This section is from the book "Handbook Of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science", by Henry S. Munro. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science.
The tendency of the logical mind of today is toward the acceptance of a philosophy that seeks for unity of body, mind, and spirit. These are qualities of the individual, but, scientifically speaking, they are one and the same thing. Thus, monistic philosophy, or monism, recognizes that mind, spirit, and matter, soul and body, God and the world, are abstractions and not things in themselves, but are incomprehensibly bound together in their inseparable oneness. Call this philosophy "monism" or "monotheism," to suit yourself, but you can not get away from the stupendous fact, even though our half-trained understandings and narrow experiences are unprepared to comprehend it, that the whole universe is animated by a single principle of life and mode of energy, and that such expressions as body, mind, and spirit arc qualities of this one principle, thing, or substance. But since it is impossible to think of any quality or thing except by comparison with something else, each one of these qualities should be held in equal appreciation.
Knowledge is but an apprehension of facts based on a representation or description of those facts in terms that can be comprehended by human intelligence.
So, then, in our analysis of the qualities of personality we can with consistency, in the light of these premises, say that each individual becomes self-conscious of his existence upon one of three planes respectively - physical, mental or intellectual, and moral or spiritual, all qualities of the same individual.
For instance, the atom of hydrogen gas, considered for so long a time to be the smallest subdivision of material substance, is now known to be itself composed of from twelve hundred to three thousand "ions," or charges of electricity, or elemental units of force; and it is now recognized that there is in the universe but this one element. Every other element or combination of elements is composed of this one elementary substance coming together in different degrees of density, so that the space a thousand feet above our heads is composed of precisely the same elementary substance as is the earth beneath our feet.
Furthermore, the cosmos, with its countless planetary systems and planets, some of which are millions of times larger than this little earth upon which we live, together with the spaces between them, is all composed of this one elementary substance - call it physical, mental, or spiritual, as you please.
The only logical conclusion, then, is that the entire cosmos is an organism - pulsating, throbbing, vibrating, living - in which we live, and move, and have our existence.
And as is the cosmos, so is man. He is an organism - pulsating, vibrating, living. And as is man, so is each individual cell in his body, with inherent potentialities and powers that are constantly being manifested, functionating in its own way, as it plays its part in the game of life according to heredity and environment.
Yet life is a fact, and all forms of life, from the first unicellular moneron down through the millions and millions of years in which the evolutionary development of man has passed, are all sharers of that one ever-present life, with numberless varieties of expression, infinite and limitless.
In the evolutionary development of the human race and of the human intellect and character, each individual seems to become self-conscious of life upon one or the other of these three respective planes before mentioned - physical, intellectual, and moral or spiritual - each of which is the result of training, education, and environment, so far as their manifestations in his life are concerned.
A great many people are conscious of life only upon the physical plane. They have scarcely any higher conception of existence and its meaning than what appeals to the appetites - eating, drinking, and sensual indulgences. Like two-legged animals, they live, in many instances, upon a plane even lower than the brute, as is indicated by expression of face, physique, character of speech, habits, and conduct.
Others there are who in self-consciousness reach the next higher plane and seem to go no farther. There are people that we all know, concerning whom, though they may have an intellectuality so cold and pulseless that it glitters as the stars, and be strong enough mentally to make wonderful achievements in the fields of politics and commerce, it is nevertheless easy to discover that there is an element lacking in their personality. It is lacking in expression of face, in hand shake, in tone and quality of voice and speech, and especially in their conduct and demeanor with their fellow-man. In the presence of such an individual one feels more as if one were face to face with a stone or an iceberg, rather than in the presence of a human being.
As to what conscious existence upon the higher plane of selfhood indicated implies, it is hard to define, yet it consists in the evolving and developing of those higher elements of human character regarded as the ethical, and esthetic, and moral sense. We see it manifested in its influence upon human life in magnanimity, generosity, altruism, kindness, bravery, and all other distinctly human faculties. It is the higher functionating of the true ego; the real man - call it body, mind, spirit, life, or soul. It is manifested in man or woman by the exhibition of those inner qualities of moral and spiritual dignity, in the determination to do only that which is conceived to be good and right; not in the outer esteem of their fellows or in the worthless praise of a conventional society, but in their own inner consciousness. "Unfortunately," says Ernst Hackel, "we have to admit that in this respect we are still largely ruled by the foolish views of a lower civilization, if not of crude barbarians."
This animating life principle that functionates in human beings defies analysis, evades our comprehension, and transports our thoughts beyond what is finite and terrestrial. But it is in man because man is, and, if it were not, he would not be. Hackel says, "Why trouble about this enigmatical 'thing in itself when we have no means of investigating it ?"