It is the life-principle of the body, and its normal functions pertain solely to the preservation of human life and the perpetuation of the human race. It possesses wonderful powers in other directions, under certain abnormal conditions of the body, it is true. But their exercise outside of those limits is always abnormal, and productive of untoward results. Those powers of which we catch occasional glimpses, and which so excite our admiration, are powers which pertain to its existence in a future world. They are powers which proclaim it as a part of God, as partaking of the nature and attributes of the Divine Mind. Its powers of perception of the fixed laws of nature demonstrate its kinship to Omniscience. It is independent of the feeble powers of inductive reasoning when it is freed from its earthly trammels; and there is not one power or attribute peculiar to the finite, objective mind that could be of any service to the soul in its eternal home. We boast of our powers of inductive reason, forgetting how little we have learned, or ever can know, compared with what there is to learn. We forget that they are the outgrowth of our physical wants and necessities, and simply enable us to grope in the dark for the means of subsistence, and to render our physical existence tolerable.
The powers of the objective mind, compared with those of the subjective mind, may be likened to a man born in a cave, in which the light of the sun never entered, and supplied only with a rushlight with which to grope his way and find the means of subsistence. The light, feeble as it is, is invaluable to him; for by its means he is enabled gradually to learn his bearings, to take note of his environment, to make occasional discoveries of the necessities of life, and finally to achieve some of the comforts of existence. The more he discovers, the more he appreciates the value of his rushlight and the more he boasts of its transcendent powers of illumination. He hears vague reports of an outside world where the comforts and luxuries of life are comparatively easy to obtain, and he resolves to grope his way out. He is told that the outside world is lighted by a great luminary which will render his rushlight of no value to him except as a reminder of the limitations of his cave-life. But he is sceptical, and points with pride to his accumulations and the discoveries he has made with the aid of his "God-given illuminant," and refuses to believe that there is a possible state of existence which would be tolerable without rushlights.
At length a cataclysm of nature throws him upon the outside world in the full blaze of the light of a midday sun. He then finds that he is in a world of light; that he can perceive things as they are, and observe their bearings and relations to each other, and he finds that the rays of his rushlight are no longer visible. It is obvious that this is but a feeble illustration of the difference between the powers of inductive inquiry into the laws of nature, and the powers of perception possessed by the subjective entity. When the soul is freed from its physical trammels it ascends to its native realm of truth, and, untrammelled by false suggestions arising from the imperfect knowledge of the objective mind, it "sees God as he is;" that is, it apprehends all his laws, and imbibes truth from its Eternal Source.
It must not be forgotten in this connection that the subjective mind is the soul, or spirit, and is itself an organized entity, possessing independent powers and functions; while the objective mind is merely the function of the physical brain, and possesses no powers whatever independently of the physical organization. The one possesses dynamic force independently of the body; the other does not. The one is capable of sustaining an existence independently of the body; the other dies with it. It is just here that the ancient philosophers made their greatest error; and that error has been transmitted down through all the ages. They recognized the dual character of the mind, but saw no fundamental difference in the functions of the two minds. It never occurred to them that there was, or could be, any limitation of power in either that was not common to both. They recognized man as a trinity, the three elements of which are " body, soul, and spirit." The soul, in their system of philosophy, corresponds to the objective mind, and the spirit to the subjective mind. They considered only the functions of the two minds as minds, and constantly regarded the two as possessing only coordinate powers.
Or, if they regarded them as entities, they considered that while each was an entity, it was, somehow, inseparably joined to the other in function and destiny. Hence, according to their philosophy, if one survived the death of the body, both must survive it. This fundamental error shows itself, in various forms, in every system of philosophy, from Plato down; and it will continue to breed confusion and uncertainty in the human mind until the fact is recognized that the subjective mind, or spirit, as Plato designates it, is a distinct entity, possessing independent powers and functions; whereas the objective mind, or the "soul," of the ancient philosopher, is merely the function of the physical brain. This latter proposition is demonstrated by every consideration of its powers, functions, and limitations. Its powers wholly depend upon the physical condition of the brain. They decline as the body weakens. They become deranged and useless as the brain becomes disorganized from physical causes. Its distinctive functions pertain solely to physical existence. It has the power of independent inductive reasoning to compensate for its total want of power to perceive by intuition.
But, as I have already pointed out, inductive reasoning is merely a laborious method of inquiry, and pertains wholly to our physical existence. It would be as useless to the spirit in an existence where all truth is perceived by intuition, as a tallow-dip in the full blaze of a noonday sun. It may be set down as a maxim in spiritual philosophy that there is not one power or function of the objective mind which distinguishes it from those of the subjective entity, that could be of any service to the latter when it is freed from its earthly environment.