Like the monkey, man is characterized by an insatiable curiosity. Thus he is incessantly trying to solve insoluble problems. It is not enough for him to know that the goal of life is life itself, that in harmoniously developing his physical and mental activities according to natural laws he is fully accomplishing his destiny; he insists on asking as well what is the meaning of life. Why are we here? Where do we come from? What are we? What is the place of intelligence in the universe? Why so much suffering, anxiety and trouble? What is the meaning of death? What is the point of modeling body and soul according to an ideal of goodness and truth if we are soon to revert to nothing? Are not enthusiasm, faith and heroism mere jests on the part of nature? Where are we going? After death, does the spirit disintegrate like the body? Is it absurd to believe in the survival of the soul?

Today, as in all times and in all countries, there exist men and women to whom mere living does not seem enough. Life does not appear to them as the most precious of all goods. They thirst after beauty, renunciation and love. They want to attain to God.

To the questions of such people, philosophy has never given more than anemic answers. Neither Socrates nor Plato has succeeded in calming the anguish of humanity faced with the mystery of life.

Only religion proposes a complete solution to the human problem. Christianity, above all has given a clear-cut answer to the demands of the human soul. For centuries it has calmed the restless curiosity which men have always felt concerning their destiny. Religious inspiration, divine revelation and faith brought certainty and peace to our forefathers.

But reason intensified its eternal warfare against intuition. Under the blows of the philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment, particularly of Voltaire and the Encyclopedists, religion lost ground. Science brought man a form of certainty different from that of faith; simple, clear, easily demonstrable truths which could often be expressed in concise and elegant mathematical formulas. Religion, on the contrary, continued to employ the concepts and the language of the Middle Ages. Today at least three-quarters of the inhabitants of Europe and the United States no longer demand from Christianity the solution of the disturbing problem of our nature and our destiny.

Here we can hope for no help from science. Science is content to transmit to us the orders given by nature to live, to reproduce our kind and to develop our spirit. She shows us the end of life but she remains mute concerning its meaning. She is too young to answer the questions which thinking humanity asks so anxiously when confronted with the mystery of its origin and its end. Science does not yet know the nature of spirit.2

All that she does know is that our personality depends simultaneously on the brain, the organs and the blood. All human activity is, as we know, at once organic and psychic. But we are totally ignorant of the relations between the cerebral processes and thought Are we to consider the mental as identical with the cerebral or as surpassing it? Is spirit produced by living matter or is it only located in it? These questions still remain unanswered.

Nevertheless, the astronomers of Mount Wilson have succeeded in photographing the gigantic nebulae which are 500 million light years distant from the earth. In spite of its resistance, modern physicists have forced the nucleus of the atom to reveal the secret of its constitution. At the same time the geneticists of the school of Morgan have discovered in the chromosomes of the sexual cells structural unities, as impressive as those of the atoms, which are the seat of the hereditary potentialities of body and mind. But no one yet knows the function of the delicate organs which Ramon y Cajal was the first to observe in the brain cells nor the relations of these cells to thought. All that we know is that the characteristics of the personality depend on certain conditions of the glandular and nervous systems.

This being, at once familiar and unknown, which is our-self still remains inaccessible to scientific techniques. Is it then unknowable? Or could it be apprehended by far subtler and more searching methods than any we have today?

2 Man the Unknown.

We have no idea. Before any question touching the origin, the nature or the destiny of the spirit, science maintains a complete silence.

It is, however, permissible to make certain hypotheses about this subject. Hypotheses are indeed indispensable to the progress of knowledge for their verification stimulates the invention of new techniques and the institution of new experiments. It matters little whether a hypothesis be true or false; its function is merely to force use to set to work. Consequently a hypothesis which does not lead to any observation or to any new experiment is only a vain supposition. It is idle, for example, to discuss the origin of life or of consciousness for these phenomena have had no witness; their history will never be revealed to us and any hypothesis concerning them will remain barren.

On the contrary, the suppositions which we can make concerning the nature and the future of spirit are capable of engendering fresh research. They would, therefore, be fertile even if they were later invalidated by fact.

When he embarked on the Great Lakes, Pere Marquette believed that he was setting out for China. Nevertheless, this false hypothesis was useful; if he did not arrive in China, he did at least found Chicago.

What are we? We know already that we are autonomous and conscious bodies which move freely on the surface of the earth. Each one of these bodies is composed of cells, liquids and spirit. It has certain characteristics which differentiate it from all other bodies and it has a distinct personality. Its spatial limits are well defined and yet it can pass beyond these limits and change the properties of the space which surrounds it.3 For it creates round about it a field or force which exerts its influence on all the animate and inanimate beings which come within it.