Thomas E. Willson.

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overwhelming value to mankind was in showing that work on the
theory of evolution was correct work and that the theory was
true. When the intuition of man points out the way the reason of
man can follow the path and macadam the road. It usually does
and claims all the credit for itself as the original discoverer.

This knowledge through intuition is absolute and exact. It is
not relatively true. It is absolutely and invariably true. No
additional facts will ever modify it, or require a restatement.

When Sir William Hamilton based his Logic on the dictum that "All
knowledge is relative, and only relatively true," the proposition
was self-evidently false. It was in itself a statement of
absolute knowledge about a certain thing. It was in itself
knowledge that was not relative. All knowledge could not be
relative if this knowledge was not. This knowledge could not
be either absolute or relative without upsetting his whole
proposition, for, if relative, then it was not always true;
and if absolute, then it was never true.

Sir William did not know the distinction between the two kinds of
knowledge, and what he meant to say was that "All knowledge
obtained by observation and experience is relative, and only
relatively true."

His knowledge of this relativity was not obtained by observation
or from reason. It could not possibly have been obtained in that
way. It came from intuition, and it was absolute and exact. A
man may have absolute and exact knowledge and yet not be able to
put it into words that exactly express it to another. Hamilton
had this knowledge. But it was not clearly formulated even in
his own mind. He had two separate and distinct meanings for the
word "knowledge," without being conscious of it.

We have yet to coin a proper word to express what comes to us
through intuition. The old English word "wisdom" originally did.
The old verb "wis" was meant what a man knew without being told
it, as "ken" meant knowledge by experience. Try and prove by
reason that a straight line is the shortest distance between two
points, or that a part can never be greater than the whole, and
your reason has an impossible task. "You must take them for
axioms," it says. You must take them because you wis them, not
because you know (ken) them.

Intuitional knowledge must not be confounded with the relative
knowledge that flows through the reason: that "If the sum of two
numbers is one and their difference is five," the numbers are
minus two and plus three.

The point cannot be too strongly enforced that there is a
distinction between the sources of what we know, and that while
all we know through our sensations is only relatively true, that
which we know from intuition is invariably and absolutely true.
This is seen through a glass darkly, in theology, where intuition
is called inspiration and not differentiated from reason.

The false notion that we can only learn by observation and
experience, that the concept can never transcend the observation,
that we can only know what we can prove to our senses, has
wrought incalculable injury to progress in philosophy.

Because our sensual knowledge of matter begins and ends with
vibration in one octave it does not follow that this ends our
knowledge of it. We may have intuitional knowledge, and this
intuitional knowledge is as susceptible to reason as if we had
obtained it by observation.

The knowledge that comes through intuition tells us of matter
vibrating in another great octave just beyond our own, which
Science has chosen to name the etheric octave, or plane. The
instant our intuition reveals the cause of phenomena our reason
drops in and tells us it is the chording vibration of the matter
of the two planes - the physical and etheric - that produces all
physical phenomena. It goes further and explains its variations.

This knowledge of another octave or plane of matter comes from
the logical relations of matter and its physical phenomena; but
there was nothing in the observation or experience of mankind
that would have led us to infer from reason an etheric plane of
matter. It was "revealed" truth. But the flash of revelation
having once made the path apparent, the light of reason carries
us through all the winding ways. Our knowledge of the ether is
not guess-work or fancy, any more than our geometry is, because
it is based on axioms our reason cannot prove. In both cases the
basic axioms are obtained from intuition; the structural work
from reason. Our knowledge of the ether may be as absolute and
exact as our knowledge of prakriti, working on physical as we
work on geometrical axioms.

The recognition of the two sources of knowledge, the work of the
spirit within us and of the mind within us, is absolutely
necessary to correctly comprehend the true significance of the
results of modern science and to accept the ancient.

Chapter Three

Matter and Ether

It is not worthwhile translating Homer into English unless the
readers of the translation understand English.

It is not worthwhile attempting to translate the occult Eastern
physics into the language of our Western and modern physics,
unless those who are to read the translation understand generally
and broadly what our own modern physics teach. It is not
necessary that they should know all branches of our modern
physics in all their minute ramifications; but it is necessary
that they should understand clearly the fundamental principles
upon which our scientific and technical knowledge of today rests.

These fundamental principles have been discovered and applied in
the past fifty years - in the memory of the living. They have
revolutionized science in all its departments. Our textbooks on
Chemistry, Light, Heat, Electricity and Sound have had to be
entirely re-written; and in many other departments, notably in
medicine and psychology, they have yet to be re-written. Our
textbooks are in a transition state, each new one going a step
farther, to make the change gradual from the old forms of belief
to the new, so that even Tyndall's textbook on "Sound" is now so
antedated, or antiquated, that it might have been written in
darkest Africa before the pyramids were built, instead of twenty
years ago.

All this change has flowed from the discovery of Faraday that
there are two states or conditions of matter. In one it is
revealed by one of our five senses, visible, tangible, smellable,
tastable, or ponderable matter. This is matter as we know it.
It may be a lump of metal or a flask of gas.

The second condition or state of matter is not revealed by either
of our five senses, but by the sixth sense, or intuition of man.
This is the ether - supposed to be "matter in a very rarefied
form, which permeates all space." So rare and fine is this
matter that it interpenetrates carbon or steel as water
interpenetrates a sponge, or ink a blotting pad. In fact, each
atom of "physical" matter - by which is meant matter in the first
condition - floats in an atmosphere of ether as the solid earth
floats in its atmosphere of air.

"No two physical atoms touch," said Faraday. "Each physical atom
is the centre of an etheric molecule, and as far apart from every
other atom as the stars in heaven from one another." This is
true of every form of physical matter, whether it is a lump of
metal, a cup of liquid, or a flask of gas; whether it is a
bronze statue or a living man; a leaf, a cloud, or the earth
itself. Each and every physical atom is the centre of an etheric
molecule made up of many atoms of the ether.

This duality of matter was a wonderful discovery, revolutionizing
every department of science. It placed man in actual touch with
the whole visible universe. The ether in a man's eye (and in his
whole body) reaches in one unbroken line - like a telegraph wire
- from him to the sun, or the outermost planet. He is not
separate and apart from "space," but a part of it. Each physical
atom of his physical body is the centre of an etheric molecule,
and he has two bodies, as St. Paul said, a visible physical and
an invisible etheric body; the latter in actual touch with the
whole universe.

Faraday went one step further. He demonstrated that all
physical phenomena come from the chording vibration of the
physical atom with the surrounding etheric atoms, and that the
latter exercise the impelling force on the former. Step into the
sunshine. The line of ether from the sun is vibrating faster
than the ether in the body, but the higher impels the lower, the
greater controls the lesser, and soon both ethers are in unison.
The physical atoms must coincide in vibration with their etheric
envelopes, and the "note" is "heat." Step into the shade, where
the ocean of ether is vibrating more slowly, and the ether of the
body reduces its vibration. "The ether is the origin of all
force and of all phenomena."

This etheric matter follows identical laws with prakritic matter,
or, accurately, the laws of our matter flow from the etheric
matter from which it is made. The ether has two hundred or more
elementary substances, each atom of our eighty or ninety
"elements" being the chemical union of great masses of two or
more of the etheric elements or their combinations. These
etheric elementary substances combine and unite; our elementary
substances simply following in their combinations the law which
they inherit from their parents. They take form and shape. They
vibrate through one octave, and take solid liquid or gaseous form
in ether, as their types here in our world take it in prakriti,
as their vibrations are increased or diminished. In short, the
ether is the prototype of our physical or prakritic world, out of
which it is made and a product of which it is.

As this ether is "physical" matter, the same as prakriti, one
harmonic law covering both, and as this ether fills all space,
Modern Science divides physical matter into two kinds, which, for
convenience in differentiation, are here called prakritic and

Matter is something - science does not know or care to know what
- in vibration. A very low octave of vibration produces
prakriti; a very high octave of vibration produces ether. The
vibration of prakriti ends in thousands; that of ether begins in
billions. Between them there is a gulf of vibrations that has
not yet been bridged. For that reason science divides matter
into two "planes," or octaves, of vibration - the matter of this
visible and tangible plane being called prakriti and that of the
invisible and intangible plane being called etheric. Across this
gulf the two planes respond to each other, note for note, the
note in trillions chording when the note in thousands is struck.
Note for note, chord for chord, they answer one another, and the
minutest and the most complex phenomena are alike the result of
this harmonic vibration, that of the ether supplying Force and
that of the prakriti a Medium in which it can manifest.

This knowledge of ether is not guesswork or fancy, and, while it
is as impossible of proof as the axioms of geometry, it is worthy
the same credence and honor. We are working on physical axioms
exactly as we work on geometrical axioms.

Modern science represents each and every prakritic atom as a
globe like the earth, floating in space and surrounded by an
atmosphere of ether. "The subdivision of prakritic matter until
we reach etheric atoms chemically united to make the physical
unit" is the correct definition of an atom. The prakritic
physical atom has length, breadth and thickness. And it has an
atmosphere of ether which not only interpenetrates the atom as
oxygen and hydrogen interpenetrate the drop of water, but
furnishes it with an envelope as the oxygen and hydrogen furnish
the drop of water with one.

Each physical atom is the centre of an etheric molecule composed
of many etheric atoms vibrating at a greater or lesser speed and
interpenetrating the atom. Each may be considered a miniature
earth, with its aerial envelope, the air, penetrating all parts
of it.

The etheric plane of matter not only unites with this prakritic
plane through the atom but it interpenetrates all combinations of
it; beside the atom as well as through the atom. The grain of
sand composed of many prakritic atoms is also composed of many
times that number of etheric atoms. The grain of sand is etheric
matter as well as prakritic matter. It exists on the etheric
plane exactly the same as it exists on the prakritic, and it has
etheric form as well as prakritic form.

As each atom of this physical world of ours - whether of land, or
water, or air; whether of solid, liquid or gas - is the centre
of an etheric molecule, we have two worlds, not one: a physical
world and an etheric one; a visible world and an invisible
world; a tangible world and an intangible world; a world of
effect and a world of cause.

And each animal, including man, is made in the same way. He has
a prakritic body and an etheric body; a visible body and an
invisible body; an earthly body and one "not made with hands,"
in common touch with the whole universe.

Chapter Four

What a Teacher Should Teach

Let us suppose that a certain wise teacher of physics places a
row of Bunsen burners under a long steel bar having a Daniell's
pyrometer at one end, and addresses his class (substantially) as

"At our last lecture we found that the matter of the universe
permeated all space, but in two conditions, which we agreed to
call physical and etheric, or tangible and intangible. It is all
the same matter, subject to the same laws, but differing in the
rate of vibration, the physical matter vibrating through one
great octave or plane, and the etheric vibrating through another
great octave or plane one degree higher - the chording vibration
of the matter of the two planes in one note producing what we
call energy or force, and with it phenomena.

"This is a bar of steel 36 inches long. It is composed of
physical atoms but no two physical atoms touch. Each physical
atom is as far apart from every other atom as the stars in heaven
from one another - in proportion to their size. The atoms and
the spaces between them are so small to our sight that they seem
to touch. If we had a microscope of sufficient power to reveal
the atom, you would see that no two atoms touch, and that the
spaces between them are, as Faraday says, very great in
proportion to their size. I showed you last term that what
appeared to be a solid stream of water, when magnified and thrown
upon a screen, was merely a succession of independent drops that
did not touch. I can not yet give you proof of the bar of iron
being composed of independent atoms, but that is the fault of our
instruments, and you must take my word for it until the proof is
simplified and made easy of application.

"Each one of these physical atoms is a miniature world. It is
the center of an ocean of ether, composed of many atoms; and
while no two physical atoms touch, their etheric atmospheres do
touch, and any change in the vibration of the etheric atmosphere
of one will be imparted to that of the next. As the vibration of
the physical atom must be in harmony with that of its etheric
atmosphere, any change coming to one will be imparted to the
next, and the next, through the ether surrounding them.

"You can see that the index at the end of the bar has moved,
showing that it is now longer. That means the etheric atoms are
now vibrating faster, taking more space, and have necessarily
forced each physical atom farther apart. The bar is not only
longer, but softer, and as the vibrations increase in rapidity
the time will come when it will bend by its own weight, and even
when it will become a liquid and a gas.

"If you put your hand anywhere near the bar you will feel a
sensation called heat, and say it has become hot. The reason for
that is that you are in actual and literal touch with the bar or
iron through the ether. It is not alone each atom of the bar of
iron that is surrounded by the ether, but each atom of the air,
and each atom of your body. Their etheric atmospheres are all
touching, and the increase in the vibration of the ether
surrounding the atoms of iron is imparted to those of the air
surrounding it, and these in turn raise the rate of vibration in
the etheric atoms surrounding the physical atoms of your hand.
This rate of vibration in your nerves causes a sensation, or
mental impression, you call "heat." Consciousness of it comes
through your sense of touch; but after all it is merely a "rate
of vibration" which your brain recognizes and names.

"The bar has now reached a temperature of about 700 degrees, and
has become a dull red. Why do you say the color has changed, and
why do you say red?

"Because the rate of vibration of the etheric atoms in the bar is
now about 412 trillions per second, and this rate of vibration
having been imparted to the ether of the air, has in turn been
imparted to the ether of your eye, and this rate of vibration in
the ether of the nerves of your eye your brain recognizes and
calls 'red.'

"The heat still continues and increases. You now have both heat
and light. So you see that the ether is not vibrating in a
single note, but in two chording notes, producing light and heat.
There are two kinds of ether around the iron atom. There is
sound also, but the note is too high for one's ears. It is a
chord of three notes.

"Professor Silliman, of Yale, discovered over twenty years ago,
that the ether could be differentiated into the luminiferous, or
light ether, and the sonoriferous, or sound ether.

"Other great scientists since then have found a third ether - the
heat ether.

"Their discoveries show that the atmospheric etheric envelope of
each etheric atom is made up of etheric atoms of different
vibratory powers. As the atmosphere of the earth is made up of
atoms of oxygen and nitrogen and argon, so that of an atom is
made up of three kinds of ethers, corresponding to three of our
senses. That it consists of five ethers, corresponding to our
five senses, as the ancient Hindus assert - who can say?

"I mention this subject of the differentiation of the ether
merely that you may not suppose that the ether is a simple
substance. For the present we will treat it as a simple
substance, but next year we will take it up as a compound one.

"This steel bar before you is not one bar, but two bars. There
is a visible bar and an invisible bar, the visible bar being made
of physical atoms, and the invisible bar of etheric atoms. The
etheric bar is invisible, but it is made of matter, the same as
the visible bar, and it is just as real, just as truly a bar as
the one we see.

"More than this. The etheric, invisible bar is the source and
cause of all phenomena connected with the bar. It is the real
bar, and the one we see is merely the shadow in physical matter
of a real bar. In shape, strength, color, in short, in
everything, it depends on the invisible one. The invisible
dominates, governs, disposes. The visible is merely its
attendant shadow, changing as the invisible, etheric bar changes,
and recording for our senses these invisible changes.

"The invisible change always comes first; the invisible
phenomena invariably precede the visible.

"In all this physical world - in all this universe - there is
nothing, not even a grain of sand or an atom of hydrogen, that is
not as this bar of iron is - the shadow cast on a visible world
by the unknown and mysterious work of an invisible world.

"Land or water, mountain or lake, man or beast, bird or reptile,
cold or heat, light or darkness, all are the reflection in
physical matter of the true and real thing in the invisible and
intangible world about us. "If we have a visible body we have an
invisible one also," said Saint Paul. Modern science has proven
he was right, and that it is the invisible body which is the real

"If this earth and all that it is composed of - land or ocean or
air; man or beast; pyramid or pavement - could be resolved into
the physical atoms composing everything in it or on it created by
God or man, each atom of this dust would be identical physically.
There would not be one kind of atom for iron and another for

"The differentiation between what are called elementary
substances is first made apparent in the molecule or first
combination of the atoms. It is not in the atom itself, unless
it be in the size, as may not be improbable. The atoms combine
in different numbers to make differently shaped molecules, and it
is from this difference in the shape of the molecule that we get
the difference between gold and silver, copper and tin, or oxygen
and hydrogen.

"In all chemical compounds, such as water and alcohol, the
molecules at the base of the two or more substances break up into
their original atoms and form a new molecule composed of all the
atoms in the two or more things combined. To make this chemical
combination we must change the rate of vibration of one or the
other or both until they strike a common chord. As we saw last
term, oxygen and hydrogen have different specific heats, and no
two other elements have the same specific heat, while heat raises
the rate of vibration. Any given amount of heat raises the
vibration of one more than another. Apply heat, and the rate of
one will rise faster than that of the other until they reach a
common chord. Then they fall apart and recombine.

"If we pass a current of electricity through this sealed jar
containing oxygen and hydrogen in mechanical union, the spark
that leaps across the points furnishes the heat, and a drop of
water appears and falls to the bottom. A large portion of the
gases has disappeared. It has been converted into water. What
is left of the gases will expand and fill the bottle.

"The drop of water but for local causes, but for a certain
attraction of the earth, would float in the centre of the jar at
the centre of gravity, as the earth does in space. But the
centre of gravity of the two bodies is far within the earth, and
the drop gets as close to it as it can. The earth's 'pull' takes
it to the bottom. If the jar were far enough away in space the
drop would float, as the earth floats, at a point where all pulls
balance, and the drop of water would have enough pull of its own,
enough gravity within itself to hold all the gas left in the jar
to itself as an atmosphere. It would be a centre of energy, a
minature world.

"The drop of water is not a homogenous mass. About one third of
the bulk of the drop of water is made up of independent oxygen
and hydrogen atoms interspersed through it, as any liquid is
through this piece of blotting paper. And it has, and keeps, by
its own attraction, an atmosphere of the gas. Each molecule of
water has a thin layer, or skin, of the gas; even as it comes
from this faucet.

"Let us return again to the physical dust, the atom. Why should
it form by fives for iron, by nines for hydrogen? Where did the
atom come from? What is it? We know that like the drop of
water, it is a miniature world with an atmosphere of ether; and
the natural inference is that it is made from ether as the drop
of water was made from gas. Many things confirm this inference,
and it may be accepted as 'a working hypothesis' that it is made
from ether as the drop of water is made from gas, by the chemical
union of a large amount of ether of different kinds, the etheric
molecules of which consist of 2 and 3 or 5 and 4 etheric atoms,
and that the tendency to combine in this or that number in
physical matter is an inherited tendency brought with it from the
etheric world of matter on which, or in which, each element of
this world is two or more. There is no kind of matter in this
physical world, that has not its prototype in the etheric, and
the laws of its action and reaction here are laws which it
inherits and brings with it. They are not laws made here. They
are laws of the other world - even as the matter itself is matter
of the other world.

"In 1882, Professor Lodge, in a lecture before the Royal
Institution on 'The Luminiferous Ether' defined it as:

"'One continuous substance, filling all space, which can vibrate
as light, which can be sheared into positive and negative
electricity, which in whirls constitutes matter, and which
transmits by continuity and not impact every action and reaction
of which matter is capable.'

"This reads today like baby-talk but at that time (eighteen years

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Online LibraryThomas E. WillsonAncient and Modern Physics → online text (page 2 of 6)