Man is arrogant in proportion to his ignorance

quoting directly from the adept Mejnour instructing the aspiring Glyndon:

 “Man is arrogant in proportion to his ignorance. For several ages he saw in the countless worlds that sparkle through space like the bubbles of a shoreless ocean, only the petty candles … that Providence has been pleased to light for no other purpose but to make the night more agreeable to man … Astronomy has corrected this delusion of human vanity, and man now reluctantly confesses that the stars are worlds, larger and more glorious than his own … Everywhere, then, in this immense design, science brings new life to light. Reasoning, then, by evident analogy, if not a leaf, if not a drop of water, but is, no less than yonder star, a habitable and breathing world – nay, if even man himself, is a world to other lives, and millions and myriads dwell in the rivers of his blood, and inhabit man’s frame as man inhabits earth – common sense (if our schoolmen had it) would suffice to teach that the circumfluent infinite which you call space – that boundless impalpable which divides earth from the moon and stars – is filled also with its correspondent and appropriate life.

 Is it not a visible absurdity to suppose that being is crowded upon every leaf, and yet absent from the immensities of space! The law of the great system forbids the waste even of all atom; it knows no spot where something of life does not breathe . . . Well, then, can you conceive that space, which is infinite itself, is alone a waste, is alone lifeless, is less useful to the one design of universal being . . . than the peopled leaf, than the swarming globule? The microscope shows you the creatures on the leaf; no mechanical tube is yet invented to discover the nobler and more gifted things that hover in the illimitable air. Yet between these last and man is a mysterious and terrible affinity…

 But first, to penetrate this barrier, the soul with which you listen must be sharpened by intense enthusiasm, purified from all earthly desires … When thus prepared, science can be brought to aid it; the sight itself may be rendered more subtile the nerves more acute, the spirit more alive and outward, and the element itself – the air, the space may be made, by certain secrets of the higher chemistry, more palpable and clear. And this too, is not magic as the credulous call it; as I have so often said before, magic (a science that violates nature) exists not; it is but the science by which nature can be controlled. Now in space there are millions of beings, not literally spiritual, for they have all, like the animalcula unseen by the naked eye, certain forms of matter, though matter is so delicate, air-drawn, and subtile, that it is, as it were, but a film, a gossamer, that clothes the spirit … Yet, in truth, these races differ most widely … some surpassing wisdom, some of horrible malignity; some hostile as fiends to men, others gentle as messengers between earth and heaven … Amid the dwellers on the threshold is one, too, surpassing in malignity and hatred all her tribe; one whose eyes have paralysed the bravest, and whose power increases over the spirit precisely in proportion to its fear.”


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