, or a relation), and which are therefore of use to man, since their existence places him in more complete relation with the outer world, on which relation his life and welfare depend, are preserved by the process of natural selection and survival of the fittest. Some again which either do not correspond at all, or only

On the Plane of Self Consciousness 31

imperfectly, with an objective reality are replaced by others which do correspond or correspond better with the reality which these aimed to express, and so in the struggle for existence fall into disuse and die out.

For it is with words as with every other living thing, thousands are produced for one that lives. Towards whatever object the mind is especially turned it throws out words often with marvelous profusion. When some thousands of years ago, Sanscrit being still a living language and the sun and fire looked upon either as actual gods or at least as especially sacred, fire had (instead of a very few names as now) thirty-five and the sun thirty- seven [115. 437]. But much more remarkable examples are those drawn from Arabic, as, for instance, the eighty names for honey, the two hundred for serpent, the five hundred for lion, the one thousand for sword, and the five thousand seven hundred and forty-four words all relating to the camel, these being subjects upon which the Arab mind is strongly and persistently bent [115, 438]. So again Max Mueller tells us: "We can hardly form an idea of the boundless resources of dialects. When literary languages have stereotyped one general term their dialects will supply fifty, though each with its special shade of meaning. If new combinations of thoughts are evolved in the progress of society, dialects will readily supply the required names from the store of their so-called superfluous words. There are not only local and provincial but also class dialects. There is a dialect of shepherds, of sportsmen, of soldiers, or farmers. I suppose there are few persons here present who could tell the exact meaning of a horse's poll, crest, withers, dock, hamstring, cannon, pastern, coronet, arm, jowl and muzzle. Where the literary language speaks of the young of all sorts of animals, farmers, shepherds and sportsmen would be ashamed to use so general a term. The idiom of nomads, as Grimm says, contain an abundant wealth of manifold expressions for sword and weapons, and for the different stages in the life of cattle. In a more highly cultivated language these expressions become burthensome and superfluous. But in a peasant's mouth the bearing, calving, falling and killing

32 Cosmic Consciousness

of almost every animal has its own peculiar term, as the sportsman delights in calling the gait and members of game by different names Thus Dame Juliana Berners, lady prioress of the nunnery of Sopwell, in the fifteenth century, the reputed author of the 'Book of St. Albans,' informs us that we must not use names of multitudes promiscuously, but we are to say : A congregcyon of people, a hoost of men, a felyshyppynge of women, and a bevy of ladyes, we must speak of a herde of hartys, swannys, cranys, or wrennys, a sege of herons, or bytourys, a muster of peacockys, a watche of nyghtyngalys, a flyghte of doves, a claterynge of choughes, a pryde of lyons, a slewthe of beerys, a gagle of geys, a skulke of foxes, a sculle of frerys, a pontyfycalate of prelates, a bomynable syght of monkes, a dronkenshyp of cobblers, and so of other human and brute assemblages. In like manner in dividing game for the table the animals were not carved, but a dere was broken, a gose reryd, a chekyn frusshed, a cony unlacyd, a crane dysplayed, a curlewe unjointyd, a quayle wynggyd, a swanne lyfte, a Tanabe sholderyd, a heron dysmembryd, a pecocke dysfygured, a samon chynyd, a hadoke sydyd, a sole loynyd, and a breme splayed" [115. 70].

These instances will serve to show how the human intellect feels along the face of the outer world presented to it, attempting a lodgment in each cranny it finds, however slight and precarious may be the hold that it gets. For the mind of man from age to age ceaselessly seeks to master the facts of the outer world; its growth indeed consists in tallying or covering these as ivy spreads over, tallies and covers the stones of a wall ; the twig that secures a hold strengthens and puts out other twigs ; that which does not secure a hold after a time ceases to grow and eventually dies.

The main thing to notice for our present purpose is that just as in the case of the child learning to talk, the race began also with a few, or, as Geiger [91. 29] says, with a single word. That is to say, man began to think with very few or with a single concept (of course, at that time, and before, he had a large stock of percepts and of recepts [134. 193], otherwise he could have done little with his one or few concepts). From these few or that one

On the Plane of Self Consciousness 33

the enormous number of concepts and words that have since come into existence have proceeded; nor will the evolution of the entire human intellect from a single initial concept seem incredible or even very marvelous, to those who bear in mind that the whole complex human body, with all its tissues, organs and parts, is built up of hundreds of millions of cells, each one of which, however much it may differ in structure and function from those belonging to other organs and tissues than its own, is yet lineally descended from the one single primordial cell in which each one of us (and only a few years ago) had his origin.

As we reach back into the past, therefore, we find language, and with it the human intellect, drawing into a point, and we know that within a measurable distance from where we stand to-day they must have both had their beginning. The date of that beginning has been approximately fixed by many writers and from many indications, and we cannot be far astray in placing it (provisionally) about three hundred thousand years anterior to our own times.

Iv.

Much more modern than the birth of the intellect was that of the color sense. We have the authority of Max Mueller [117. 299] for the statement that: "It is well known that the distinction of color is of late date ; that Xenophanes knew of three colors of the rainbow only-purple, red and yellow; that even Aristotle spoke of the tricolored rainbow; and that Democritus knew of no more than four colors-black, white, red and yellow."

Geiger [91. 48] points out that it can be proved by examination of language that as late in the life of the race as the time of the primitive Aryans, perhaps not more than fifteen or twenty thousand years ago, man was only conscious of, only perceived, one color. That is to say, he did not distinguish any difference in tint between the blue sky, the green trees and grass, the brown or gray earth, and the golden and purple clouds of sunrise and sunset. So Pictet [126] finds no names of colors in primitive Indo-

34 Cosmic Consciousness

European speech. And Marc Mueller [116 : 616] finds no Sanscrit root whose meaning has any reference to color.

At a later period, but still before the time of the oldest literary compositions now extant, the color sense was so far developed beyond this primitive condition that red and black were recognized as distinct. Still later, at the time when the bulk of the Rig Veda was composed, red, yellow and black were recognized as three separate shades, but these three included all color that man at that age was capable of appreciating. Still later white was added to the list and then green; but throughout the Rig Veda, the Zend Avesta, the Homeric poems and the Bible the color of the sky is not once mentioned, therefore, apparently, was not recognized. For the omission can hardly be attributed to accident ; the ten thousand lines of the Rig Veda are largely occupied with descriptions of the sky; and all its features-sun, moon, stars, clouds, lightning, sunrise and sunset-are mentioned hundreds of times. So also the Zend Avesta, to the writers of which light and fire, both terrestrial and heavenly, are sacred objects, could hardly have omitted by chance all mention of the blue sky. In the Bible the sky and heaven are mentioned more than four hundred and thirty times, and still no mention is made of the color of the former. In no part of the world is the blue of the sky more intense than in Greece and Asia Minor, where the Homeric poems were composed. Is it possible to conceive that a poet (or the poets) who saw this as we see it now could write the forty-eight long books of the Iliad and Odyssey and never once either mention or refer to it'? But were it possible to believe that all the poets of the Rig Veda, Zend Avesta, Iliad, Odyssey and Bible could have omitted the mention of the blue color of the sky by mere accident, etymology would step in and assure us that four thousand years ago, or, perhaps, three, blue was unknown, for at that time the subsequent names for blue were all merged in the names for black.

The English word blue and the German blau descend from a

word that meant black. The Chinese hi-u-an, which now means

sky-blue, formerly meant black. The word nil, which now in

On the Plane of Self Consciousness 35

Persian and Arabic means blue, is derived from the name Nile that is, the black river, of which same word the Latin Niger is a form.

It does not seem possible that at the time when men recognized only two colors, which they called red and black, these appeared to them as red and black appear to us-though just what the sensations were which they so named cannot of course be now ascertained. Under the name red it seems they included with that color white, yellow and all intermediate tints ; while under the name black they seem to have included all shades of blue and green. As the sensations red and black came into existence by the division of an original unital color sensation, so in process of time these divided. First red divided into red-yellow, then that red into red-white. Black divided into black-green, then black again into black-blue, and during the last twenty-five hundred years these six (or rather these four-red, yellow, green, blue) have split u p into the enormous number of shades of color which are now recognized and named. The annexed diagram shows at a glance the order in which the spectrum colors became visible to man.

It can be shown in an entirely independent manner that if the color sense did come into existence as here supposed the successive order in which the colors are said (following ancient documents and etymology) to have been recognized by man is actually the order in which they must have been so recognized and the scientific facts now about to be adduced must be admitted to be remarkably confirmatory of the above conclusions, while being drawn from sources entirely separate and distinct.

The solar or other light rays that excite vision are named red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. These rays differ the one from the other in the length and amplitude of the waves which compose them, and both the length and amplitude of the waves diminish in the order in which the names have just been given. But the force or energy of a light wave-that is to say, its power of exciting vision, is proportional to the square of its amplitude [180. 272, and especially 181. 136]. According to this law the energy-the power of exciting vision-of the red rays is several

11

36 Cosmic Consciousness

thousand times as great as the energy of the violet, and there is a regular and rapid decrease of energy as we pass down the spectrum from red to violet. It is plain that if there has been such a thing as a growing perfection in the sense of vision in virtue of which, from being insensible to color the eye became gradually sensible of it, red would necessarily be the first color perceived, then yellow, then green, and so on to violet; and this is exactly what both ancient literature and etymology tell us took place.

v.053.te

.44V,te Red

Yellow

Yellow

Primitive Color

Green

Green

Blue

Blue

riiaor

The comparative modernness of the color sense is further attested by the large number of persons in all countries who are what is called color-blind-that is, persons who are at the present day entirely or partially without color sense. "Wilson's assertion that probably one in five and twenty is color-blind long remained doubted because not proved in reference to sufficiently large numbers. Till we had comparison methods, and principally Hohngren's, no satisfactory data could be obtained. His in proper hands so quickly decides a case that tests have already been made in thousands of persons. Based on at least two hundred thousand examinations is the result that four per cent. of males are

On the Plane of Self Consciousness 37

color blind in greater or less degree, and one-fourth of one per cent. of females." [135. 242.] This would make one case of color-blindness to every forty-seven persons.

The degree of universality of the color sense in a race is, of course, an important fact in estimating its degree of evolution as compared with other races. In this connection the following facts are of interest [122. 716] : "In Japan among 1,200 soldiers 1.58 per cent. were red-blind, and 0.833 per cent. green-blind. Among 373 boys 1 per cent. were red-blind; among 270 girls 0.4 per cent Among 596 men examined by Dr. Berry, of Kyoto, 5.45 per cent. showed defective color sense Among the Japanese, as a whole, the percentage of color-blindness is less than in Europeans or Americans. Among 796 Chinese examined in various places no cases of color-blindness were found, but there was a tendency often seen to mix green and blue. This peculiarity was brought out with much greater emphasis by Dr. Fielde, of Swatow, China, who examined 1,200 Chinese of both sexes, using Thompson's wool tests. Among the 600 men were 19 who were color-blind, and among 600 women only 1. The percentage of color-blindness among Chinamen is, then, about 3 per cent., and does not vary greatly from that of Europeans."

In color-blindness the general vision is not affected; the individual distinguishes light and shade, form and distance, as well as do other persons. This also goes to show that the color sense is more superficial, less fundamental, and probably therefore acquired later than the other powers that belong to the function of sight. For a person could not lose one of the more fundamental elements of vision (the sense of visual form, for instance) and retain the other sight faculties unimpaired.

Color-blindness is in fact an instance of what is called atavism, or relapse to a condition which was normal in the ancestry of the individual, but which does not properly belong to the species at the time in which he lives. The frequency of this relapse (estimated, as we have seen, to occur in one person out of every forty- seven) indicates that the color sense is comparatively modern; for atavism is more frequent in inverse proportion to the length

38 Cosmic Consciousness

of time that has elapsed since the organ or function lost or improperly taken on (as the case may be) has (in the one case) normally existed in the race or (in the other) been discarded in the process of evolution. The rationale of this law (which will be again referred to) is obvious : it depends upon the simple fact that the longer any organ or function has been in existence in a race the more certainly will it be inherited. The existence of color-blindness, then, in so large a percentage of the population shows that the color sense is a modern faculty. The relative visibility of the different colored light rays makes it certain that if the color sense was acquired it would undoubtedly have been so in the order in which philologists claim it actually was acquired, and the concurrence of these two sets of facts, the one drawn from natural philosophy and the other from etymology, together with the fact of color-blindness, is so striking that it seems impossible to refuse assent to the conclusions reached.

V.

Another recently acquired faculty is the sense of fragrance. It is not mentioned in the Vedic hymns and only once in the Zend Avesta. Geiger [91. 58] tells us that the custom of offering incense with the sacrifice is not yet met with in the Rig Veda, though it is found in the more recent Yadshurveda. Among the Biblical books the sense of the fragrance of flowers first makes its appearance in the "Song of Songs." According to the description in Genesis there were in Paradise all kinds of trees "that were pleasant to the sight and good for food," no mention being made of pleasant odors. The Apochryphal book of Henoch (of the first century B. C., or even later), extant in Ethiopian, likewise describes Paradise, but does not omit to extol the delightful fragrance of the Tree of Knowledge, as well as other trees, in the Garden of Eden.

Besides this evidence it is said to be capable of proof from language that no such sense as that of fragrance existed in the early times of the Indo-Europeans. And it is also worth mentioning

On the Plane of Self Consciousness 39

in this connection that no animal (although many of these so greatly surpass us in recognition by scent) possesses, so far as we know or can discover, any sense of fragrance, and that children do not acquire it until they are several years old-not, indeed, for several years after they have acquired, more or less perfectly, the sense of color; thus corresponding in their mental development (as pointed out above) with the evolution of the general human mind, for the color sense probably came into existence in the race many thousand years before the sense of fragrance.

VI.

Instincts which are both human and animal, as the sexual and maternal, undoubtedly came down to man through long lines of descent and have been in possession of himself and his ancestors for millions of years; but the human moral nature, though it is rooted in and has grown from these, is of comparatively recent origin. It not only does not go back behind the birth of self consciousness, but it is certainly very much more recent than this.

Man, that is, Self Consciousness, as has been said, must have come into being some three hundred thousand years ago when the first Alalus Homo uttered the first true word. In the individual to-day man is born when the child becomes self conscious-at the average age of, say, three years Among the Indo-European races not more than about one individual (so-called idiot) in a thousand grows to maturity without attaining to Self Consciousness. Self Consciousness having appeared in an individual, is only lost in great and rare crises-as in the delirium of fever and in some forms of insanity, notably mania ;

p 39

on the other hand the human moral nature does not appear in the individual (on the average) until, say, half-way between three years old and maturity. Instead of one or two in a thousand, several times the same number in a hundred are born, grow up and die without a moral nature. Instead of being lost in great and rare crises it is constantly being temporarily lost. All these indications go to prove that the human moral nature is a much more recent birth of time

40 Cosmic Consciousness On the Plane of Self Consciousness 41

than is the human intellect, and that if we suppose the latter to be three hundred thousand years old we cannot suppose the former to be anything like that age.

VII.

Primeval man, from whom we are all descended, has still upon the earth in these later days, two representatives-first, the savage ; second, the child. It would be true to say that the child is a savage and the savage a child, and through the mental state represented by these two, not only each individual member of the race, but the race itself as a whole, has passed. For, as in his intrauterine evolution the individual man retraces and summarizes in a few brief months the evolution of the human race, physically considered, from the initial unicellular form in which individual life began through all intervening phases between that and the human form, resuming in each day the slow evolution of millions of years,

p 40

so likewise does the individual man in his mental development from birth to maturity retrace and summarize the evolution of the psychical life of the race ; and as the individual physical man begins at the very bottom of the scale as a unicellular monad, so does the psychical man begin on the bottom round of the ladder of mind, and in his ascent of a few dozen months passes through the successive phases each of which occupied in its accomplishment by the race thousands of years. The characteristics of the mind of the savage and of the child will give us, when found, the characteristics of the primeval human mind from which has descended the average modern mind that we know, as well as the exceptional minds of the great men of history of the present day.

The chief differences between the primeval, the infantile and the savage mind on the one hand and the civilized mind on the other, is that the first (called for the sake of brevity the lower mind) is wanting in personal force, courage, or faith, and also in sympathy, or affection; and that it is more easily excited to terror or anger than is the second or civilized mind. There are of course other differences than these between the lower mind and the higher-differences in intellect, and even in sense perceptions ; but these, though great in themselves, have not the supreme significance of the basic, fundamental, moral differences just mentioned. The lower mind then lacks faith, lacks courage, lacks personal force, lacks sympathy, lacks affection-that is (to sum up), it lacks peace, content, happiness. It is prone to the fear of things known, and still more to vague terror of things unknown ; it is prone to anger, rage, hatred-that is (to again sum up), to unrest, discontent, unhappiness. On the other hand, the higher mind (as compared with the lower) possesses faith, courage, personal force, sympathy, affection; that is, it possesses (relatively) happiness; is less prone to fear of things known and unknown and to anger and hatred-that is, to unhappiness.

p 40

The statement thus broadly made does not seem at first sight to mean very much, but in fact it means almost everything ; it contains the key to our past, our present and our future, for it is the condition of the moral nature (thus briefly adverted to) that decides for each one of us, from moment to moment, and for the race at large, from age to age, what sort of a place this world in which we live shall appear to be-what sort of a place it is indeed for each one of us. For it is not our eyes and ears, nor even our intellects, that report the world to us; but it is our moral nature that settles at last the significance of what exists about us.

The members of the human race began by fearing much and disliking much, by loving or admiring little and by trusting still less. It is safe to say that those earliest men of the river drift, and the cave men, their successors, saw little beauty in the outer world in which they lived, though perhaps their eyes, in most other respects, were fully as keen as ours. It is certain that their family affections (as in the case of the lowest savages of to-day) were, to say the least, rudimentary, and that all men outside their immediate family were either feared or disliked, or both. When the race emerged from the cloud-covered past into the light of what may be called inferential history, the view men took of the government of the universe, of the character of the beings and

4Z Cosmic Consciousness

forces by which this government was carried on, of the position in which man stood to the governing powers, of his prospects in this life and after it, were (as in the case of the lower races of to-day) gloomy in an extreme degree. Since that time neither the world nor the government of the world have changed, but the gradual alteration in the moral nature of man has made it in his eyes a different place. The bleak and forbidding mountains, the awe- inspiring sea, the gloomy forests, the dark and fearful night, all the aspects of nature which in that old time were charged with dread, have in the place of it become clothed with a new and strange beauty. The whole human race and all living things have put on (in our eyes) a charm and sacredness which in the old times they were far from possessing. The governing powers of the universe (obedient to the same beneficent influence) have been gradually converted from demons into beings and forces less and less inimical, more and more friendly, to man; so that in all respects each age has interpreted the universe for itself, and has more or less discredited the interpretations of previous ages.

Which is the correct interpretation? What mind, of all the vast diversity of the past and present, in all this long series, pictures to itself most correctly the outer world? Let us see. Let us consider for a moment our spiritual genealogy, and dwell on its meaning. Our immediate ancestors were Christians. The spiritual progenitor of Christianity was Judaism. Judaism, having its beginning in that group of tribes collectively called Terachite or Hebrew-Ibrim, those of the other side (i. e., of the Euphrates)-descended from the mythical Ab-orham or Abraham [137-91f] ; these tribes being themselves a twig of the great Semitic branch of the Caucasian race stock, sprang directly from Chaldean polytheism. Chaldean polytheism again in its turn was a development in direct descent of the Sun and Nature worship of the primitive undivided Caucasian family. The Sun and Nature worship again no doubt had its root in, and drew its life from, initial Fetishism, or the direct worship of individual earthly objects. In this long descent (although we apply different names to different parts of the continuous series, as if there were lines of

On the Plane of Self Consciousness 43

demarcation between these different parts) there has been no break, and in all the thousands of years never such a thing as a new departure. In these spiritual matters the maxim "Natura non facit saltum" holds as firmly as it does in physics and geology. The whole affair is a simple matter of growth strictly analogous to the unfolding of the branch from the bud, or of the plant from its seed. As has been well said: "La religion etant un des produits vivants de l'humanite doit vivre, c'est-a-dire, changer avec elle" [136: 45]. And on last analysis it will be found that under the vast diversity of external appearance, from Fetishism to Christianity-underlying the infinite variety of formulas, creeds and dogmas resumed under these five heads-the essential element upon which all else depends, which underlies all and is the soul of all, is the attitude of the moral nature. And all changes in the intellectual form and outer aspect of religion are as obedient to the gradual change taking place in this as are the movements of the hands and wheels of the watch to the expansive force of its mainspring. The external world stands fast, but the spirit of man continually grows, and as it does so its own vast Brocken shadow (thrown out by the moral nature but shaped by the intellect), which it projects on the midst of the infinite unknown, necessarily (like a dissolving view) changes and changes, following the alterations in the substance (that is, the soul of man) which gives life and reality to the shadowy phantom which plain folk call their creed, and which metaphysicians call the philosophy of the absolute.

But in thus interpreting, from age to age, the unknown universe in which we live, it is to be observed that we are (on the whole) constantly giving a better and better report of it. We attribute to our gods (as the ages pass) better and better characters, and we constantly expect at their hands better and better treatment, both in the present life and after death. That means (of course) that the quantity of trust or faith which we possess is steadily increasing and encroaching upon its opposite, fear, which is as constantly lessening. So equally it may be said of charity, sympathy, or affection, that the constant increase of that

44 Cosmic Consciousness On the Plane of Self Consciousness 45

faculty is steadily changing to us the aspect of the visible world, just as the growth of faith is altering the image we form for ourselves of that greater world which is invisible. Nor is there any indication that this double process has come to an end or that it is likely to come to an end.

VIII.

The length of time during which the race has been possessed of any given faculty may be more or less accurately estimated from various indications. In cases in which the birth of the faculty took place in comparatively recent times-within, for instance, the last twenty-five or thirty thousand years-philology (as we have seen) may assist materially in determining the approximate date of its appearance. But for comparatively old faculties, such as the human intellect or simple consciousness, this means necessarily entirely fails us. We fall back, then, upon the following tests:

The age at which the faculty appears in the individual man at the present time.

The more or less universality of the faculty in the adult members of the race to-day.

The readiness, or the reverse, with which the faculty is lost -as in sickness.

The relative frequency with which the faculty makes its appearance in dreams

1. Of each of our mental faculties it may be predicated that it has its own normal or average age for appearing in the individual; as, for instance, memory and simple consciousness appear within a few days after birth ; curiosity ten weeks after; use of tools twelve months after; shame, remorse, and a sense of the ludicrous -all of them about fifteen months after birth. Now it is to be noted that in every instance the time of appearance of a faculty in an infant corresponds with the stage at which the same faculty appears (as far as can be at present ascertained) in the ascending animal scale, just as in the case of later appearing faculties, their age of appearing in the individual corresponds with their period of appearance in the race ; for instance, memory and simple consciousness occur in animals as primitive as the echinodermata, while the use of tools is not met with below monkeys ; and shame and remorse and a sense of the ludicrous are almost if not entirely confined (among animals) to the anthropoid ape and the dog. So of purely human faculties, self consciousness, which appears in the individual at the average age of about three years, made its appearance in the race certainly more than a thousand centuries ago, while the musical sense, which does not appear in the individual before adolescence or puberty, cannot (to judge by the records) have existed in the race more than a very few thousand years.

The longer a race has been in possession of a given faculty the more universal will that faculty be in the race. This proposition scarcely needs proof. Every new faculty must occur first of all in one individual, and as other individuals attain to the status of that one they too will acquire it, until, after perhaps many thousand years, the whole race, having attained to that status, the faculty will have become universal.

The longer a race has been in possession of a given faculty the more firmly is that faculty fixed in each individual of the race who possesses it. In other words: the more recent is any given faculty the more easily is it lost. Authority for this proposition (which indeed it scarcely needs) will be quoted where it is stated in another connection. It is almost, if not quite, a self- evident proposition.

4. A study of dreaming seems to reveal the fact that in sleep such mind as we have differs from our waking mind, especially by being more primitive ; that, in fact, it would be almost strictly true to say that in dreams we pass backward into a prehuman mental life ; that the intellectual faculties which we possess in dreams are, especially, recepts as distinguished from our waking concepts ; while in the moral realm they are equally those facul-

46 Cosmic Consciousness On the Plane of Self Consciousness 47

ties, such as remorse, shame, surprise, along with the older and more basic sense functions, which belonged to us before we reached the human plane, and that the more modern mental faculties, such as color sense, musical sense, self consciousness, the human moral nature, have no existence in this condition, or if any of them do occur it is only as a rare exception.

Let us now compare one with the other a few of the faculties which have been already mentioned in the light of the rules laid down. To do this will give us, more clearly than perhaps anything else could, a definite notion of the growth of mind by the successive addition of new functions. For this purpose let us take (as a few examples and to stand for all) simple consciousness, shame, self consciousness, color sense, the human moral nature, the musical sense, cosmic consciousness.

Simple consciousness makes its appearance in the human infant within a few days after birth; it is absolutely universal in the human race ; it dates far back before the earliest mammals; it is lost only in deep sleep and coma ; it is present in all dreams.

Shame, remorse and a sense of the ludicrous are all said to be born in the human infant at about the age of fifteen months ; they are all prehuman faculties and are all found in the dog and in apes, and they undoubtedly existed in our prehuman ancestors ; they are all almost universal in the race, being absent only in very low idiots ; they are all three common in dreams.

Self consciousness makes its appearance in the child at the average age of three years; it is not present in any species but the human; it is, in fact, that faculty, the possession of which by an individual constitutes him a man. It is not universal in our race, being absent in all true idiots ; that is, it is permanently absent in about one in each thousand human beings in Europe and America. *

There must, however, be many members of low races, such as. the Bushmen of South Africa * and native Australians, who never attain to this faculty. In our ancestry self consciousness dates back to the first true man. Thousands of years must have elapsed between its first appearance and its universality, just as thousands of years are now passing between the first cases of cosmic consciousness and its universality. A race, we are told, unclothed, walking erect,t gregarious, without a true language, to a limited extent tool-using, destitute of marriage, government, or any insti-

*As regards the absence of self consciousness in idiots the examination of the inmates of a large idiot asylum revealed the fact that the faculty was absent in fully ninety per cent. The patients examined were nearly all over ten years of age. Of course a few of them might attain to self consciousness later on. Dictionaries and works on idiocy [101] define an idiot as "a human being destitute of the ordinary mental powers"; but it would seem that "a human being in whom, the usual age being past, in consequence of atavism, self consciousness has not been developed," would be more accurate and better. While the definition of imbecile would be: ''A human being, who, though self conscious, is, in consequence of atavism, to a large extent destitute of the ordinary mental powers."

*For the mental status of Bushmen see Anderson [1-9, 216, 217, 218, '227, 228, 232, 291], who gives the facts from actual observation without speculation or theory; he is a close observer and evidently a faithful reporter. See also some remarkable pages by Olive Schreiner [90-2, 4] in which she describes these same Bushmen (as does Anderson) from personal observation. Along with much else she states, for instance, that: "These small people had no fixed social organization; wandering about in hordes or as solitary individuals, without any settled habitation, they slept at night under the rocks or in wild-dog holes, or they made themselves a curious little wall of loose bushes, raised up on the side from which the wind blew, and strangely like an animal's lair; and this they left again when the morning broke. They had no flocks or herds and lived on the wild game, or when that failed them, ate snakes, scorpions, insects or offal, or visited the flocks of the Hottentots. They wore no clothing of any kind, and their weapons were bows and arrows, the strings of the bows being made from the sinews of wild animals, and the arrows tipped with sharpened bones or flint stones, poisoned with the juice of a bulb or dipped in the body of a poisonous caterpillar: and these formed their only property. They had no marriage ceremony and no permanent sex relations, any man or woman cohabiting during pleasure; maternal feeling was at its lowest ebb, mothers readily forsaking their young or disposing of them for a trifle; and paternal feeling was non-existent. Their language is said by those who have closely studied it to be so imperfect that the clear expression of even the very simplest ideas is difficult. They have no word for wife, for marriage, for nation: and their minds appear to be in the same simple condition as their language. The complex mental operations necessary for the maintenance of life under civilized conditions they have apparently no power of performing; no member of the race has in any known instance been taught to read or write, nor to grasp religious conceptions clearly, though great efforts have been made to instruct them." It seems impossible to believe that as a race these creatures are self conscious.

t Walking erect. If the view here taken of mental, and human, evolution should be accepted it would throw some light on our remote past. One corollary from it would be that our ancestors walked erect for hundreds of thousands of years before they became self conscious-that is, before they became men and began to speak. The age at which infants begin to walk is (mentally) the age of the dog and the ape. From fifteen or eighteen months to three years of age the child passes through the mental strata which lie between these animals and self consciousness. During that time the child's receptual intelligence becomes more and more perfect, the recepts themselves become more and more complex, nearer and nearer to concepts, until these last are actually formed and self consciousness is established. It would seem that something like a half million of years of evolution must have elapsed between the status of the highest anthropoid apes and that of man. Perhaps this may be a comforting reflection to those people who do nr,+ like +h. hlea, of having descended from some Simian form.

48 Cosmic Consciousness

tution; animal, but in virtue of its relatively high moral nature (making it gregarious) and its highly developed receptual intelligence, king of animals, developed self consciousness, and by that fact became man. It is impossible to say how long ago it was when this event occurred, but it could not have been less than several hundred thousand years. This faculty [self consciousness] is lost much more easily than is simple consciousness. We lose it in coma and also often in the delirium of fever; in certain forms of insanity, as in mania, it is often lost for weeks and months at a time; lastly, it is never present in dreams.

The color sense has been already considered. It remains to say a few words from the present point of view. It comes into existence gradually in the individual-at three or four years there may be a trace of it. At eight years of age it was found by Jeffries [135-242] still absent in a large percentage of children. Twenty to thirty per cent. of schoolboys are said to be color-blind, while only four per cent. of adult males are so. Dr. Favre, of Lyons [135-243] reported in 1874 to the French Congress for the Advancement of Science, at Lille, "some observations that seemed to him to prove that congenital color-blindness was curable" [135242], but it does not seem to have occurred to him that the color sense, being invariably absent in very young children, and making its appearance at a variable age, as the child advances toward maturity, color blindness would necessarily appear to the teacher, watching the development of the child and exercising its sense of sight upon colors, to be "cured." We have seen above that the color sense in the race cannot be many tens of thousands of years old.

Color sense is absent in one human being out of every forty- seven. It is seldom present in dreams, and when it does occur, that is, when any color is seen in a dream, it is generally that color which for good reasons was first perceived by man, namely, red.

The following occurrence illustrates (in a striking manner) the usual absence of the color sense during the partial consciousness which occurs in sleep. A man whose hair is white dreamed that he was looking in a glass and saw plainly that his hair was

On the Plane of Self Consciousness 49

not only much thicker than he knew it to be in fact, but instead of being white, as he also knew it to be, it was black. Now he well remembered in his dream that his hair had never been black. It had, in fact, been a light brown. He wondered (it is worth mentioning here that wonder or surprise is a prehuman faculty, and is common in dreams) in his dream that his hair should be black, remembering distinctly that it had never been so. The important thing to note about the dream under consideration is that, though it was clear to the dreamer's mind that his hair had never been black, yet he did not remember that it had been brown. For some reason there was a difficulty in calling up before consciousness any color. The same man dreamed that he had wounded with a knife an enemy who had attacked him; the bleeding was profuse but the blood was white; he knew in his dream that it should not be white, but no image of its true color or of any color presented itself.

The human moral nature includes many faculties, such as conscience, the abstract sense of right and wrong, sexual love as distinguished from sexual desire or instinct, parental and filial love as distinguished from the corresponding instincts (man has both these instincts in common with the brutes as well as the higher feelings), love of our fellow men as such, love of the beautiful, awe, reverence, sense of duty or responsibility, sympathy, compassion, faith. No human nature is complete without these and others; it is therefore a very complex function; but for the purpose of the present argument it must be treated as if it were a simple sense. Now at what age does this human moral nature appear in individual man? It is never present in quite young children. It is often still absent at puberty and even at adolescence. It is a late acquired faculty. It would probably not be far wrong to say that the average age for its appearance in the individual is somewhere about fifteen years. It would seem clear from a study of history that our human moral nature cannot be more than some ten or twelve thousand years old. For a careful consideration of the records that have come down to us from the early Romans, Hellenes, Hebrews, Egyptians, Assyrians and Babylonians would

111

50 Cosmic Consciousness On the Plane of Self Consciousness 51

indicate unmistakably that as we go back into the past this faculty tapers down toward the vanishing point, and if it continues so to taper as we ascend the ages all of what we distinctively call our human moral nature would certainly have disappeared by the time we had got back the number of centuries mentioned-ten or twelve thousand years.

In what proportion of the men and women of civilized countries does the human moral nature fail to appear f There are so many men and women who have a partial moral nature, so many who, having little or none, wear (as well as may be) the outer semblance of one ; the judging of men and women in this regard is so difficult-the problem is so veiled and so complicated-that it is impossible to give more than an opinion. But let any one who is curious read a few such books as those by Despine [66] and Ellis [76]-then view the men and women among whom he lives by the light thus supplied, and he will be forced to the conclusion that the proportion of the adults who have little or no, or an undeveloped, moral nature is far greater than of those who have little or no, or an undeveloped, color sense. We probably should not be far wrong if we said that at least forty men and women out of every thousand in America and Europe are in the position indicated.

Then how many races of men are there still living upon the earth none or very few of the members of which have what could be called from the point of view of our civilization a human moral nature? Again, while self consciousness is lost, not of course always, but frequently, in insanity and fever, the moral nature is, we must all admit, subject to much more frequent lapses and absences and with far less cause.

Self consciousness appeared in the race, as we have seen, about three hundred thousand years ago. The above considerations would point to a very much later date for the appearance of the moral nature. And do not all records and historic indications, so far as they go, support this inference l

Finally, the musical sense (a faculty which is now in act of being born) does not appear in the individual before adolescence.

52 Cosmic Consciousness Devolution 53

It does not exist in more than half the members of our race. It has existed less (perhaps considerably less) than five thousand years. It is never, or almost never, present in dreams, even in the case of professional musicians. W hile self consciousness in insanity is lost, as said, occasionally, the musical sense in that condition might be said to be invariably lost-at least after an experience of twenty-five years, with about five thousand cases of lunacy, the writer cannot recall a case where the musical sense was retained, the person being insane.

The accompanying summary, in tabular form, of the main facts concerning the evolution of the faculties mentioned and some others, will make, it is believed, the whole subject more intelligible than any long exposition thereof. The figures in the table and text are not given as being exact, but for the sake of conveying a clear idea which it is thought will be correct enough for the present purpose.

To sum up: as ontogeny is nothing else but philogeny in petto -that is, as the evolution of the individual is necessarily the evolution of the race in an abridged form, simply because it cannot in the nature of things be anything else-cannot follow any other lines, there being no other lines for it to follow-it is plain that organs and faculties (speaking broadly and generally) must appear in the individual in the same order in which they appeared in the race, and the one being known, the other may with confidence be assumed.

When a new faculty appears in a race it will be found, in the very beginning, in one individual of that race ; later it will be found in a few individuals; after a further time in a larger percentage of the members of the race ; still later in half the members; and so on, until, after thousands of generations, an individual who misses having the faculty is regarded as a monstrosity. Note, too-and this is important-when the new faculty appears, especially if it be in the direct line of the ascent of the race, as in the case of Simple, Self, or Cosmic, Consciousness, it must appear first in a member, then in members, of the race who have reached full maturity. For an immature individual (other things being equal) cannot over-pass or go beyond a mature individual of the same race.

Thus, as the eons pass, has the great trunk of the tree of life grown taller and from time to time shot forth twigs which have grown to branches, and these again to noble limbs, which in their turn have put out twigs and branches, many of them of great size and in number uncountable. We know that the tree has not ceased to grow, that even now, as always, it is putting forth new buds, and that the old shoots, twigs and branches are most of them increasing in size and strength. Shall the growth stop to-day i It does not seem likely. It seems more likely that other limbs and branches undreamed of to-day shall spring from the tree, and that the main trunk which from mere life grew into sensitive life, simple consciousness and self consciousness shall yet pass into still higher forms of life and consciousness.

CHAPTER 3. Devolution.

As in the evolution of an individual tree some branches flourish while others fail; as in a forest some trees grow tall and stretch out wide branches while others are stunted and die out ; as in the onward and upward progress of any species some individuals are in advance of the main body while others lag behind ; so in the forward march of the collective human mind across the centuries some individual minds are in the van of the great army, while in the rear of the column stagger and fall vast numbers of defective specimens.

p53

In any race the stability of any faculty is in proportion to the age of the faculty in the race. That is, a comparatively new faculty is more subject to lapse, absence, aberration, to what is called disease, and is more liable to be lost, than an older faculty. To many this proposition will seem a truism. If an organ or faculty has been inherited in a race for, say, a million generations, it seems, a priori, certain that it is more likely to be inherited by a

54 Cosmic Consciousness Devolution 55

given individual of that race than is an organ or faculty which originated, say, three generations back. A case in point is what is called genius. Genius consists in the possession of a new faculty or new faculties, or in an increased development of an old faculty or old faculties. This being the case, it seems to Galton [92] necessary to write a good sized volume to prove that it is hereditary. So far was that from being an obvious fact that even yet the heredity of genius is far from being universally accepted. But no one ever wrote a book to prove that either sight, hearing, or self consciousness is hereditary, because every one (even the most ignorant) knows without any argument that they are so. On the point in question Darwin says, speaking of horses: "The want of uniformity in the parts which, at the time, are undergoing selection chiefly depends on the strength of the principle of reversion" [67: 288]. That is, parts or organs which are undergoing change by means of selection are liable to lose what has been gained by reverting to the initial condition. And again he says : "It is a general belief among breeders that characters of all kinds become fixed by long continued inheritance" [67: 289]. In another place he speaks of the "fluctuating and, as far as we can judge, never ending variability of our domestic productions, the plasticity of their whole organization" [67 : 485], and he attributes this instability to the recent changes these have undergone under the influence of the artificial selection to which they have been subjected. And in still another place Darwin speaks of "the extreme variability of our domesticated. animals and cultivated plants."

But it is scarcely necessary to carry this argument further. Any one who is willing to give the matter a thought will admit that the shorter time an organ or faculty has been possessed by a race the more unstable must it be in the race, and, consequently, in the individual ; the more liable will it be to be dropped; the more liablito be defective ; the more liable to vary; the more liable to be or to become imperfect-as we say, diseased. And that, per contra, the longer time an organ or faculty has existed in any race, the more certain it is to be inherited and the more certain it is to assume a definite, typical character-that is, the more certain it is to be normal, the more certain it is to agree with the norm or type of the said organ or faculty. In other words, the less likely it is to be imperfect-what we call defective or diseased. This being allowed, it will readily be granted: 1st, That the race whose evolution is the most rapid will (other things being equal) have the most breakdowns ; and, 2d, That in any given race those functions whose evolution is the most rapid will be the most subject to breakdowns.

If these principles be applied to the domesticated animals (which have, most of them, within the last few hundred generations, been much differentiated by artificial selection), they will explain what has often been looked upon as anomalous-namely, the much greater liability to disease and early death of these as compared with their wild prototypes. For that domestic animals are more liable to disease and premature death than wild, is admitted on all hands The same principle will explain also how it is that the more highly bred an animal is-that is, the more widely it has been differentiated in late generations from a previous type -the more liable will it be to disease and premature death.

Taking now these general rules home to ourselves-to the human race-we find them to mean that those organs and functions which have been the latest acquired will be most often defective, absent, abnormal, diseased. But it is notorious that in civilized man, especially in the Aryan race, the functions which have undergone most change in the last few thousand years are those called mental-that great group of functions (sensuous, intellectual, moral) which depend upon, spring from, the two great nervous systems-the cerebro-spinal and the great sympathetic. This great group of functions has grown, expanded, put forth new shoots and twigs, and is still in the act of producing new faculties, at a rate immeasurably greater than any other part of the human organism. If this is so then within this great congeries of faculties it is inevitable that we should meet with constant lapses, omissions, defects, breakdowns.

Clinical observation teaches day by day that the above reasoning is solidly grounded. It presents lapses of all degrees and in unlimited varieties; lapses in sense function, such as color-blindness and music deafness; lapses in the moral nature, of the whole or a part; in the intellect, of one or several faculties ; or lapses, more or less complete, of the whole intellect, as in imbecility and idiocy. But over and above all these lapses, and as a necessary accompaniment of them, we have that inevitable breaking down of function, once established in the individual, which we call insanity, as distinguished from the various forms and degrees of idiocy.

p56

For it is easy to see that if a function or faculty belonging to any given species is liable for any general cause to be dropped in a certain proportion of the individuals of that species, it must be also liable to become diseased-that is, to break down- in cases where it is not dropped. For if the faculty in question is by no means always developed in the individual-if it quite frequently fails to appear-that must mean that in many other cases in which it does appear it will not be fully and solidly formed. We cannot imagine a jump from the total non-appearance of a given function in certain members of a species to the absolute perfection and solidity of the same function in the rest of the members. We know that species do not grow that way. We know that in a race in which we have some men seven feet high and others only four that we shall find, if we look, men of all statures between these extremes. We know that in all cases extremes presented by the race are bridged (from one to the other) by full sets of intermediary specimens. One man can lift a thousand pounds, another can lift only a hundred; but between these are men the limit of whose strength fills up the whole gap between the hundred and the thousand pounds. One man dies of old age at forty years, another at one hundred and thirty years, and every year and month between forty years and one hundred and thirty years is the limit of some man's possible life. The same law that holds for the limit of faculties holds also for the solidity and permanence of faculties. We know that in some men the intellectual functions are so unstable that as soon as they are established they crumble down-crushed (as it were) by their own weight-like a badly built house, the walls of which are not strong enough to sustain the roof. Such are extreme cases of so-called developmental insanity-cases in which the mind falls into ruins as soon as it comes into existence or even before it is fully formed; cases of insanity of puberty and adolescence, in which nature is barely able to form or half form a normal mind and totally unable to sustain it, the mind, consequently, running down at once back into chaos. The hopelessness of this class of cases (as regards recovery) is well understood by all alienists, and it is not difficult to see why such insanities should and must be practically incurable, since their very existence denotes the absence of the elements necessary to form and maintain a normal human mind in the subjects in question.

In the realm of insanity, properly so called-that is, excluding the idiocies-these cases occupy the extreme position at one end of the scale, while those persons who only become maniacal or melancholic under the most powerful exciting causes, such as child-birth and old age, occupy the other end. That is, we have a class in whom the mind, without a touch, crumbles into ruin as soon as formed or even before it is fully formed. Then we have another class in which the balance of the mental faculties is only overturned by the rudest shocks, and then only temporarily, since the cases to which I refer recover in a few weeks or months if placed under favorable conditions. But between these extremes the whole wide intermediate space is filled with an infinite variety of phases of insanity, exhibiting every possible condition of mental stability and instability between the two extremes noticed. But throughout the whole range of mental alienation this law holds, namely: that the latest evolved of the mental functions, whether intellectual or moral, suffer first and suffer most, while the earliest evolved of the mental and moral functions suffer (if at all) the latest and the least.

p56

If the mind be likened to a growing tree, then it can be said that the lesser onsets of insanity shrivel its leaves-paralyze, or partially paralyze, their functions for a time, the leaves standing for the later formed and more fragile emotions and concepts, and

58 Cosmic Consciousness

especially for the later formed combinations of these ; that deeper attacks kill the leaves and damage the finer twigs ; that still more profound disturbances kill the finer twigs and injure the larger ; and so on, until, in the most profound and deep-rooted insanities, as in the developmental dementias, the tree is left a bare, ghastly trunk, without leaves or twigs and almost without branches.

And in all this process of destruction the older formed faculties, such as perception and memory, desire for food and drink, shrinking from injury, and the more basic sense functions, endure the longest ; while, as has been said, the latest evolved functions crumble down first, then the next latest, and so on.

A fact that well illustrates the contention that insanity is essentially the breaking down of mental faculties which are unstable chiefly because they are recent, and that it rests therefore upon an evolution which is modern and still in progress, is the comparative absence of insanity among negroes.

It has been said that the large percentage of insanity in America and Europe depends directly upon the rapid evolution in late millenniums of the mind of the Aryan people. Very few would claim that the negro mind is advancing at anything like the same rate. As a consequence of these different rates of progression we have in the Aryan people of America a much higher percentage of insanity than is found in the negro race.

p58

When the United States census of 1880 was taken it was found that among forty-three millions of white people there were eighty- six thousand insane-exactly one in five hundred-while among six and three-quarter million negroes only a little more than six thousand were insane, which is a proportion of only about one to eleven hundred. Doubtless if we had statistics of other backward and stationary peoples a similar state of matters would be found- all such facts as we have leading to the conclusion that among savages and semi-savages there exists comparatively little insanity.

In conclusion the results arrived at in this chapter may be summed up as follows :

(1) The stability of a faculty in the individual depends upon its age in the race. The older the faculty the more stable it is, and the less old the less stable.

(2) The race whose evolution is most rapid will be the most sub-ject to breakdown.

(3) Those functions in any given race whose evolutions are the most rapid will be the most subject to breakdown.

(4) In the more progressive families of the Aryan race the men-tal faculties have for some millenniums last past developed with great rapidity.

(5) In this race the large number of mental breakdowns, com-monly called insanity, are due to the rapid and recent evolution of those faculties in that race.

p 59

Devolution 59

11

382 Cosmic Consciousness Last Words 383

infinite variety of senses, and the essentially similar account given by, for example, Paul, Mohammed, Dante, Jesus, Gautama, Whitman and others, has been looked upon as a variety of accounts, not of the same, but of diverse things. And these accounts, all but one, that one under the influence of which the hearer is born, have been supposed to rest solely upon the imagination of the narrator. A critical study of all these (seeming) diverse accounts will show that they are all more or less unsuccessful attempts to describe the same thing; but because it was out of the power of the original reporter, the seer, to give anything like a full and clear account of what he saw, largely because of the inadequacy of the language belonging to the self conscious mind; because his reporters again (as in the cases of Jesus and Gautama, who did not write), possessing only self consciousness, blurred still further the picture; because translators, possessing only self consciousness and understanding very imperfectly what the teacher wished to convey, still further distorted the record; for all these reasons the important fact of the unity of the teachings of these men has been very generally overlooked; hence the confusion and the so-called mystery; a misunderstanding unavoidable, no doubt, under the circumstances, but which will one day, assuredly, be cleared up.

Already many others besides the present writer have noticed the essential unity of the seeming diverse teachings in question- as, for instance, Hartmann [100: 6], who tells us: "I have carefully compared the doctrines of Behmen with those of the Eastern sages as laid down in the 'Secret Doctrine' and in the religious literature of the East, and I find the most remarkable harmony between them in their esoteric meaning ; in fact, the religion of Buddha, Krishna and the Christ seem to me to be one and identical." It is worth nothing that Hartmann's specimen teachers are all cases of Cosmic Consciousness, although of course he knew nothing of that as a specific mental status.

XI.

One word in conclusion. The writer of this book, since it was first conceived some few years ago, has sought diligently for cases of Cosmic Consciousness, and his whole list, so far, including some imperfect and doubtful cases, totals up nearly fifty.

p 383

Several of these are contemporary, minor cases, such as may have occurred in considerable numbers in any of the recent centuries and no records of them remain. He has, however, as more than once stated, found thirteen, all of them so great that they must, almost. inevitably, live. As has been already shown, five of these men lived during the eighteen centuries which elapsed between the birth of Gautama and that of Dante, and the other eight in the six hundred years between the birth of Dante and to-day. This would mean that cases of Cosmic Consciousness are nearly five times as frequent now as they were, say, a thousand years ago. It is not, of course, pretended that they are becoming more frequent in exactly this ratio. There must have occurred a large number of cases in the last twenty-five hundred years all memory of which is lost. No man could say positively how many lived in any given epoch. But it seems tolerably certain that these men are more numerous in the modern than they were in the ancient world, and this fact, taken in connection with the general theory of psychic evolution, fully considered on previous pages, goes far to confirm the conclusion that just as, long ago, self consciousness appeared in the best specimens of our ancestral race in the prime of life, and gradually became more and more universal and appeared in the individual at an earlier and earlier age, until, as we see now, it has become almost universal and appears at the average of about three years-so will Cosmic Consciousness become more and more universal and appear earlier in the individual life until the race at large will possess this faculty. The same race and not the same ; for a Cosmic Conscious race will not be the race which exists to-day, any more than the present race of men is the same race which existed prior to the evolution of self consciousness. The simple truth is, that there has lived on the earth, "appearing at intervals," for thousands of years among ordinary men, the first faint beginnings of another race ; walking the earth and breathing the air with us, but at the same time walking another earth and breathing another air of which we know little or nothing, but which is, all the same, our spiritual life, as its absence would be our spiritual death. This new race is in act of being born from us, and in the near future it will occupy and possess the earth.

p 383

THE END

By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.

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