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The Glenn Negley Collection
of Utopian Literature

Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive
in 2010 with funding from
Duke University Libraries



The One Hundred and Forty-firtt
0/ the Minor Planets, situated
hetwcen Mars and Jupiter, which
was discovered at the Paris Obser-
vatory by M. Paul Henry, on the
isth of January is'S, received the
name of LVMEN in honour of
the Author of this Work.




A. A. M. AND R. M.

With portions of the last chapter written specially
for the English Edition



Copyright, 1897,
By Dodd, Mead and Company.

Fytj-two thousand copies of the French original
of this volume have been sold

SSniiirrsttg ^itss:
John "Wilson and Son, Cambridge, U.S.A.

F&dl L





Death— The soul— The hour of death— Separa-
tion of the soul — Sight of the soul in Heaven —
The Solar System in the heavens— The Earth
as seen from the heavens— The star Capella—
Velocity of light— The terrestrial planet seen
from afar — The worlds seen from afar — Lumen
— Lumen sees again his own life.



Journey on a ray of light— Events retraced —
Re-ascending the Ages— Psychical optics— Light
and sound — Man organised from the planet —
The soul and destiny.



The sphere of human observation — Time and
space — Events in space — Time, space, and







Space and light — The star Gamma in Virgo —
The system of Gamma in Virgo — Former exist-
ence — ^The plurality of existences — The unknown
— The constellations — The elements — Life on the
earth — The process of alimentation — Nutritive
atmospheres — Poetry on the Earth — A humanity
— The organisation of beings — The development
of life — The genealogical tree of life — The men-
plants — Souls and atoms — Other senses — ^Atoms
and monads.



A world in Orion — Analysis of the nervous
system — The Commune — Animated molecules —
Various forms of life — Infinite diversity on Sinus
— Phosphorescent passions — Lives too long — In-
finite diversity — The magnifying power of time
— A chrono-telescope — Light.




QuiERENS. You promised, dear Lumen^ to de-
scribe to me that supremest of moments which
immediately succeeds death, and to relate to
me how, by a natural law, singular though it
may seem, you lived again your past life, and
penetrated a hitherto-unrevealed mystery.

Lumen. Yes, my old friend, I will now keep
my word ; and I trust that, thanks to the life-
long communion of our souls, you will be able
to understand the phenomenon you deem so

There are many conceptions which a mortal Life and

mind finds difficult to grasp. Death, which

has delivered me from the weak and easily-
tired senses of the body, has not yet touched
you with its liberating hand ; you still belong
to the living world, and in spite of your isola-
tion in this retreat of yours amid the royal
1 A


towers of the Faubourg St. Jaques, you still
belong to the life of Earth, and are occupied
with its petty distinctions. You must not,
therefore, be surprised if, whilst I am explain-
ing to you this mystery, I beg of you to isolate
yourself still further from outer things, and
to give me the most Jixed attention of which
your mind is capable.

QujERens. My one desire is to listen to your
revelations ; speak, therefore, without fear
and to the point, and deign to acquaint me
with those impressions, as yet to me unknown,
which are experienced upon the cessation of

Lumen. From what point do you wish me to
begin my recital .''

Qu^RENs. If you can recall it, I shall be
pleased if you will begin at the moment when
ray trembling hands closed your eyes.
Death. Lumen. The separation of the thinking

principle from the nervous system leaves no
remembrance. It is as though the impres-
sions made upon the brain which constitute
memory were entirely effaced, to be renewed
afterwards in another form. The first sensation
of identity felt after death resembles that
which is felt during life on awakening in the
morning, when still confused with the visions


of the night, the mind, wavering between the
past and the future, endeavours to recover itself,
and at the same time to retain the vanishing
dreams, the pictures and events of which are
still passing before it. At times Avhen thus
absorbed in the recollection of a delightful
dream, the eyehds close, and in a half slumber
the visions reappear. It is thus that our
thinking faculty is divided at death, between
a reality that it does not yet comprehend and
a dream which has completely disapjieared.
The most conflicting impressions mingle in
and confuse the mind, and if, overwhelmed
by perishable feelings, a regret comes into
the mind for the world that has been left
behind, a sense of indefinable sadness weighs
upon and darkens the imagination and hinders
clearness of vision.

Qu^REXs. Did you feel these sensations im-
mediately after death ?

Lumen. After death ? There is no such So such
thing as death. What you call death— the deS.^
separation of the body from the soul — is not,
strictly speaking, effected in a material form
like the chemical separation of a combination
of elements such as one sees in the world of
matter. One is no more conscious of this
final separation, which seems to you so cruel,


than the new-born babe is aware of his birth.
We are born into the heavenly life as un-
consciously as we were born into the earthly ;
only the soul, no longer enveloped by its
bodily covering, acquires more rapidly the
consciousness of its individuality and of its
powers. This faculty of perception varies
essentially between one soul and another.
There are those who, during their earthly
life, never lift their souls toward heaven,
and never feel a desire to penetrate the laws
of creation ; these, being still dominated by
fleshly appetites, remain long in a troubled and
semi-conscious state. There are others whose
aspirations have happily flown upwards towards
the eternal heights ; to these the moment of
separation comes with calmness and peace.
They know that progress is the law of being,
Not death, and that the life to come will be better than
that which they have quitted. They follow,
step by step, that lethargy which reaches at
last to the heart, and when, slowly and insen-
sibly, the last pulsation ceases, the departed are
already above the body whose falling asleep
they have been watching. Freeing them-
selves from the magnetic bonds, they feel
themselves swiftly borne, by an unknown
force, toward the point of creation, to which

but change.


their sentiments, their aspirations, and their
hopes have drawn them.

Qu^RENs. The conversation into which I
have drawn you, my dear master, recalls to
my memory the dialogues of Plato on the im-
mortality of the soul ; and as Phaedrus asked his
master, Socrates, on the day he had to drink
the hemlock in obedience to the iniquitous
sentence of the Athenians, I ask you — you who
have passed the dread boundary — what is the
essential difference which distinguishes the
soul from the body, since the latter dies, whilst
the former cannot die ?

Lumen. I shall not imitate Socrates by giv-
ing a metaphysical answer to this question,
nor shall I, with the theologians, reply in a
dogmatic way ; but I will give you instead a
scientific answer, for you, like myself, accept Life viewed
only as of real value the results of positive caiiy.

We find in the human being three principles,
different, and yet in complete imion : 1. The body ;
2. The vital energy ; 3. The soul. I name
them thus in order that I may follow the a
posteriori method. The body is an association
of molecules which are themselves formed of
groups of atoms. The atoms are inert, passive,
immutable, and indestructible. They enter


into the organism by means of respiration and
alimentation ; they renew the tissues inces-
santly^ and are continually replaced by others,
and when cast out from the body go to form
other bodies. In a few months the human
Renewal of body is entirely renewed, and neither in the

the body.

blood, nor in the flesh, nor in the brain, nor in

the bones, does an atom remain of those which

constituted the body a few months before.

Atoms and The atoms travel without ceasing from body to


body, chiefly by the grand medium of the

atmosphere. The molecule of iron is the same

whether it be incorporated in the blood which

throbs in the temples of an illustrious man, or

form part of a fragment of rusty iron ; the

molecule of oxygen is the same in the blush

raised by a loving glance, or when in union

with hydrogen it forms the flame of one of the

thousand jets of gas that illuminate Paris by

night, or when it falls from the clouds in the

shape of a di-op of water. The bodies of the

living are formed of the ashes of the dead, and

if all the dead were to be resuscitated, the last

comers might find the material for their bodies

wanting, owing to their predecessors having

appropriated all that was available. Moreover,

during life many exchanges are made between

enemies and friends, between men, animals,


and plants, which amaze the analyst who looks
at them with the eyes of science. That which
you breathe, eat, and drink, has been breathed,
drunk, and eaten millions of times before.
Such is the human body, an assemblage of
molecules of matter which are constantly
being renewed. The principle by which these
molecules are grouped according to a certain
form so as to produce an organism, is the vital
energy of life. The inert, passive atoms, in-
capable of guiding themselves, are r«aled by
vital force, which calls them, makes them
come, takes hold of them, places and disposes
of them according to certain laws, and forms
this marvellously-organised body, which the
anatomist and the physiologist contemplate
with wonder.

The atoms are indestructible ; vital force is Atoms inde

. . -I •ill' .1 structible.

not : atoms have no age ; vital force is born,
grows old, and dies. Why is an octogenarian
older than a youth of twenty, since the atoms
of which his body is composed have only
belonged to his frame a few months, and
since atoms are neither old nor young ? The
constituent elements of his body when analysed
have no age, and what is old in him is solely
his vital energy, which is but one of the forms
of the general energy of the universe, and


Vital energy which in his case has become exhausted. Life
nature and is transmitted by generation, and sustains the
™*°* body instinctively, and, as it were, uncon-

sciously. It has a beginning and an end. It is
an unconscious phj'sical force, which organises
and maintains the body of which it is the pre-
serving element. The soul is an intellectual,
thinking, immaterial being. The world of
ideas in which the soul lives is not the world
of matter. It has no age, it does not grow old.
It is not changed in a few months like the
body : for after months, years, dozens of years,
we feel that we have preserved our identity —
that our ego, ourself, is always ours. On the
other hand, if the soul did not exist, and if the
faculty of thinking were only a function of the
brain, we should no longer be able to say that
we have a body, for it would be our body, our
brain, that would have us. Besides, from time
to time our consciousness would change ; we
should no longer have a feeling of identity,
and we should no longer be responsible for the
resolutions, secreted by the molecules, which
had passed through the brain many months
vital force before. The soul is not the vital force ; for
that is limited and is transmitted by genera-
tion, has no consciousness of itself, is born,

grows up, declines, and dies. All these states

has limits.


are opposed to those of the soul, which
is immaterial, unlimited, not transmissible,

The development of the vital force may be
represented geometrically by a spindle, which
swells out gi'adually to the middle, and de-
creases again to a point. When the soul
reaches the middle of life, it does not become
less, like a spindle, and dwindle down to the
end, but follows its parabolic curve into the
infinite. Moreover, the mode of existence of
the soul is essentially different from that of the
vital force. It hves in a spiritual way. The
conceptions of the soul, such as the sentiments Thesoulhas
of justice or injustice, of truth or falsehood, of
good and evil, as well as knowledge, mathe-
matics, analysis, synthesis, contemplation, ad-
miration, love, affection or hatred, esteem or
contempt — in a word, the occupations of the
soul, whatever they may be, are of an intellectual
and moral order, which neither the atoms nor
the physical forces can apprehend, and which
have as real an existence as the physical order
of things. The chemical or mechanical work
of cerebral cells, however subtle they may be,
can never produce an intellectual judgment,
such, for instance, as the knowledge of the
fact that four multiplied by four is equal to


sixteen^ or that the three angles of a triangle
are equal to two right angles.

These three elements of the human being
are reproduced in the universe at large : 1 .
The atoms, the material world inert, passive ;
2. The physical forces which regulate the
world, and which are continually transformed
into one another or into others ; 3. God, the
eternal and infinite spirit, the intellectual orga-
niser of the mathematical laws which these
forces obey, the unknown being in whom
reside the supreme principles of truth, of
beauty, of goodness. The soul can be attached
to the body only by means of the vital force.
When life is extinct the soul naturally sepa-
rates from the organism and ceases to have
any immediate connection with time and space.
The soul After death the soul remains in that part of
body. the universe where the Earth happens to be at

the moment of its separation from the body.
You know that the Earth is a planet in the
heavens like Venus and Jupiter. The Earth
continues to run in its orbit at the rate of
12,700 kilometres an hour, so that the soul an
hour after death is at that distance from its
body because of its immobility in space, when
no longer subject to the laws of matter. Thus

we are in the heavens immediately after death,


where, however, we have also been during the
whole of our lives ; but we then had weight
which held us to the Earth. I must add, how-
ever, that as a rule the soul takes some time
to disengage itself from the nervous organism,
and that it occasionally remains many days,
and even many months, magnetically connected
with the old body, which it is reluctant to
forsake. Moreover, it has special faculties by
means of which it can transport itself from one
point of space to another.

Qu^RENs. Now for the first time I am able
to understand death as a natural process, and
to comprehend the individual existence of the
soul, its independence of the body and of life,
its personality, its survival, and its obvious posi-
tion in the universe. This synthetic theory
has prepared me, I hope, to understand and
appreciate your revelation. But you said that
a singular event struck you on your entrance
into the eternal life ; at what moment did that
take place }

Lumen. Well, my dear friend, let me go on The hour of

with my story. Midnight had just struck, you

will remember, on the sonorous bell of my old

timepiece, and the full Moon shed its pale light

on my dying bed, when my daughter, my

grandson, and other friends withdrew to take


some rest. You wished to remain witn me,
and you promised my daughter not to leave
me till the morning. I would thank you for
your warm and tender devotion if we were not
so truly brothers. We had been alone about
half-an-hour, for the star of night was declin-
ing, when I took your hand and told you that
life had already abandoned my extremities.
You assured me that it was not so ; but I was
calmly observing my physiological state, and I
knew that in a few moments I should cease to
breathe. You moved gently towards the room
where my children were sleeping, but concen-
trating my powers by an extreme effort I stopped
you. Returning with tears in your eyes, you
said to me, " You are right ; you have given
them your last wishes, and to-morrow morning
will be time enough to send for them." There
was in these words a contradiction that I felt
without expressing it to you. Do you remember
that then I asked you to open the window. It
was a beautiful night in October; more beautiful
than those of the Scottish bards sung by Ossian.
Not far from the horizon, just level with my
eyes, I could distinguish the Pleiades, veiled
by mist, whilst Castor and Pollux floated
triumphantly a little higher up. Above, form-
ing a triangle with them, shone the beautiful


star with rays of gold, which, on maps of the

zodiac, is marked " Capella." You see how

clearly I remember it all. When you had opened

the window the perfume of the roses, sleeping

under the wings of night, ascended upwards to

me and mingled with the silent rays of the stars. Lastim-

I cannot express to you how sweet were these the parting

last impressions that I received from the Earth ; ^'^"^'

language fails me to describe what I felt. In

the hours of my sweetest happiness, of my

tenderest love, I never felt such an intensity of

joy, so glorious a serenity, such real bliss, as I

experienced then in the ecstatic enjoyment of

the perfumed breath of the flowers and the

tender gleam of the distant stars. . . . When Separation

of the soul.
you bent over me I seemed to return to the

outer world, and with my hands clasped over

my breast, my sight and my thoughts, united

in prayer, together took flight into space.

Before my ears closed for ever I heard the last

words as they fell from my lips : " Adieu ! my

old friend, I feel that death is bearing me away

to those unknown regions where I trust we shall

one day meet. When the dawn effaces these

stars, only my mortal body will be here. Repeat

then to my daughter my last wish : to bring up

her childx'en in the contemplation of the eternal

goodness." And whilst you wept, as you knelt


by my bed, I added, " Recite the beautiful
prayer of Jesus," and you began with trembling
voice, " Our Father, , . . Forgive us . . . our
trespasses, . . . as we . . . forgive those . . .
that . . . trespass . . . against us. ..."
These were the last thoughts that passed
through my soul by means of the senses ; my
sight grew dim as I looked at the star Capella,
and immediately I became unconscious.
Time does Years, days, and houi's are constituted by
outside the the movements of the Earth. In space, outside
Earth. these movements time does not exist; indeed,
it is impossible to have any notion of time. I
think, however, that the event I am now going
to describe to you occurred on the very day of
my death, for, as you will see presently, my
body was not yet buried when this vision ap-
peared to my soul.

As I was born in 1793, I was then, in 1864,
in my seventy-second year, so I was not a little
surprised to find myself animated b}'^ a vivacity
of mind as ardent as in the prime of my life.
I had no body, and yet I was not incorporeal ;
I felt and saw that I was constituted of a sub-
stance which, however, bore no analogy to the
material form of terrestrial bodies. I know
not how I traversed the celestial spaces, but by

some unknown force I soon found that I was


approaching a magnificent golden sun^ the
splendour of which did not, however, dazzle
me. I perceived that it was surrounded by a
number of worlds, each enveloped in one or
naore rings. By the same unconscious force
I was driven towards one of these rings, and
was a spectator of the marvellous phenomena
of light, for the starry spaces were crossed
everywhere by rainbow bridges. I lost sight
of the golden sun, and I found myself in a
sort of night coloured with hues of a thousand
shades. The sight of my soul far exceeded
that of my body, and, to my surprise, this
power of sight appeared to be subject to my
Avill. The sight of the soul is so marvellous Sight of the
that I must not stop to-day to describe it. Lavens. ^
Suffice it to say that instead of seeing the stars
in the heavens as you see them on the Earth, I
could distinguish clearly the worlds revolving
round each other ; and strange to say, when I
desired to examine more closely these worlds,
and to avoid the brilliance of the central sun,
it disappeared from my sight, and left me
under the most favourable conditions for ob-
serving any one of them I wished.^ Further,

' Physiological anatomy would probably explain this
fact by suggesting that a sort of punctum ececum is dis-
placed in order to conceal the object that one does
not wish to see.



when my attention was concentrated on one
particular world, I could distinguish its con-
tinents and its seas, its clouds and its rivers,
although they did not appear to become larger,
as objects seen through a telescope do. I saw
any special thing that I fixed my sight upon,
such as a town or a tract of country, with
perfect clearness and distinctness.
The Boui When I reached this ringed world I found

clothed In a

new body, myseli clothed in a form like that of its
inhabitants. It appeared that my soul had
attracted to itself the constituent atoms of a
new body. Living bodies on the Earth are
composed of molecules which do not touch
one another, and which are constantly re-
newed by respiration, by nutrition, and by
assimilation. The envelope of the soul is
formed more quickly in that far-off world.
I felt myself more alive than the supernatural
beings whose passions and sorrows Dante cele-
brates. One of the special faculties of this
new world is that of seeing very far.

Qu^RENS. But pardon a rather simple re-
mark. Is it not likely that the worlds or
planets that revolve round each star must
mingle in a distant view with their central
sun ; for instance, when you see our Sun from

afar with the planets of his system, is it pos-


sible for you to distinguish our Earth amongst
them ?

Lumen. You have raised the single geo-
metrical objection which seems to contradict
all previous experience. In point of fact, at
a certain distance the planets are absorbed in
their suns, and our terrestrial eyes would have
difficulty in distinguishing them. You know
that from Saturn the Earth is invisible. But
you must remember that this discrepancy arises The soul s
as much from the imperfection of our sight as ^ToT °
from the geometrical law of the decrease of
surfaces. Now, in the world on which I had
just landed, the inhabitants are not incarnated
in a gross form, as we are here below, but
are free beings, and endowed with eminently
powerful faculties of perception. They can,
as I have told you, isolate the source of light
from the object lighted, and, moreover, they
can perceive distinctly details which at that
distance would be absolutely hidden from the
eyes of those dwelling upon this Earth.

Qu^RENS. Do they make use, then, of in-
struments superior to our telescopes }

Lumen. Well, if, in order to realise this mar-
vellous faculty, you find it easier to suppose
that they possess such instruments, you may do
so, in theory. Imagine a telescope which, by
17 B


a succession of lenses and an arrangement of
diaphragms^ brings near in succession these
distant worlds, and isolates each one in the
field of view in order to study it separately. I
should also inform you that these beings are
endowed with a special sense by which they

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