One of the themes of my previous posts was the bizarre stances taken by modern (materialist/ physicalist) scientists — the strange, crazy things they say (1). There were two posts called The Folly of Modern Neuroscience, and Is the Self an Illusion?
I’ve just come across a great passage which adds to my theme. It’s by W. Macneile Dixon from The Human Situation. I found it quoted in a book called Reincarnation: The Phoenix Fire Mystery (2), where the editors describe him as “a Confucius of the West”, and say that a New York Times reviewer said “perhaps the most important book of its kind which the twentieth century has yet produced”. (I’m definitely going to do some research on him!)
So here are his thoughts on this issue:
“The modern and shortest way with the soul or self is to deny it outright. Can we suppose ‘that a ship might be constructed of such a kind that entirely by itself, without captain or crew, it could sail from place to place for years on end, accommodating itself to varying winds, avoiding shoals, seeking a haven when necessary, and doing all that a normal ship can?’ Yes, we are told, in the human body we have precisely such a ship, which handles itself admirably without captain or navigator.
“You have heard of this curious doctrine, of this psychology which rejects the psyche and retains only the ‘ology’, the science of the self without the self. Thus, in summary fashion, the great authorities deny and dispose of us, and incidentally of themselves. Where we imagine the ‘I’ or self to be, there is only, they tell us, a series of fleeting impressions, sensations, fancies, pains and pleasures, which succeed each other with amazing rapidity, but without any entity over and above them that, as centre, thinks, feels or desires. It is then a mirage or hallucination, this notion of the self. And an interesting and peculiar illusion, which till yesterday successfully played the impostor’s part upon the whole human race, philosophers included. And not only so, but after this prodigious feat of deception, it laid a snare for itself and caught itself out. This illusion, the most extraordinary that ever was, discovered itself to be an illusion”.
2) Joseph Head and S. L. Cranston (eds.), Julian Press/Crown Publishers, 1977, pp1–2. The whole book is a great resource for anyone interested in these matters.