The Spiritual Delusion/1.3.3
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3. In its effect on physical health by developing abnormal faculties.
That the healthful know not of their health, but only the sick, we have seen to hold true in a far wider sense than its physical one. Health is a state of unconscious activity of all normal faculties. All faculties are normal or abnormal according to the use made of them. Webster defines abnormal as “irregular, contrary to rule,” and hence any faculty used irregularly, and not according to the established methods of nature, is abnormal and unnatural.
The mental and physical are too intimately correlated for one not to be affected by whatever tends to weaken the other. Anything which tends to sap or destroy the natural activity of the organs through which man holds converse with objective nature tends to lower the standard of health, for the abnormal use of any faculty being “irregular” must so far weaken it for normal service. To attain physical manhood, we must ourselves have control of the reins, and not be held or swayed from without.
“Man is an intelligence served by organs,” and these organs may have a stinted or an excessive development; but in either case they should remain our own. If we grant the assumption of the spiritist, that even now
- “The unseen
- Shore faint, resounds, and all the mystic air
- Breathes forth the names of parent, brother, wife,”
and that we may become media for their use in conversing with those remaining on the shores of time, we should still regard the method adopted as one detrimental to physical perfection, and unnatural.
Our organs of speech will but give what there is in us to say, whether wise or otherwise. If we have the thought, an inspiring idea, it will soon enough clothe itself in articulate words and go on its way, doing its mission wheresoever it may find lodgment. Ideas are never isolated. “One-idea men” are illusive monstrosities, existing nowhere in nature, for ideas are creative; they are active, agitating, fruitful, filling the mind with light and eventuating in healthful action.
If the thought be not there, but only a barren waste, destitute alike of beautiful verdure and refreshing springs ever overwelling, and “passively” content with reflecting the rays falling upon it, instead of absorbing and outworking them, the natural end and purpose of existence is wanting, and action of a manly sort can never ensue. Man is not a machine whose motive power may be estimated in terms of beef or grain; he is more than the sum of his senses, and must be master of his faculties to even develop physical manhood. The child that is always waited upon, whose every wish is gratified, that finds no occasion for inquiry or thought, remains a child; he never reaches manhood, whatever may be his longitudinal standard. If we are to become mere auxiliaries to tin trumpets for the transmission of the wisdom of the “spheres,” there must be an arrest of normal growth, and manhood lies not in us, but far removed from us.
Nature, with all her reticence as regards herself, is prodigal in her gifts, and has bountifully supplied us with faculties for perceiving truth and beauty, if we would but use them, and methods for giving expression to them infinitely better than we can find through any other channel never adapted to the purpose; methods far more inspiring than “passive receptivity” to every Tom, Joe, or Harry that may desire to give vent to spherical idiocies or sentimental drivelings.
If we could thus be used by entirely unknown persons, subject to questionable—ay, often unquestionable—“influxes,” and our divine faculty of speech be made a trumpet of uncertain tone, or prostituted to base influences, if the very possibility of such a degradation lay before us, we should sacredly guard ourselves from the remotest danger of such utter prostitution. Only in the healthful, natural use of our powers are we warranted by nature, and only by such use are we benefited and blessed.