Are occultism the same as philosophy

Hanns von Gumppenberg
Philosophy and occultism
Hanns von Gumppenberg

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In addition to occultism, so-called spiritism is concerned with a number of the aforementioned phenomena - namely the mediumistic ones - and theosophy as a whole, but both in an essentially different way, under different conditions and for different purposes. Spiritism wants to convince itself of the personal immortality of man and, if that succeeds, to manage and maintain intercourse with the deceased; as soon as he believes deception and self-deception to be excluded (usually by inadequate means), he takes the foreign "intelligences" or "operators" without further ado for the "astral body" (only connected with a fine material but formally similar to its "discarded" human body) ) Personalities of deceased people, yes (without having sufficient evidence for this) for the "ghosts" of the same people who they claim to have been according to their knocking or writing statements; he worships them as the "guardian spirits", "geniuses" or "spiritual leaders" they call themselves, and accordingly gives blind trust to their communications, admonitions and warnings; indeed, his followers are often decisively influenced by them in all practical questions of life . It is therefore nothing more than a religious sect, which through its "meetings" at best achieves or tries to achieve the purpose of religious and moral reinforcement, edification and purification, but mostly engages in a mere cult of voluptuous ghosts, playful curiosity and vanity. A rarer variety of spiritism is demonism; by the striking tendency of most of the manifesting "operators" to deceive or mischief at their heavenly highness and formerly human character, this special sect has taken the originators of the media reports and materializations for the "demons between heaven and earth" of the old church faith, whose remarks, half indignant, half curiously observed, should at least provide her with a confirmation of the hereafter. The adherents of theosophy take a different approach to the matter. Just as the spiritualists and demonists are far from wanting to fathom the secret of the alien "intelligences" with the means of scientific thinking and experimentation, they believe that this knowledge - just like everyone else that man may wish for - only on the way to partake of a non-intellectual inner enlightenment, of an ecstatic intuition, of which intuition they claim that it comes by itself after appropriate ascetic preparation and ethical purification. Like the spiritualists, their enlightened "masters" are also considered to be the originators of the mediumistic phenomena as "spirits" of secluded people with finer physicality, but in contrast to those as the still earth-bound castings and scraps of the otherworldly spirit world, as morally and intellectually deep members of the dreamlike " Zwischenreichs ”, which the deceased enter immediately after death. According to the assertion of the "masters", this "bad society" greedily pushes its way towards the living and tries to gain a physical and emotional share in the gross material existence again through the media: roughly like the Homeric shadows of the underworld by enjoying warm animal blood to be able to revive and talk to people for a while. According to theosophical view, the egoistic inferiority of these departed people corresponds to their actual attitude towards people, who give them the opportunity to re-engage in the gross material sphere; They seek to dominate the gullible with cunning exploitation of their weaknesses, they falsely boast of comprehensive knowledge of the world of spirits and other high qualities, practice slander and malice and seek to tempt their clients from this world to the follies and vices that still cling to them. Theosophy, therefore, just like the church, condemns mediumistic practice as an ethically pernicious aberration which harms true human knowledge more than it promotes, and which is of most disastrous effect from an ethical point of view, in that it is not only the living who deal with it but also hold back those inferior departed people from spiritual and moral higher development. It is not at all discussed here to what extent these claims of the theosophical "masters" correspond to the facts, but merely emphasized that they have just as little scientific character and are just as dependent on belief, on mere belief, as those of the spiritualists and demonists. Even those who have come to such an instructive "seeing" as an "enlightened person" will have to give room to the doubt as to whether their imagination was not just playing a prank if they still had some criticism left.

As soon as a number of scientifically educated persons had convinced themselves in the most careful examination that in addition to cases of conscious fraud by pseudo-media, unconscious fraud by real media, self-deception, exaggeration and untruthfulness of meeting participants, the authenticity of very many phenomena of the alleged kind was beyond question, now came but also a strictly scientific investigation of mediumism, which then at the same time extended to the other occult phenomena, which were difficult or not at all compatible with the principles of natural science. These scientific explorers of the field called themselves occultists, initially in sharp demarcation against the religious sects of the spiritualists and demonists as well as against the subjectively asserted but objectively uncontrollable intuitions of theosophy. They approached the subject without conscious dogmatic presuppositions, even without the materialistic dogma of natural science, since in view of the existing contradictions they had to be prepared for the necessity of a revision of this basic assumption as well. For the rest, however, for the reasons already mentioned, and because philosophy, as a result of the abuses discussed at the beginning, offered them no scientific support or advice, they clung to the method of scientific experiment without realizing that they would be compared with the methods of Natural science also took over its dogmatic presupposition. In this way they gained exact scientific evidence of the existence of fraud-free phenomena of the kind described and all sorts of new insights into the external, gross material conditions of their occurrence, as well as new observations about their sensible peculiarities; Only in answering the decisive main questions, especially the question of the thinking and willing authors of the phenomena, they did not make a step forward and naturally could not do so, because the materialistic, purely objective experiment could only ever provide material, purely objective knowledge, but no information about the subjective side of the phenomena or even about their metaphysical nature: and some things, such as temporal television, remained puzzling in every respect.

Even with simple logical considerations, the impossibility of being able to determine the originator of a mediumistic phenomenon according to the empirical method (in the majority of cases where conscious and unconscious deception, suggestion and hallucinations are excluded) becomes clear. Let us assume the most ideal case imaginable. In a "materialization session" an appearance occurs which, down to the smallest, easily overlooked and known only to family members, resembles the human appearance of a deceased whose widow, mother, brothers and children attend the session and that agreement with honest, clear and make a prudent judgment. A number of photographs of the deceased from his last lifetime, which are ready for comparison, confirm this judgment. The apparition is weighed on a balance standing ready, convince all those present by a welcoming handshake, by hugging and kissing each family member of their physicality, and the manner of their behavior towards each individual corresponds entirely to the characteristic peculiarities and habits of the deceased. The apparition also takes the floor and speaks to the bereaved in a voice exactly like that of the mourned person, and in an expression that is also completely identical to his own: and discuss details of each family member and several friends who are present which no third party verifiably knew and knows. The material objectivity of their speeches and their physical movements are also demonstrated by the devices that have been set up. Any kind of deception by living people was excluded by appropriate control devices (wires connected to electric bells and the like) as well as by the fact that the medium and all other meeting participants were meticulously visited by impeccable and expert confidants immediately before entering the meeting room (including the oral cavity, the Armpit, hair, etc.) that the meeting room, which was also examined by reliable referees immediately beforehand and entered by the medium for the first time, contains no other equipment than the necessary seats and control apparatus and has no other entrance than the one access door behind the last participant locked himself, whereupon he connected the doorknob to a control bell to make matters worse; Finally, every suspicion of fraud is dispelled by the fact that flash photos on photographic plates that have evidently never been exposed before show the figure next to the medium and all other people present, and that after a while the figure becomes perfect before the eyes of the meeting participants as well as after the objective testimony Flash photography dissolves into empty air.

In the face of the force of this evidence, even the most stubborn skeptics would certainly capitulate and admit that they were now convinced of the personal continued existence of the deceased in question. Nevertheless, they would be the victims of fallacies. Under the preconditions listed, conscious and unconscious fraud as well as hallucination or suggestion are completely excluded and the appearance of a physical, mobile, speaking and in all respects quite similar to the deceased figure next to the medium and the other meeting participants is clearly demonstrated. But does this also prove that this figure is or was identical with the deceased? That the body of the figure, despite all similarities, or rather: precisely because of these similarities, could not be identical with the physicality of the person concerned in his last lifetime, is clear and would probably not be disputed even by the most extreme believers in the resurrection; that other corporeality was at the same time verifiably lying in the grave, and indeed in a completely different state than what one saw, felt and heard: yes, in the case of cremation it consisted, at the same time, only in a heap of ashes. Obviously, one has only seen a replica, a plastic copy of that physicality in a life-like function. If, however, the physical identity of the appearance with the person of the deceased is excluded, then only the mental and spiritual ego remains for a possible proof of identity, which - at least for the family members - is just as convincing, even if only through the sensory mediation. Believing spiritualists would certainly say: the deceased has evidently condensed his "astral body", which is a kind of "copy" of his former human body, to the point of his own by means of the mysterious fine matter he took from the body of the medium to be able to show. But is it really that "evident"? Could not other individual forces of will and action, whose nature and capabilities we do not know, have produced the miraculous "copy" and placed it in a life-like function corresponding to the deceased? The fact that the believers, even when they realized that it could only be a copy or reconstruction of the living body of yesteryear, readily ascribe this to the ego of the deceased follows only from their habit, the physical appearance of a living person to think inextricably linked with the associated soul-spiritual ego: a relationship that applies to the living, but not to the dead. “But the exactly matching peculiarities not only of behavior and mode of expression, but also of the purely psychic personality! and on top of that the knowledge of the secrets! «the believers desperately try to defend themselves once more. Well, aren't there unlimited possibilities, given the natural narrowness of what we can "experience"? "Secrets" that would be the exclusive possession of two people (that is, their "upper consciousness") cannot exist in the strictest sense for the judgment of pensive people, because it concerns the image of every single event that once took place in some form Now, about "external" or "internal", physical, emotional or spiritual self-determination, must be preserved a thousandfold as an effect, impression or reflex (even if not humanly perceptible), and it is, so to speak, merely a "technical" question, it is only the coming into force It is left to suitable natural or artificial tools whether, when and by whom such an image can be recreated or used. On the basis of our real, even our possible experience, it could be asserted that there cannot possibly be individual forces that never lived and worked in human form, but that do exist in the memories of those bereaved or in other impressions and after-effects left by the past are able to read and were able to make the functions of the physical copy just as deceptively as they formed this copy themselves according to all existing reflections and memory images, true to life? Even more: can we deny such abilities and achievements to our own human "subconscious" based on empirical science, i.e. the "subconscious" of the "medium", which clairvoyantly and thought-reading takes all the necessary knowledge from the photos received and from the memories of those present could? The miracles of clairvoyance and mind reading are familiar to every experienced occultist! Or could not just as well - in a mediocre use of the fine matter of the medium, but instead in very direct exploitation of one's own "subconscious" impressions and clairvoyant or thought-reading memories and impressions of other relatives and friends - the subconscious ego of a survivor of the creators and movers of the plastic To be the image and the revelator of the "secrets"?

One can see: everywhere the empirical scientific procedure fails miserably in spite of all the exactly logical processing of what is given in the sense of empirical science. Obviously, our judgments and inferences in order to unambiguously explain such phenomena require different - or at least different - requirements than those of scientific research; A fundamentally different conception of the empirical material obtained through more general and deeper insight appears necessary, which does not leave a wide variety of equivalent possibilities open, but instead directs observation in a certain direction from the outset and provides the judgment with useful means of differentiation and evaluation. Only the "authenticity" of the mediumistic phenomena of materialization, free from deception and self-deception, is able to determine unequivocally an occultism pursued purely in the sense of natural science, but not their respective personal originators and their position in world events. And exactly the same applies to the occult research of the outwardly simpler phenomena of mediumism and those no less puzzling, apparently non-mediumistic phenomena, the cause of which one could seek from the outset in as yet unknown abilities of living people, i.e. those phenomena that are considered "animistic" ( that is: caused by the "soul" of the living) from the "spiritualistic": so in particular spatial and temporal clairvoyance, psychometry, telepathy and some physical miracles of individual people (mostly in a state of some artificially produced ecstasy), in which no foreign personality expressly manifests itself (as in the case of mediumistic appearances) and suggestion (possibly mass suggestion) as well as ordinary fraud can be completely excluded.Here the scientific achievements of the last decades, namely the new discoveries in physics and chemistry, seemed to promise valuable information, such as the magical X-rays and the even more wonderful achievements of radium, the invention of wireless telegraphy and others. Even these hopes of the occultists were disappointed. It could not be demonstrated that material barriers in occult phenomena were overcome by one of the newly discovered forces, processes and possibilities; one could only draw vague conclusions by analogy; the riddle of psychometric phenomena remained untouched by all of this, and not the slightest clue was gained for the explanation of temporal television. Incidentally, the idea that these new scientific discoveries only related to inorganic matter, but not to the materiality and the forces of living beings, as they come into question in occult phenomena, should have held back from false hopes.

In its struggle for clear and unambiguous results, occult research can only receive effective support from one side: from philosophical thinking in the strict sense that was characterized at the beginning of our considerations. His elementary statements show the phenomena in question in a very specific light and thus indicate the direction in which detailed observations have a chance of success. Even those occultists who, despite all counter-reasons, place more trust in physicality than in the necessities of thinking (which they then unconsciously have to respect again in their judgments and conclusions!) And in spite of all disappointments from scientifically guided experimentation alone hope for the decisive conclusions, become the purely logical knowledge at least allow them to count as hypotheses on which practical investigations may be based as long as what they have observed can be explained by them without exception.

If, in the following, an overview of the elementary is to be offered, which results from the purely thinking investigation of the entire world of experience and which combines to form a certain metaphysical and metapsychic worldview, it must first be emphasized that, for reasons of space, only a short sketch is of course possible here ; but even this should already suffice to show the usability of the pure results of thought for the explanation of occult phenomena. A reader who is well versed in the history of philosophy will find much that is known in detail, for which he is already prepared by what has been said earlier; he will soon be reminded of the Eleaten, now of Spinoza, now of Berkeley, now of Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and many others. At the same time, however, he will also recognize most clearly the fundamental errors which divided the speculations of the thinkers into different directions and to very different results. These errors were particularly serious if they believed the universal substance to be found in a conceptual content that logically demonstrably signifies only a part of the world of experience, regardless of whether it is the objective or the subjective sphere. For example, if Hobbes only took the material as existing and Herbart gave the objective priority over the subjective, or if, on the other hand, Hegel saw the universal substance only in the intellect, Schopenhauer only in the "will".


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